Empowering students through greater opportunity

College is expensive. Grants and scholarships are hard to navigate. Sitting in a classroom is time consuming. Yet the importance of continued education has never been greater.

In our current knowledge-based economy, higher education is practically essential – yet costs and time are holding back too many Americans from these opportunities. So this week, House Republicans voted to make higher education more accessible for Americans, with three essential bills.

1. Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, H.R. 4983, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) – Right now, maneuvering the American higher education system is tangled and confusing. This bill consolidates all the information individuals need when considering their education options. Institution prices, the types of degrees available, pass/ fail rates, student ratios, scholarship and grant availability – will be searchable in one easy-to-use website!

2. Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, H.R. 4984, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) – One of the biggest deterrents keeping Americans from higher education opportunities is the cost – and understanding financial aid opportunities, like grants and student loans, can be complicated. H.R. 4984 will make the financial counseling process more helpful, by requiring financial information be up-to-date and tailored to individual students’ needs.

3. Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2014, H.R. 3136, Rep. Matt Salmon – For many Americans, time is of the essence – and sitting in class for four years, just isn’t an option. This bill gives non-traditional students, like parents or working adults, the ability to gain credit through skills testing. This allows the student to move at a pace based on skill accomplishment, rather than through a pre-constructed timeline. House Republicans understand that the needs of higher education are evolving – this bill is an innovative way to address the needs of American students.

These three bills will have a real impact on the lives of students across the country. By providing Americans with the tools they need to plan for their future, individuals can build a better life for themselves – opening doors that would otherwise seem closed.