House Overwhelmingly Approves Hoekstra Higher Education Bill to Strengthen Graduate Education, Build On Efforts to Train Highly-Qualified K-12 Teachers

October 23, 2003

“The federal government has long been involved with graduate level education, providing fellowships that assist students who excel in their chosen fields to complete education beyond the baccalaureate level. These programs have been tremendously successful, encouraging in-depth study and creating knowledgeable experts, particularly in subject areas facing national need,” said Hoekstra, chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Education.

“Graduate education, authorized under Title VII of the Higher Education Act, produces immeasurable benefits for our nation. Not only do these programs enrich our citizenry, but they also nurture discovery and innovation that will someday lead to medical and technological advancements. Graduate programs train the next generation of teachers, researchers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, poets, and professors. These individuals will be vitally important in preparing the United States to meet the challenges of the future,” Hoekstra continued.

The Graduate Opportunities Act is one of several bills offered this year to renew and reauthorize the Higher Education Act. H.R. 3076 reauthorizes the graduate education programs under Title VII of the HEA, adding increased flexibility and placing a priority on subjects with demonstrated shortages at the K-12 level, including math, science, special education, and the education of students with limited English proficiency (LEP).

Title VII of the Higher Education Act authorizes three graduate fellowship programs: The Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship program, and the Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity program. Collectively, these fellowship programs encourage students to advance their knowledge in scientific and technical fields, the arts and humanities, and legal studies by providing financial assistance as well as support services to those displaying academic excellence in their field of study.

“This legislation will build on the success of the graduate programs currently authorized under Title VII of the Higher Education Act, and additionally, the bill will also help to fulfill the demand for highly qualified teachers at the K-12 level,” said Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chairman of the Education & the Workforce Committee.

“Witnesses have testified before the Education & the Workforce Committee that an important key to placing highly qualified teachers in every public school classroom, as called for by the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act, is having adequate faculty available to train the teachers of tomorrow,” continued Boehner. “This is particularly important in subject areas facing severe shortages. I believe the importance of this cannot be overstated. If we are serious about ensuring every child learns from a highly qualified teacher, we must address the issue comprehensively.

“As we move forward with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, we must continue to build on the success of these valuable programs that prepare the next generation of scholars. Graduate education is essential to maintaining our economic leadership, as well as ensuring the success of education reform in classrooms across America,” said Boehner.

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