Education Bug - a complete listing of educational resources

Follow EducationBug on Twitter

Higher Education Act

In 1965, Congress passed the Higher Education Act, or HEA. The Higher Education Act had the goal of strengthening US colleges and universities. Keep reading to find out more about this important education legislation.

Purposes of the Higher Education Act

In his education message of January, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson expressed concern about the rising cost of a bachelor’s degree, especially given new understandings of the role of a college education in the job market, the need for better staffing in new disciplines, and the need for improved library collections and services.

The first drafts of the legislation were provided to congress on January 19, and public hearings were conducted. It was reworked and the final version was passed by both the House and the Senate on October 20 became the Higher Education Act of 1965, which President Johnson would sign on November 8. It is known as PL-89-329.

Sections of the Higher Education Act

There are six sections of the act that are important to understand:

  • Title I is concerned with provision of funding for continuing education and extensions.
  • Title II funds library collections and libraries.
  • Title III is concerned with assisting institutions that had not yet achieved accreditation meet the standards.
  • Title IV is concerned with various means of economically supporting undergraduates, including scholarships, loans with low interest rates, and programs for work-study.
  • Title V is concerned with increasing the quality of teaching, including through teacher preparation programs and professional development for teachers with experience.
  • Title VI is concerned with improving undergraduate instruction through financial assistance to needy institutions.

Amendments to the Higher Education Act

The Higher Education Act has been reauthorized eight times, in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and most recently in August, 2008. Changes were made in 2003 as well. In the 2008 version, PL 110-315, there are some changes to the titles and their contents. In the new descriptions, we can see both the connections to the original act, as well as the wealth of development that has occurred since the legislation was first passed.

  • Title I is called General Provisions and treats a variety of topics from protection of students’ right to free speech and association to preventing drugs and alcohol abuse, the problem of diploma mills, and the importance of making tuition costs clear to consumers, among other topics.
  • Title II is called Teacher Quality Enhancement and deals exclusively with that topic.
  • Title III is called Institutional Aid and deals with funding issues, including minority populations.
  • Title IV is called Student Assistance and is divided into 9 parts that deal with grants, Federal family loans, Federal work-study programs, Federal direct student loans, Federal Perkins loans, the elements of need analysis, etc.
  • Title V is called Developing Institutions and discusses support for them.
  • Title VI is called International Education Programs and includes the support of Areas Studies and Foreign Language Programs in US institutions, overseas research centers and technology for accessing foreign information, the study abroad program, degrees in international relations, etc.
  • Title VII is called Graduate and Postsecondary Improvement Programs and discusses the Jacob K. Javits Fellowshp Program, the Thurgood Marshal Legal Educational Opportunity Program, and other graduate assistance in areas which are nationally important.
  • Title VIII is called Additional Programs, and refers to the National Center of Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies.
  • Title IX is called Amendments to Other Laws, and has six parts that refer to the Education of the Deaf Act of 1986, the United States Institute of Peace Act, the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 and 1998, Trial Colleges and Universities and Navajo Higher Education, Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Institutional Loan Repayment Assistance Programs, and Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Program.
  • Title X is called Private Student Loan Improvement and deals with unfair and deceptive lending practices and disclosure practices.
  • Title XI is called Studies and Reports, and includes descriptions of a set of education-related studies.


Major Acts of Congress -

Pell Institute -

U.S. Department of Education -