Alexander: Senate Should “Start From Scratch” on Higher Education Act

The U.S. Senate education committee today convened for the first in a series of hearings regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which governs the majority of federal student aid programs.  The committee’s senior Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), said that Congress should “start from scratch” in reauthorizing the law.

“Let’s write a new law—repeal the old law and have new regulations written with our oversight, not as an ideological exercise but simply in the way that someone would weed a garden before planting a new crop,” Alexander said.

Sen. Alexander used his opening remarks to point to the University of Tennessee as a positive example in terms of both affordability and outcomes.

He impressed upon the committee his desire to continue to create “a true marketplace [for higher education] in which competition breeds excellence.”  But doing this, he stated, will require Congress to avoid setting price controls for tuition, issuing mandates for ways to cut college costs, creating prescriptive federal definitions of “quality,” and imposing “Washington micro-management” on research priorities at national laboratories and research universities.

Click on the video above to watch Sen. Alexander’s opening remarks, and stay tuned for more information on these hearings as they occur.