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.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Federation of Teachers
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
The Arc of the United States
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for Responsible Lending
Children’s Defense Fund
Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Education Law Center – PA
The Education Trust
Feminist Majority Foundation
Human Rights Campaign
Institute for Higher Education Policy
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Bar Association
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
National Disability Rights Network
National Education Association
National Indian Education Association
National Urban League
National Women’s Law Center
People For the American Way
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Institute for College Access & Success
UnidosUS, formerly NCLR
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.