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U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y.


In 1964, while delivering his "Great Society Speech"' at the University of Michigan, President Lyndon B. Johnson stated that, "[e]ach year, more than 100,000 high school graduates, with proven ability, do not enter college because they cannot afford it." 2 In 1964, there were 1,037,000 students enrolled in college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). 3 By 1965, President Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act4 (HEA or the Act). "[T]he Act sought to bridge the ... gap for [economically and socially disadvantaged] citizens ... by providing [them] the means to pursue higher education." 5 The President, his supporters, and politicians across party lines recognized the perpetual struggle of equalizing educational opportunities and sought to reauthorize the Act less than three years after signing it into law to provide additional resources. 6 In his proposal, President Johnson noted that "every man, everywhere, should be free to develop his talents to their full potential-unhampered by arbitrary barriers of race or birth or income."