The Institute for Higher Education Policy joined 47 civil rights organizations, education advocates, and researchers in putting forth civil rights principles for the next Higher Education Act reauthorization. IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper released the following statement:
“More than 50 years after the Higher Education Act was passed, the promise of higher education still remains unfulfilled for too many low-income students, working class students, and students of color in our country. Sadly, too many students continue to face persistent barriers to college access and completion. The next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act presents a once-in-a-decade opportunity to tear down these barriers by advancing equity-driven policy solutions. The most successful higher education policy solutions will be informed by coalitions committed to affecting positive change for our nation’s underrepresented students. The principles released today reflect a shared commitment among researchers, higher education advocates, and civil rights organizations all seeking to narrow longstanding gaps in educational attainment. As federal policymakers take up the next reauthorization, we look forward to continued partnership and advocacy with our fellow signatories.”
The principles state that any reauthorization must:
- Ensure robust implementation and enforcement of civil rights laws.
- Remove barriers to enrollment and promote meaningful access.
- Increase student persistence in and completion of a quality, racially equitable postsecondary education.
- Make college affordable for low-income students.
- Provide for the collection and reporting of higher education data.
- Design accountability systems to ensure students receive value from their higher education and not limit opportunity.
- Exclude for-profit colleges from federal financial aid programs unless they have demonstrated their value to students.
- Protect student loan borrowers.
- Ensure safe and inclusive campus climates.
- Invest in and support institutions that serve high populations of traditionally underrepresented students including HBCUs, HSIs, PBIs, TCUs, ANNHIs, NASNTIs, AANAPISIs.