Lamar Alexander Likely Chairman of the Higher Education Committee if Republicans Win the Senate Tomorrow!

Dear Commons Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on who will shape the Federal Government’s higher education policies (or at least in the Senate) should the Republicans capture the upper house in tomorrow’s elections. The article sees Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and a former president of the University of Tennessee, as chairing the influential Senate Committee on Higher Education. This seems likely.   Alexander has a mixed record on higher education. He has supported simplifying federal government oversight which would be a welcome but also has been a bit too conservative on expanding financial aid. Here is an excerpt:

“For years, the Republican senator has been trotting out those two props in an effort to persuade his colleagues to roll back regulations and simplify, simplify, simplify student aid. And for years, the regulations and programs have kept on multiplying.

Now, with Republicans poised to reclaim the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, Mr. Alexander may finally be in a position to change things. As the presumptive chair of the Senate committee that oversees education, he would control the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the major law governing student aid. Already, he’s drafted legislation to shrink the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or Fafsa, and to reduce the overall number of student-aid programs. He’s formed a commission to identify redundant regulations, and he’s talked of “starting from scratch” on the reauthorization bill.

“My principal goal in higher education is to deregulate it,” the senator said in an email interview.

It will not be a picnic with Alexander but I think we could do worse.



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