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Higher Education Opportunity Act

(Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965)

After five years of stop-and-go negotiation, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed the conference report to H.R. 4137, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (the Higher Education Reauthorization Bill) on Thursday, July 31st.

The Senate approved the measure 83-8 hours after the House passed it on a 380-49 vote. The White House has complained that the legislation creates new costly and duplicative programs, but President Bush is expected to sign it.

The Florida Congressional Delegation voted for the conference bill with the exceptions of Cong. Jeff Miller, Cong. Connie Mack, and Cong. Dave Weldon who voted "no" on final passage. Cong. Ginny Brown-Waite was absent and did not vote. Both Senators Nelson and Martinez voted for passage of the conference report.

Click here for a  Bill Summary  provided by Congress
Click here for the  Conference Report 

The 1,000-plus page bill includes several AASCU-supported and advocated provisions, including, among other provisions, year-round Pell grant, a State Maintenance of Effort provision, increased investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, and new institutional programs- including an AASCU priority for a new grant program for rural colleges.

The bill also contains a significant number of new reporting requirements, which the higher education community has long expected- due in part to the time that has passed since the last reauthorization in 1998. Many of the new reporting requirements are in line with AASCU's Voluntary System of Accountability and AASCU worked with Congress to balance bipartisan Congressional calls for more accountability with reasonable institutional burden.