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Three Legislative Priorities for The House Education Committee over the next year; Virginia Foxx will step down at the end of 2024.


The House Education and Workforce Committee
The House Education and Workforce Committee

Earlier this month, we discussed the House Republican Agenda concerning Higher education and the investigations into colleges and universities amid the campus cultural climates around free speech and a rise in antisemitism. Additionally, we have reviewed insights related to House Democratic Leadership and their agenda on College Affordability and Education Outcomes. Virginia Foxx, House Education Committee Chair, has announced she will not seek another term after it ends in December 2024, according to Higher Ed Dive. What actionable outcomes do we want the committee working towards in 2025, after the presidential election, and after the Foxx term ends?

 

Here are a few insights I believe the education committee should seek to bring about legislation and federal policy concerning Higher Education:


"We are collectively clear that college experiences should yield substantial and immediate returns on investment."

 

1) Social Mobility Outcomes – Recently, we have seen a bipartisan interest reemerge concerning what Higher Education is providing for educational outcomes such as the gainful employment policies from the Biden-Harris administration, Republican advocates for programs like Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for students to receive credentials directly applicable to the workforce, and nationwide investments across the states in Experiential Learning programs at public and private institutions alike.

 

The U.S News and World Report Rankings, a college rankings system historically built on measures of perceived wealth, prestige, highly rejective to yield ratios, donors' relations, and an immensely flawed peer review system, has recently updated its metrics to include social mobility and outcomes after college enrollment and completion. We are collectively clear that college experiences should yield substantial and immediate returns on investment.


"The admission industrial complex still has unnecessary bureaucracies that families navigate every year."

2) Federal Investments in College Access and Awareness – The FAFSA rollout has come under fire lately due to delays that will impact incoming and current college students as well as colleges and universities. The overall commentary that remains tangential for improvement is simplifying the FAFSA application and the College Application process overall. The admission industrial complex still has unnecessary bureaucracies that families navigate every year. Federal investment in resources for disseminating information, community engagement, and strengthening the pipelines from K-12 can be significantly improved. Our legislators seem to struggle with getting the FAFSA saga mitigated, and it is becoming costly for college hopefuls and postsecondary education administration.

 

"Colleges and Universities should seek to strengthen their commitments and requirements concerning ADA compliance, disability services, academic accommodations, and food security on campus."

3) Student Health and Wellbeing Legislation – As students matriculate on college campuses, we have seen a rise in mental, emotional, and physical health needs. Colleges and Universities should seek to strengthen their commitments and requirements concerning ADA compliance, disability services, academic accommodations, and food security on campus. We often consider the residential meal plans, a health and wellness center, and a fitness center substantial amenities while students live on campus. However, there is much variation in what services are provided and available depending on the student's enrollment status and the kind of institution they attend. We can also think about the living quarters that some students are subjected to, where protests have broken out on campuses due to mold, dust, mildew, and other harmful bacteria found in residential facilities. Legislation dedicated to overall student health will continue to support student retention.



With new committee leadership coming in the next year, Higher education practitioners have an opportunity to focus national attention on the issues that would help improve the field and also develop strategic planning that supports the current college-going populations/generation. There is also an opportunity for greater transparency and collaboration, as most advocates work to continue making Higher Education accessible. Policies and legislation should look to provide support to schools, which in turn, contributes to our larger economic society.


Thank you for reading and sharing this article!


Rebuttals are always welcome,

Jade M. Felder

@felderofficial - X

 

 

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