With the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization process in full swing, proposals abound from various entities with a stake in higher education. As numerous voices weigh in on reauthorization discussions, there is a strong need for thoughtful, innovative ideas from institutional voices. Institutions of higher education are interested, invested, and believe in student equity, success, and outcomes. In late 2017, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) was awarded a grant to convene a group of forward-thinking campus leaders tasked with developing policy solutions to help students surmount the obstacles that prevent them from enrolling in, paying for, and graduating from college. NASFAA used the grant funding to facilitate the Higher Education Committee of 50, a group composed of college presidents, enrollment managers, admissions staff, financial aid and bursar leaders, members of governing boards, students, and other leaders from all postsecondary institution sectors.
To achieve the goals of this project, the grant charged the Higher Education Committee of 50 with the following:
Members of the Higher Education Committee of 50 divided themselves into four topic-based subgroups reflecting the policy areas above. Each subgroup reviewed relevant literature, heard from subject-matter experts—including scholars and representatives from national postsecondary associations and think tanks—and engaged in hours of discussion and debate before developing their respective recommendations. The group put forth a total of 36 recommendations for Congress to consider, which were presented at a release event on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.