McKeon Backs College Affordability Act
He issues statement on higher education reform bill
Following the House Education and Labor Committee’s passage of the College Affordability and Opportunity Act, the panel’s senior Republican, Buck McKeon issued the following statement:
“The road to higher education reform has been a long one, with many hard-fought battles. It has taken time to build a coalition in support of these reforms, but the legislation is stronger because of it. Chairman Miller deserves great credit for his willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion to develop a consensus bill, and I was pleased to lend my support to its passage.
“The bill approved by our committee reflects many of the policy goals identified by Republicans at the outset of this reauthorization in 2003. It will hold colleges and universities accountable for excessive tuition increases. It will increase sunshine and transparency, not just in college costs and financial aid but also within institutions themselves. And it will simplify the financial aid application process to make it more understandable and available earlier.
“Although the bill makes great progress, there is additional work to be done. For instance, I appreciate the move to modify the archaic 90/10 rule, and I hope we can build on that effort by exploring more equitable recognition of diverse institutions of higher education. The current dual definition of institution of higher education unnecessarily limits opportunities for students at proprietary institutions, which often work to serve at-risk populations. I am disappointed that innovative teacher performance pay opportunities were stripped from the law, backpedaling from our efforts to enhance these creative strategies to improve student achievement and reward teacher performance. And it’s difficult to understand the majority’s unwillingness to accept the principles of an Academic Bill of Rights when such protections for academic freedom were endorsed by the higher education community more than two years ago.
“As the full House of Representatives prepares to take up this legislation, I will continue to work tirelessly with members on both sides of the aisle to strengthen protections for students and taxpayers and update our higher education system to more fully meet the needs of a growing and changing student population.”