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2004 Reauthorization, Take Two

February 3, 2005

The Republican majority of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Wednesday released its bill to extend the Higher Education Act, which closely mirrors the plan the panel's leaders proposed last year, lawmakers and college lobbyists agree.

Among other things, the bill introduced by Rep. John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican, would cut subsidies for lenders, give students at for-profit institutions more access to federal financial aid programs, limit students' ability to consolidate their loans at fixed interest rates, and change the way funds in campus-based student aid programs are distributed.

In a statement, Boehner said the bill, H.R. 507, known as the College Access and Opportunity Act, would have to be "revenue neutral," meaning that any proposals to increase spending would have to be offset by savings.

College lobbyists interviewed Wednesday said they had not had much chance to review the bill, but that it seemed to be much like the version the committee released last May. That plan ran into significant criticism from many higher education lobbyists, opposition that was partly responsible for the fact that the process of renewing the Higher Education Act has fallen far behind schedule.

 

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