Higher Education Act of 1965

Higher Education Act of 1965
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Higher Education Facilities Act Amendment
  • National Defense Education Act Amendment
Long title An Act to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in post-secondary and higher education.
Acronyms (colloquial) HEA, NTCA
Nicknames National Teachers Corps Act
Enacted by the 89th United States Congress
Effective November 8, 1965
Public law 89-329
Statutes at Large 79 Stat. 1219
Titles amended 20 U.S.C.: Education
U.S.C. sections created 20 U.S.C. ch. 28 § 1001 et seq.
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 9567 on Edith Green (DOR)
  • Passed the House on August 26, 1965 (368-22)
  • Passed the Senate on September 2, 1965 (79-3)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on October 20, 1965; agreed to by the House on October 20, 1965 (313-63) and by the Senate on October 20, 1965 (passed)
  • Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 8, 1965
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The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) (Pub.L. 89–329) was legislation signed into United States law on November 8, 1965, as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society domestic agenda. Johnson chose Texas State University—then called "Southwest Texas State College"—his alma mater—as the signing site.[1] The law was intended "to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education". It increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans for students, and established a National Teachers Corps. The "financial assistance for students" is covered in Title IV of the HEA.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Current authorization for the programs in the Higher Education Act expired at the end of 2013, but has been extended through 2015 while Congress prepares changes and amendments. Before each re-authorization, Congress amends additional programs, changes the language and policies of existing programs, or makes other changes.

1965 Act

In January 1965, Representative Edith Green of Oregon introduced H. R. 3220 as a bill to "strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary education."[2] Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon introduced the Senate version of the bill, S. 600. The bills sought to create an advisor council to review teacher training programs and to create a National Teacher Corps, which would recruit teachers to serve in low-income areas and train teachers through internships. Other provisions of the bills included financial aid, scholarships, work study, and library enhancements. Throughout 1965 numerous hearings were held by Special Subcommittee on Education and the Education Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare held numerous hearings. Based on the recommendations of University administrators, educators and student aid officers, a new bill was introduced: H. R. 9567. It was passed by the House of Representatives on August 26 and the Senate passed the bill on September 2.[2]

In signing the Higher Education Act of 1965 into law, President Johnson said that the act, along with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as "keystones of the great, fabulous 89th Congress" that would spread "the roots of change and reform" throughout the nation.[2]

Changes in 1998

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) was first authorized under the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. Also in the amendments of 1998 is the Aid Elimination Provision, which prevents students with drug charges from receiving federal aid for colleges and universities. This is where question 31 on the FAFSA forms originates. The question asks whether the student has ever been convicted of a drug crime while receiving federal financial aid. This statutory provision was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the face of a constitutional challenge by the ACLU in the case of Students for Sensible Drug Policy v. Spellings.[3]

Changes in 2003

In 2003, much of the Higher Education Act was set to expire. As a result, a number of minority groups united to ask for certain changes. Calling themselves the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, this group was made up of "the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an advocacy group for historically black colleges and universities, [and they] presented their joint recommendations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act."[4] The Alliance aimed to help minority students enter fields where they seemed to be underrepresented and to give incentives to minorities to enter these programs. These incentives included more lenience on loan collection and full government funding for minority education. The Alliance also called for the government to create funding for students in graduate programs of universities serving the minority population.[4]

Even though the Alliance's request to change the Higher Education Act was heard, significant parts were denied. In 2003, the request for increasing the amount offered in a Pell Grant, to better cover a student's expenses, was denied by the Senate.[5] Still, other issues were corrected. There was a section passed, by the House, that did allow more funds to go to institutions, in order to keep them current; and a grace period for colleges asking for more loans was eliminated. So, if more funding were needed, minority institutions would not have to wait.[6]

2008 reauthorization

Student loans in the U.S.
Regulatory framework
Higher Education Act of 1965
U.S. Dept. of Education · FAFSA
Cost of attendance · Expected Family Contribution
Distribution channels
Federal Direct Student Loan Program
Federal Family Education Loan Program
Loan products
Perkins · Stafford
PLUS · Consolidation Loans
Private student loans

With the changes proposed in 2003, the actual Higher Education Act was not reauthorized. Instead, many of its sections were renewed, with little radical change. Numerous extensions have followed, with the most recent extension lasting through August 15, 2008. The Senate passed an HEA reauthorization bill in July 2007, as did the House of Representatives in February 2008.[7]

On August 14, 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted.[8] It reauthorized the amended version of the Higher Education Act of 1965.[9] This act made major changes in student loan discharges for disabled people. Previously, to qualify for a discharge, a disabled person could have no income. This has been changed to a no "substantial gainful activity" test, which is the same standard used by the Social Security Administration in determining eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The changes took effect on July 1, 2010.

