WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten and United University Professions President Frederick Kowal issued the following statement condemning House Republicans’ plan to reauthorize the Higher Education Act:
“If rogue for-profit colleges and private lenders were to dream up a higher education bill that lines their own pockets at the expense of working- and middle-class students, this would be it. The bill cuts off equitable access to four-year college degrees. It takes a scythe to income-based repayment programs and loan forgiveness for borrowers who serve the public. It trashes basic protections for students, such as the 90-10 rule, which caps the amount for-profit colleges can get from federal financial aid sources, and the gainful employment rule, which requires colleges to produce students who are gainfully employed after graduation. And it ignores all the instances of for-profit fleecing and worthless degrees that led to the gainful employment rule in the first place. The provisions around apprenticeships are window dressing to disguise the bill’s real purpose—to privatize and marketize. And all this is on top of the GOP tax plan that also hurts college students—a clear indication that affordable, publicly resourced college no longer matters to House Republicans.
“This partisan bill, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), cannot be allowed to stand for all these reasons and more—including because House Democrats were barred from providing input. This is not how we, as a nation, should reauthorize crucial civil rights legislation. We will fight it tooth and nail, and we will work with responsible members of Congress to design a real bill that puts students first, not unaccountable for-profit corporations.”