Congresswoman Susan Davis Fights for Students in the Higher Education Act Renewal
During a 14-hour committee meeting to renew the Higher Education Act, Congresswoman Susan Davis put forward a number of proposals to strengthen access to higher education opportunities and protect students.
“Unfortunately, the majority’s bill before the committee is not student-centered and is in need of many improvements,” said Davis, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. “Going forward, I hope we can work through these concerns and the issues I raised during consideration of this legislation.”
Davis proposed a number of amendments to improve the bill:
The majority’s bill would leave Pell grants as the only student loan program available. Davis proposed to add her bill - the Pell Grant Preservation & Expansion Act - to improve the purchasing power of Pell grants, permanently index the maximum grant to inflation, shift the Pell grant program to fully mandatory funding, and restore eligibility for defrauded students.
Davis moved to restore protections aimed at reducing campus sexual assault. Provisions in the majority’s bill weaken efforts to report sexual assaults and interfere with the ability of colleges and universities to investigate a sexual assault. Davis was joined by colleague Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) in offering an amendment to strike the damaging language from the bill.
In keeping with the national conversation to expand apprenticeships, Davis offered an amendment to keep apprenticeship quality while maintaining flexibility for other earn-and-learn programs. Her amendment would correctly label the majority's plans as "earn-and-learn" programs, require the Department of Education to consult with the Department of Labor on workforce pathway programs, and ensure that businesses wouldn't have the ability to misuse taxpayer dollars or mislead students about their career development programs.
Speaking to the importance of investments in international education experiences, Davis pushed to increase and expand existing foreign language and area studies programs across the country. The amendment is based on the Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act that Davis joined with Rep. David Price (D-NC) in introducing.
The partisan PROSPER Act was sent to the full House on a 23-17 party-line vote. As the process moves forward, Davis vows to work in a bipartisan way to improve the bill to ensure our nation’s higher education policies meet the needs of our students.