GOP sens. urge combined consideration of higher ed bills

From: Education Daily
Republican senators last week banded together to lobby Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to advance the Higher Education Act reauthorization and the budget reconciliation bill to the Senate floor in tandem. In their letter dated June 12, Sens. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Wayne Allard, R-Colo., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., focused primarily on high-profile loan issues in both bills. They wrote that passing the budget reconciliation separately from HEA would cut lender subsidies without addressing “important ethical, privacy and disclosure requirements” supported by Republicans in the bipartisan HEA bill. Still, teacher college advocates applauded the letter, saying moving the bills together would reinforce the importance of reauthorizing HEA’s Title II teacher-quality programs. The Senate HEA bill, S. 1642, contains significant revisions to Title II. It would combine three discrete grant programs into one partnership grant for teachers’ colleges and districts and focus funding to create more teacher residency and induction initiatives. “I think this is a very good signal, because appropriators have cut Title II,” said Jane West, vice president of government affairs and external relations of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. “One of the messages [appropriators] have been sending is, ‘Where is the [HEA] reauthorization? Where is the language to revitalize and reauthorize the teacher preparation grants?’ “I think the appropriations committees are really looking to the lead of the authorizing committees. Getting this reauthorization bill through will strengthen those programs.”

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