Also included in the 2008 revision of the HEOA were provisions requiring action by U.S. colleges and universities to combat illegal file sharing.[10] Following significant lobbying by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the additions to the HEOA of 2008 included requirements that all U.S. colleges and universities (1) release and annual disclosure to students regarding copyright laws and associated campus policies, (2) a written plan, submitted to the Department of Education, to combat copyright abuse using one or more technology-based deterrents, and (3) an offer to students of alternatives to illegal downloading.[11] Significant controversy surrounded the inclusion of anti-P2P legislation into HEOA of 2008, resulting in a letter from a number of leaders in higher education.[12]

Additionally, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRA), a budget reconciliation bill signed into law in September 2007, made significant changes to federal financial aid programs included in HEA. In addition to increasing the maximum Pell Grant award and reducing interest rates on subsidized student loans, this bill capped loan repayment at 15% of an individual’s discretionary income, raised the income protection allowance, enacted loan forgiveness for public servants in the Direct Loan program, set publicly funded student loans to fixed rates from variable rate loans, and took actions to address problematic practices in the lending industry. Most CCRA provisions took effect on October 1, 2007.[13]

The law for the first time also required post-secondary institutions be more transparent about costs and required the nearly 7,000 post-secondary institutions that receive federal financial aid funds (Title IV) to post net price calculators on their websites as well as security and copyright policies by October 29, 2011.

As defined in HEOA, the net price calculator's purpose is "to help current and prospective students, families, and other consumers estimate the individual net price of an institution of higher education for a student. The [net price] calculator shall be developed in a manner that enables current and prospective students, families, and consumers to determine an estimate of a current or prospective student’s individual net price at a particular institution."

The law defines "estimated net price" as the difference between an institution's average total Price of Attendance (the sum of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses including personal expenses and transportation for a first-time, full-time undergraduate students who receive aid) and the institution's median need- and merit-based grant aid awarded.

Elise Miller, program director for the United States Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), stated the idea behind the requirement: "We just want to break down the myth of sticker price and get beyond it. This is to give students some indication that they will not [necessarily] be paying that full price."[14]

The template was developed based on the suggestions of the IPEDS' Technical Review Panel (TRP), which met on January 27–28, 2009, and included 58 individuals representing federal and state governments, post-secondary institutions from all sectors, association representatives, and template contractors. Mary Sapp, assistant vice president for planning and institutional research at the University of Miami, served as the panel's chair. She described the mandate's goal "to provide prospective and current undergraduate students with some insight into the difference between an institution's sticker price and the price they will end up paying".

The TRP faced the difficult challenge of creating one tool that could be used by a wide variety of institutions – from small, for-profit career schools to major research universities – while balancing simplicity for users.

To meet the requirement, post-secondary institutions may choose either a basic template developed by the U.S. Department of Education or an alternate net price calculator that offers at least the minimum elements required by law.

As part of its cost-transparency measures, HEOA of 2008 requires also on the College Navigator Web site a report giving the average institutional net price of attendance for first-time, full-time students who receive financial aid. This also forms the basis for transparency lists; a report on the College Navigator Web site the institutional net price of attendance for Title IV aid recipients by income categories; and for the U.S. Department of Education to develop a multi-year tuition and required-fees calculator for undergraduate programs for the College Navigator Web site.

The HEA has been criticized for establishing statutory pricing of federal student loans based on political considerations rather than pricing based on risk.[15]

Title VI

During this reform period of 2008, Title VI of the HEA was reviewed.[16] Title VI provides federal funds to 129 international studies and foreign language centers at universities nationwide.[17] The objective of this act is to ensure and encourage diverse perspectives in order to enhance national security. As such, Title VI supplies grants for international language studies, business and international education programs as well as international policy.[16] Moreover, the recipients of these funds are required to engage in ‘public outreach’ for K-12, teachers, educators and the general public.[17]

Over the past decade concerns have been raised over these title VI funded programs. Critics have emphasized that many of the international programs funded engage in biased, anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric, with no offers of counterbalance.[18]

Certainly, a 2006 review mandated by Congress found that the programs were not reaching their goals. Seeking to rectify this, Congress expressed the need for greater oversight by the Department of Education, as well as an investigation to ensure these programs reflected "diverse perspectives".[19]

Despite these reforms, the issues within Title VI have been deemed endemic. Writing in The Hill, Louis D. Brandeis Center Founder Kenneth L. Marcus argued that "title VI doesn’t need to be tweaked-it needs to be overhauled".[20] This declaration followed a joint statement released by 10 groups on September 17, 2014, which the Brandeis Center coordinated.

