Senator Lamar Alexander Higher Education Proposal Overlooks Postsecondary Students Who Most Need Support

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Center of Law and Social Policy (CLASP), a national anti-poverty organization, strongly opposes Senator Lamar Alexander’s introduction of the “Student Aid Improvement Act,” narrowly tailored legislation that seeks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). 

The following statement can be attributed to Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). 

The legislation introduced today, “The Student Aid Improvement Act,” reflects a piece-meal approach to higher education that fails to promote economic security and equity for millions of students with low incomes. HEA must do more to address the college access and affordability crisis for students of color, student parents, undocumented immigrant youth, adult learners, and individuals impacted by the justice system.  As reflected in CLASP Priorities for the Higher Education Act, a comprehensive HEA can help these students acquire the high-quality postsecondary credentials they need to move along pathways out of poverty and into jobs with family-sustaining wages. 
CLASP encourages Chairman Alexander to continue working with Ranking Member Patty Murray to write an inclusive, comprehensive HEA bill that advances equity for today’s students.  In addition, CLASP encourages the Senate to pass the FUTURE Act (H.R. 2486), bipartisan legislation that would extend critical funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Without an extension, these investments will expire on September 30, 2019. We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the FUTURE Act that strengthens the capacity of HBCUs and MSIs to expand college access and affordability and that rely on this funding to educate millions of students with low incomes, students of color, and immigrant students. The Senate must pass the FUTURE Act without delay and not hold this critical funding hostage.