House Democrats' Higher Education Campaign

May 16, 2017

Democratic members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Monday announced a campaign of higher education proposals -- called Aim Higher -- that will address access, affordability and completion.

“For most Americans, education after high school is a necessity, not simply a desire,” said Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott, the ranking member on the committee, on a conference call with reporters. “As our nation shifts to a knowledge-based economy, employers are looking for individuals with a meaningful postsecondary degree or credential and strong academic, technical and employability skills.”

Democrats will use the campaign to stake out their negotiating position ahead of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. They will also release legislation in the coming weeks and months dealing with those policy areas. Representative Susan Davis, a California Democrat, said today she would introduce a bill to make the Pell Grant program sustainable, increase the purchasing power of the grant and expand access for low-income students.

"The Pell Grant we all value so greatly just doesn't have the impact today that it once did," Davis said.

John B. King Jr., president and CEO of the Education Trust and former education secretary, joined the lawmakers on the call. King said work on affordability must be coupled with a "laser focus" on college completion.

"Experience and research make it crystal clear that improving outcomes for all students -- including those who have been historically underserved -- is possible," King said. "We are very pleased the Aim Higher plan will include an explicit focus on getting students through school to completion with meaningful degrees."

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