November 18, 2019

Rep. Mike Levin Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Oversight of Higher Education Institutions’ Closure Preparedness

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin introduced the Higher Education Standards Improvement Act with Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Gil Cisneros (D-CA). The bill provides states with direct oversight responsibility over closure preparedness among higher education institutions. The legislation requires states to verify that Title IV funded schools maintain a State Tuition Recovery Fund to refund students who have suffered economic harm due to a closure.

“Students should have every opportunity to pursue a higher education without worrying about the devastating consequences of school closures,” said Representative Levin. “In too many cases, students are left holding the bag when colleges or universities suddenly close, without the refunds or records they deserve. That’s simply not fair, which is why we must ensure that states exercise adequate oversight over closure preparedness among higher education institutions. I’m proud to introduce the Higher Education Standards Improvement Act with Representatives Brownley and Cisneros, and look forward to advancing the legislation along with the Higher Education Act.”

“When higher education institutions close, students can be met with extreme hardships that go beyond just finding a new place to restart their education. It is imperative that when this happens, we ensure that our students – especially those who have served our nation in uniform – are properly informed, receive appropriate refunds, and have access to their records,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “I am proud to join Congressman Levin in introducing this bill to make sure that we protect our students and veteran students from undue burden when they face the devastation and disruption of their school closing. I look forward to working with him to move this critical bill forward.”

"As a Navy veteran and education advocate who benefited from the G.I. Bill, we need to ensure our veterans receive the best education possible,” said Rep. Gil Cisneros. “As our veterans pursue quality education and workforce skills so they can successfully transition back to civilian life, it’s important that their hard-earned benefits are protected, especially when facing the hardships of an unfortunate school closure. I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that will ensure our veterans and students have stability and protective oversight as they pursue a college degree.”

In addition to requiring the maintenance of a State Tuition Recovery Fund, the legislation also requires states to maintain student contact information and ensure that students have access to their transcripts after a closure. The bill also directs states to maintain a  complaint system, and review an institution’s facilities, equipment, and supplies. This bill provides students, whether they are using Department of Education or Veteran Affairs funding, additional protection in case their school closes.