Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act (HEA) authorizes many federal student financial aid programs and competitive grants to support innovation in higher education, reporting requirements for institutions, and much more. The current statute was signed into law in August 2008 and included substantive changes impacting educator preparation.

Title II of HEA emphasizes strengthening the clinical components of preparation programs and ensuring that all candidates are prepared to teach students with special needs and English language learners. Part A of Title II includes provisions on program accountability and evaluation (including program data collection, state and institutional report cards, and identifying low-performing programs). Also featured in Part A is the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform teacher preparation in concert with higher education.

Part B of Title II features provisions for increasing educator diversity, educator use of technology in classrooms, and the creation of an adjunct teacher corps to recruit and train individuals with subject matter expertise to staff high-need fields. Additionally, Part B includes a grant program to prepare general education teachers to more effectively educate students with disabilities. However, these programs have not received funding to support the goals of the programs.

Learn more about HEA in these reports from the Congressional Research Service:


Last Updated February 2021