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On the Hill

With the inauguration of Sen. Barack Obama as President in January and an increase in the Democratic majority in Congress, the higher education community probably can look forward to unified positions on policy issues ranging from student aid to the role community colleges and other institutions play in building the country’s workforce.


AT LAST--AFTER SIX YEARS, three Congresses, and 14 extensions of the existing law, the House and Senate finally agreed to legislation reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, and in August President George W. Bush signed it.


IN THE MIDST OF AN INTENSIVE schedule of primary elections around the country, members of Congress are hard-pressed to focus on the public's legislative business. But one key measure important to colleges and universities-reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA)-appeared to be a step closer to enactment as the new year began.

WITH AN ELECTION YEAR about to begin, all bets are off on what Congress is likely to do on postsecondary education matters and just about everything else when it reconvenes in January. Whatever the issue, political considerations are likely to color its outcome in the year ahead.

WITH MEMBERS OF THE House and Senate scheduled to be away this month on their summer recess, further action on several significant higher education issues awaits the lawmakers' return to work after Labor Day. Issues at various stages of the legislative process include financial aid, accreditation, student lending, technology, and gender discrimination.

FROM HINTS OF SCANDAL IN the private student loan industry to campus security in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, lawmakers and regulators are grappling with higher ed issues that have emerged unexpectedly, and tragically, since the start of the year.