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U. Tol. L. Rev.


This article explores both the historical entrenchment of the Higher Education Act (“HEA” or “the Act”) and ongoing attempts to retrench it. In it, I argue that Congress should return the HEA to its historical roots and enact reauthorizing legislation that will set the course for re-entrenching the Act and its historical policy. This re-entrenching will properly set the focus of the Act on providing widespread higher education access by creating and implementing new pathways (funding and otherwise) to that access.

In the article, I discuss the entrenchment of the HEA into American culture in an effort to understand the historical view of United States’ society toward government funded higher education. I also discuss the ongoing retrenchment of the HEA by exploring, in the context of all HEA reauthorizations, presidential and congressional fiscal policies regarding post-secondary education. Discussing this history simultaneously proves the retrenchment of the HEA’s historical access policy and the importance of preserving a definition of access that balances maintenance of existing pathways to post-secondary education with the necessity for creating new ones. I discuss the changing higher education landscape (focusing on for-profit post-secondary institutions) to validate the need for protecting federal funds, but to also demonstrate how that need for protection has overshadowed the historical policy of widespread post-secondary access.

Finally, in anticipation of the next HEA reauthorization, I urge Congress to begin re-entrenching the Act by returning its primary focus to creation and implementation of new access programming and suggest methods by which it might accomplish this goal.

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