On the Hill

A Blizzard of Bills

Congress takes early action, but upcoming conflicts are brewing.

TRUE TO THEIR WORD, Democratic congressional leaders wasted little time in moving to improve college affordability by increasing Pell Grant awards and slashing interest rates on student loans. Both actions fulfilled promises they made during last year's campaigns.

Shaping the Issues

Political changes impact higher ed agendas.

With the 110th Congress in business under new, if narrow, Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Washington higher ed leaders are looking hopefully but cautiously at what the shift might mean for their priority issues.

New Congress, New Focus

Spellings and higher ed association leaders list their priorities.

All eyes in Washington's postsecondary community are on the future, which begins in January with the start of the newly elected 110th Congress and the final two years of the Bush administration.

Spellings Acts Quickly on 'Future' Report

Hearings lay the groundwork for possible new rules and more federal involvement.

With the ink barely dry on the signatures of all but one member of a national commission formed to consider the future of U.S. higher education, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is moving quickly and aggressively to consider how to implement some of the recommendations.

Politics Control Legislation Outlook

With Congress having other priorities these days, the HEA reauthorization and the Pell Grant increase could fail.

The heat of politics, combined with the humid heat of a Washington, D.C., summer, is putting a damper on the progress of legislation in Congress that is important to the higher education community.

Time Running Out for HEA Reauthorization

A temporary extention of existing legislation is possible if the Senate fails to act.

The 109th congress be-gan business with reauthorization of the Higher Education Act topping the higher ed community's agenda. A year and a half later, HEA renewal still was not a done deal as the legislative body began to look toward the end of its session.

New Grant Program Could Mean A New Headache

The higher ed community expects complications in trying to make the program work.

A last-minute addition to legislation Congress enacted in February to trim the federal deficit provides what could turn out to be a significant new headache for college and university financial aid administrators.

Student Loans Slashed

The end of 2005 brought a large reduction in the federal student loan program.

Still reeling from Congressional action that slashed $12.7 billion from federal student aid as 2005 ended, Washington's higher ed community began the New Year trying to come to grips with the situation they faced.

Questioning the cost of Compliance

Some say a new network security rule puts an unfair burden on higher ed.

With legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) lumbering toward enactment, although its final form remains uncertain, the higher education community in Washington is paying attention to new developments in other areas.

One issue: regulations issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to broaden law enforcement's ability to monitor electronic communications involving suspected terrorists and criminals.

Blessings and Blemishes in Proposed Bill

Legislators work out HEA renewal details and aim--again--for the final wrap-up.

Sometime this fall, Congress might renew the Higher Education Act (HEA). Then again, it might not.

Although Congress undoubtedly will reauthorize the HEA at some point, the timetable for action and what the legislation will finally look like were unclear as lawmakers reconvened after Labor Day following their traditional late-summer recess.

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