Purpose: HEA governs nearly all federal financial aid programs for the nation’s postsecondary students. The vast majority of HEA funding flows through Title IV of the legislation, which oversees the administration of the various student loan and grant programs such as the federal Pell grant.
Status: The Higher Education Act was last comprehensively updated in 2008. Since that time, subsequent legislation has amended portions of HEA, extending authorization periods for several programs over the past few years.
Connection to Career Technical Education (CTE): In addition to CTE at the middle or high school level, students can participate in CTE at postsecondary institutions, including community colleges and technical colleges. HEA is intended to expand access to postsecondary education and provides opportunities to align postsecondary with workforce development. However, as currently structured HEA does not provide comparable access for learners wishing to pursue shorter-term career-oriented education and training at these institutions.
Advance CTE Recommendations: Advance CTE advocates for HEA reauthorization based on these recommendations, which reflect the input and priorities of our members and our vision, Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education. In particular, Advance CTE seeks to broaden financial aid eligibility for shorter-term programs, as proposed in the JOBS Act.
Resources on Current Law
- Higher Education Act
Full text of HEA
- U.S. Department of Education Laws & Guidance on Higher Education
Resources and updates on HEA
- The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer (August 2021)
A summary of HEA’s major provisions from the Congressional Research Service
- American Council on Education Analysis of HEA (August 2008)
A summary of the HEA 2008 reauthorization highlighting college costs, financial aid, disclosures and compliance provisions, student loan provisions, professional development and international education
Resources on the Reauthorization Process
- Advance CTE HEA Reauthorization Recommendations (April 2019)
A summary of Advance CTE’s recommendations for the renewal of HEA
- Advance CTE HEA Reauthorization Recommendations Infographic (March 2020)
A summary of Advance CTE's recommendations for the renewal of HEA
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the JOBS Act (March 2021)
Advance CTE strongly endorses and supports the JOBS Act which, if enacted, would make high-quality shorter-term education and training programs eligible for federal Pell Grants