NCLC and the Student Policy Alliance Respond to Proposed Higher Education Package

September 26, 2019
Story by Jordan Baker

This story was updated on September 30th.

In response to Chairman Lamar Alexander’s Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019, a piecemeal proposal to amend the Higher Education Act, member organizations of the Student Policy Alliance (SPA) have released statements with their thoughts on how the proposed legislation measures up to solving students’ needs. Here is what we the student leaders have to say in response to this announcement

The full statements by organizations are accessible via hyperlinks.

Cal State Student Association (CSSA)

  • “Every day thousands of Cal State University (CSU) students struggle to meet their most basic needs due to the incredibly high cost of attendance. Nearly 42% are food insecure and another 11% are homeless – those rates skyrocket for our first-generation student population. Without adequate investment in today’s students, the affordability crisis we see across the nation and in the CSU will never truly be addressed. This is precisely why we need a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), and are concerned about piecemeal proposals like that of Chairman Alexander. It is not enough to address the needs of today’s students – especially those of us at the CSU.”

SUNY Student Assembly

  • “The State University of New York Student Assembly (SUNYSA), representing over 1.4 million students, stands firmly in support of a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. While we appreciate the advocacy of Senator Lamar Alexander on behalf of students, we believe that the best course of action is comprehensive bipartisan reauthorization. We believe that the HEA should not be used to hold funding for HBCUs and MSIs hostage. Lastly, we do not want HEA reauthorization to be lost in the impeachment proceedings. Comprehensive reauthorization is already long overdue, and students should not further suffer because of DC politics.”

Students United

  • “We stand with our Student Policy Alliance partners, who represent over 6.1 million students across the United States, in calling for a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. While we realize that there are positive aspects of the current legislation, we also understand that this bill does little to address systemic inequities in higher education. As the representative entity of the 65,000 Minnesota State university students, we call on legislators to reject the current proposal and to continue working toward a comprehensive solution that fully addresses the ever-increasing barriers to higher education access and affordability.”

University of California Student Association &  UC Graduate and Professional Council (UCSA-UCGPC)

  • “UC students are deeply concerned about the proposed Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019 by Senator Lamar Alexander. We believe that students across the UC system and around the country deserve a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and while Chairman Alexander’s proposal does take steps towards simplifying financial aid, there are many critical student priorities that it fails to address. Importantly, the bill lacks provisions pertaining to student safety and Title IX, fails to address the total cost of a college education and the over $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, and lacks support for the student’s basic needs.”

NCLC’s very own Policy Director, Ernest Ezeugo, also issued the following statement last Friday reacting Chairman Lamar Alexander’s piecemeal proposal to amend the Higher Education Act. View the full statement here.

  • “While Chairman Alexander’s proposal reflects students’ demands for better data and simplifying FAFSA, the package fails to meet the scope of challenges facing today’s students. In March, a national coalition of student-led organizations representing more than 6.1 million college students, now called the Student Policy Alliance, called on Congress to advance a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that improves affordability, centers on equity, and strengthens civil rights. The proposed package does little more than tinker with student aid. Moreover, America’s students, particularly those at minority-serving institutions, deserve better than the political maneuvering used to advance this proposal. We urge lawmakers to immediately extend urgently needed MSI funding and quickly return to negotiating a comprehensive, student-centric reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.”

About Student Policy Alliance

The Student Policy Alliance is a coalition of statewide student associations and similar student-led, student-elected organizations that represents more than six million students at over 400 higher education institutions. Launched by National Campus Leadership Council in 2019, the Alliance supports advocacy, collection action, and consensus-building around a shared set of higher education policy priorities that address the issues today’s students face. If you are a student leader who is interested in sharing your perspective on these issues, email us at to get involved with quick-turnaround advocacy opportunities.

© 2019 National Campus Leadership Council

© 2019 National Campus Leadership Council

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