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

AFSCME

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)

Autism Society

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

GLSEN

Hispanic Federation

Human Rights Campaign

Institute for Higher Education Policy

Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Lambda Legal

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

NAACP

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

TASH

The Institute for College Access & Success

UnidosUS, formerly NCLR

Young Invincibles

YWCA USA

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.