The 2008 Amendments to the Federal Higher Education Act: Are We on the Right Track?

Publication Date: March 2009


Author(s): Bradford J. Zulick; Jacob O. Stampen

Research Area: Education

Keywords: HEA 2008; HEA Reauthorization; Higher Education Act

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


The Higher Education Act (HEA) enables and directs the flow of billions of dollars of federal aid to millions of students who qualify for assistance on the basis of demonstrated financial need and other factors through a variety of grants, loans, and student support programs.

This policy brief summarizes the Higher Education Amendments of 2008 (HEA 2008) and the evolution of the Higher Education Act since 1965, particularly the evolution of federal and non-federal forms of financial assistance aimed at increasing educational opportunity and attainment in the United States. It addresses whether HEA 2008 is likely to increase the ability of the American higher education system to achieve its historic goals and concludes with findings and suggestions for future improvement.