It was the main subject of this month's White House summit, and members of the House of Representatives subcommittee focused their attention on the best ways to help low-income college students and first-generation college students not only get into college, but graduate, at a hearing Tuesday. The hearing of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, was to discuss approaches to the issue and needed improvements in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Witnesses (who included senior administrators at the College of Westchester and Fayetteville State and DePaul Universities), and lawmakers touched on several different themes, many that have been voiced before. Among them:
- The Pay It Forward Affordability Act, which Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat, plans to introducing later this week. The legislation would let students attend public colleges for free, but once they land their first job after graduation, a percentage of their income will be deducted to pay for the tuition. Oregon's approach to this has been controversial.
- Simplifying eligibility for the TRIO program, as well as changing it so that it follows the Pell Grant’s eligibility requirements.
- Finding better ways to measure success. The support program directors at each institution need to use measurable data and more comprehensive metrics to determine the program’s success