Senate Committee Discusses Access to Higher Education for Disadvantaged Students
January 23, 2014 - Posted by Gracie Cano
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee met last Thursday to hear recommendations for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing, “Strengthening Federal Access Programs to Meet 21st Century Needs: A Look at TRIO and GEAR UP,” led by Chairman Tom Harkin, D. Iowa, focused on programs designed to increase access to higher education for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The TRIO program is designed to identify underprivileged students and provide them with services to help them to succeed academically. GEAR UP focuses on preparing low-income students to complete postsecondary degrees, as well as on increasing the number of students doing so. Of late, both programs have been flat-funded.
“The HEA should be reformed to drive greater resources toward supporting access to and quality programs in community colleges and other public institutions serving high numbers and percentages of students from low-and middle-income families,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in a letter to the Senate in July.
The Higher Education Act has been reauthorized nine times since it was first passed in 1965. It will come before Congress again in 2014.