This joint statement expressed the deep concerns over the misuse of tax payer money, arguing that "these outreach programs, which have no congressional oversight, often disseminate anti-American and anti-Israel falsehoods." [21] Furthermore, the groups voiced the opinion that " too often exclude scholars with diverse perspectives while stifling discourse on critical issues. The biased learning environment that results suppresses the academic freedom of students and faculty with different views. At some institutions, students are afraid to disagree with their professors."[22] This statement was accompanied by a white paper published by the Brandeis Center[23] as well as a report by the AMCHA Initiative[24] underscoring the negative effects this biased perspective produces on campuses, UCLA specifically.[25] The AMCHA study found that "any time UCLA’s center sponsored or co-sponsored an event mentioning Israel from Fall 2010 to Spring 2013, 93% of the time the mention was negative and critical – as if Israel is a blight on the planet."[26]

UCLA's media relations office issued a statement saying that the university "remains dedicated to complying with all federal laws and respecting the free and open exchange of ideas representing diverse viewpoints." [25]

In light of such issues, the joint statement calls for changes in the Title VI program which would 1) "[r]equire recipients of Title VI funds to establish grievance procedures to address complaints that programs are not reflecting diverse perspectives and a wide range of views" and 2) "[r]equire the U.S. Department of Education to establish a formal complaint-resolution process similar to that in use to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." [25]

Responding to this statement Amy W. Newhall, executive director of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), asserted that MESA "resolutely opposes all forms of hate speech and discrimination, including anti-Semitism," but "is concerned that some of the reports issued by partisan political groups based outside academia may actually weaken efforts to combat anti-Semitism by portraying all criticism of Israeli policies as a form of anti-Semitism or as ‘anti-Israel.’" [21]

However, as Kenneth L. Marcus asserts in a letter to the editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education the co-signatories of the joint statement " urge the opposite: accountability systems to ensure that these programs offer the diversity of perspectives that existing law requires."[27] As said statement concludes: "Arguably, Title VI programs no longer serve a legitimate purpose... In 2011, Congress reduced Title VI funding nationwide by 40 percent, from $34 million to $18 million. Unless effective and necessary reforms can be enacted, Congress may have to consider reducing or eliminating Title VI funding from Middle East studies centers." [22]

See also


  1. "Johnson signs legislation into law". LBJ Library and Museum. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 "Higher Education Act". The Great Society Congress. Association of Centers for the Study of Congress. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  3. Text of Students for Sensible Drug Policy v. Spellings, 523 F.3d 896 (8th cir., 2008) is available from:  Findlaw  LexisOne  Law.com 
  4. 1 2 Stephen Burd, "Institutions Serving Minority Students Propose Changes to Higher Education Act," Chronicle of Higher Education 49, no. 26 (2003), http://web.ebscohost.com.
  5. "Capital briefs," Community College Week 16, no. 4 (2003): 3, http://web.ebscohost.com.
  6. Kristina Lane, "Bill Would Expand Higher Ed. Access for Minorities, Low-Income Students," Community College Week 16, no. 4 (2003): 3, http://web.ebscohost.com.
  7. "A Strong Step for Students: House Higher Education Bill Promotes Innovation and Student Success" (PDF). Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  8. "Congress Expands Basic Aid and Supports Innovation in Student Success, Basic Skills, and Workforce Partnerships" (PDF). Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  9. "Higher Education Opportunity Act - 2008". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  10. "Higher Education Opportunity Act Anti-P2P provisions - 2008". Educause. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  11. "Dealing With the Higher Education Opportunity Act's New Copyright Protection Requirement" (PDF). Law Offices of Zick Rubin. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  12. "Letter Opposing The Inclusion Of The Entertainment Industry Proposal On Illegal File Sharing In The HEA Sent By The Higher Education Members Of The Joint Committee" (PDF). Educause. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  13. American Association of University Women. Increasing Access to Higher Education. January 2008. http://www.aauw.org/advocacy/issue_advocacy/actionpages/upload/higherEdAct.pdf
  14. University Business: Preparing for the Net Price Calculator: Avoid Potential Pitfalls by Taking These Steps Today By Haley Chitty, October 2009
  15. Michael Simkovic, Risk-Based Student Loans (2013)
  16. 1 2 Hegji, Alexandra. 2014. The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer. Congressional Research Service.
  17. 1 2 Brandeis Center 2014- http://brandeiscenter.com/publications/research_opinion_full/joint_statement_on_the_misuse_of_federal_funds_under_title_vi
  18. Stanley Kurtz 2007- the national review -taking sides on title VI- http://www.nationalreview.com/article/223078/taking-sides-title-vi-stanley-kurtz
  19. U.S Department of Education- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html
  20. The Hill 2014http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/education/218110-title-vi-and-campus-bias
  21. 1 2 Peter Schmidt, 2014- Supporters of Israel Say Programs in Middle East Studies Misuse U.S. Funds http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/supporters-of-israel-say-programs-in-middle-east-studies-misuse-u-s-funds/86245
  22. 1 2 Joint Statement on the Misuse of Federal Funds Under Title VI, 2014 - http://brandeiscenter.com/images/uploads/news/jointstatement.pdf
  23. http://brandeiscenter.com/images/uploads/practices/antisemitism_whitepaper.pdf
  24. http://www.amchainitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CNES-Report.pdf
  25. 1 2 3 Inside Higher ED- Pro-Israel Groups Question Federal Funds for Middle East Centers https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/09/18/pro-israel-groups-question-federal-funds-middle-east-centers
  26. The Hill 2014 http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/education/218110-title-vi-and-campus-bias
  27. http://chronicle.com/blogs/letters/our-goal-is-not-to-shut-down-open-discussion/


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