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Back to November Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 274 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS NOVEMBER 2008

Federal Government Sign on to Greater Funding
and Control of Higher Education
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The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, signed into law in August, was "among the largest authorized discretionary spending hikes in American history," according to Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation. The law authorizes additional spending of up to $142 billion over the next five years.

Besides reauthorizing the federal government's existing higher education programs, the law authorizes 45 new programs. Some of the law's provisions increase student loan forgiveness, increase Pell Grant amounts, and seek to make it easier to apply for federal financial aid. Under HEOA, the Department of Education will obtain students' tax data directly from the IRS when they apply for financial aid.

President Bush signed a law with some similar provisions last year — the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, but that legislation only authorizes an estimated $15 billion over ten years.

"This is just the latest of the Democratic majority's budget-busting initiatives," said Brian Riedl on the subject of HEOA, the 2008 law. "But what makes this unique is that it received general bipartisan support. Republicans were, for the most part, complicit in passing this bill."

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), a dogged opponent of federal control of education, agrees that HEOA represents a significant expansion of federal power. "We have experienced the negative consequences of transferring state control of K-12 education to Washington bureaucrats under No Child Left Behind," says Hoekstra. "So there is no reason not to expect the same result with transferring state control of higher education to Washington." (School Reform News, October 2008)


 
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