BRT Welcomes Senate Higher Education Bill, Urges Bipartisan Action to Support Students and Workers

September 27, 2019

Business Roundtable today applauded introduction of the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019 in the U.S. Senate. The broad-ranging legislation will support and modernize key elements of higher education to best serve students and society by advancing diversity and inclusion, and expanding opportunity with new pathways for more Americans to access higher education and high-quality workforce training programs, which are necessary to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. 

The Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019 advances a number of priorities important to Business Roundtable CEOs, including: making mandatory funding that supports historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions; expanding Pell Grants for students enrolled in short-term certificate programs; restoring Pell for incarcerated individuals; and simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

“Business Roundtable supports the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019, and its provisions have broad bipartisan support,” said Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM Corporation and Chair of the Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee. “We welcome the extension of funding for HBCUs to underpin their central role of broadening opportunity in our communities. Many BRT members have partnerships with HBCUs to provide vitality and diversity in their hiring. With the expansion of Pell Grants for short-term certificates, the legislation takes an important first step on reforming higher education to better serve the jobs of the 21st century. We will continue to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate to advance further reforms in higher education to expand opportunity and add pathways to the jobs of the future.” 

In addition to the provisions included in the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019, Business Roundtable is urging members of Congress to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) with provisions that: 

• Update the federal work-study program to focus more on work experiences that are tied to students’ programs of study, including those in the private sector;

• Improve data on higher education outcomes by incorporating the College Transparency Act;

• Expand accountability to hold programs and institutions accountable for relevant outcomes; and 

• Make postsecondary education more affordable.

Business Roundtable has developed a set of principles for policymakers to consider as they work to reauthorize HEA. Click here to read the principles. 

To learn more on the importance of modernizing HEA, click here.