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House lawmakers volley ideas for taming college costs, boosting transparency

House lawmakers volley ideas for taming college costs, boosting transparency

Higher Ed Dive

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
July 27, 2023
In American higher education, it’s often said that a perfect storm is brewing, characterized by economic headwinds, fewer traditional students and political meddling in college operations.
Among those problems is declining public trust in higher ed, in part because college costs have jumped, with students and families skeptical they’ll actually see a strong return on investment.
In light of these trends, policymakers have begun scrutinizing college pricing much more closely — which they did Thursday at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development.
Democrats and Republicans on the subcommittee repeatedly took opportunities to plug legislative proposals that their respective parties have crafted to lower costs and hold colleges accountable for poor outcomes, like the GOP’s Promoting Employment and Lifelong Learning, or PELL, Act.
It would authorize Pell Grants for short-term academic programs and ensure “students and taxpayers receive a positive return on investment within three years or less.” Democrats, meanwhile, endorsed the Biden administration’s regulatory plan that would end federal funding for career programs that don’t meet a debt-to-earnings ratio, called gainful employment.
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