WASHINGTON—Ahead of Congress’ uncertain movement to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, and 46 other civil rights and education groups put forth civil rights principles to be included in any reauthorization of the landmark law.
In the principles, the groups highlight the importance of maintaining the role the HEA has played in providing greater opportunity for low-income people, people of color, women, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and immigrants to go to college. In addition, the groups say any reauthorization must also remove ongoing barriers to students’ access to and success in higher education.
The principles state that any reauthorization must:
- Ensure robust implementation and enforcement of civil rights laws.
- Remove barriers to enrollment and promote meaningful access.
- Increase student persistence in and completion of a quality, racially equitable postsecondary education.
- Make college affordable for low-income students.
- Provide for the collection and reporting of higher education data.
- Design accountability systems to ensure students receive value from their higher education and not limit opportunity.
- Exclude for-profit colleges from federal financial aid programs unless they have demonstrated their value to students.
- Protect student loan borrowers.
- Ensure safe and inclusive campus climates.
- Invest in and support institutions that serve high populations of traditionally underrepresented students including HBCUs, HSIs, PBIs, TCUs, ANNHIs, NASNTIs, AANAPISIs.
The civil rights principles can be read here, and the list of signatories is listed below.