May 28th, 2014
This month the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee continued its consideration of the Higher Education Act (HEA) with two more “Round Table” hearings on the subjects of Minority Serving Intuitions (MSIs) and veterans’ education. In a departure from previous practice, the hearings were not presided over by HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), but were instead overseen by other committee members.
The first, entitled “Strengthening Minority Serving Institutions: Best Practices and Innovations for Student Success,” was held on May 13, and presided over by “acting” Chair Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Ranking Member Rand Paul (R-KY). The second, entitled “Examining Access and Supports for Servicemembers and Veterans in Higher Education,” took place on May 22, and was presided over by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). Senators Sanders and Burr also serve as the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The HELP committee will likely hold additional informational hearings this year.
For its part, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has concluded its reauthorization hearings. The Republican majority is reportedly in the process of preparing a draft reauthorization bill, which is expected to be unveiled later this summer. At this juncture, it is not expected to be a bi-partisan effort.