Higher Education Leaders Propose New Policy Recommendations for Access, Affordability, Transparency, and Accountability

The Higher Education Committee of 50 (Forward50) propose innovative ideas for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and seek public comment by Friday, September 28th.

A committee of 50 higher education leaders, “Forward50”, has released a new set of policy recommendations for the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization. Earlier in 2018, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) convened the group of college presidents, members of governing boards, faculty leadership, and students to deliberate how Congress can improve postsecondary access, accountability, affordability, and transparency. Their recommendations reflect discussions from the in-person convening, research, and input from other subject matter experts and practitioners.

Forward50’s recommendations of note for community colleges include those related to:

·Simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and revising methods to calculate family and student financial contributions towards college costs;

·Holding institutions accountable for students’ outcomes using measures including cohort default rates (CDRs) and gainful employment;

·Enhancing students’ financial literacy;

·Improving college affordability, such as by implementing a federally funded first-dollar free community college program and simplifying loan repayment; and

·Developing a federal Student Unit Record Data System (SURDS) to increase available information for consumers and strengthen institutional accountability.

The committee is asking members of the public to comment on their recommendations by Friday, September 28th.  Their complete recommendations and directions for submitting comments are available here:

Allison Beer is the Senior Policy Analyst for ACCT. She can be reached at

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