U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans
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Purpose of the Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee was created by Congress in the Higher Education Amendments of 1986 to be an independent and bipartisan source of advice and counsel on student financial aid policy to both Congress and the Secretary of Education. To fulfill its legislative charge, the Committee:

  • Makes recommendations to maintain and increase access and persistence to higher education for low- and moderate-income students.

  • Provides technical expertise and understanding of federal, state, and institutional student financial aid programs, and systems of need analysis and application forms.

  • Contributes knowledge and understanding of early intervention programs, and makes recommendations that will result in early awareness by low- and moderate-income families of their eligibility for aid.

  • Formulates recommendations that will expand and improve partnerships among stakeholders to increase the awareness and total amount of need-based aid available to low- and moderate-income students.

  • Collects information on federal regulations and their impact on student financial assistance and on the cost of receiving a postsecondary education, and makes recommendations to streamline the regulation of higher education from all sectors.

The congressional mandate requires the Advisory Committee to conduct objective, nonpartisan, and independent analyses on important aspects of the student assistance programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

Composition of the Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee is composed of eleven members appointed by members of Congress and the Secretary of Education for a single term of four years:

  • Four members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives-two each upon recommendation by the majority and minority leaders.

  • Four by the President pro tempore of the Senate-two each upon recommendation by the majority and minority leaders.

  • Three by the Secretary of Education.

Committee members come from across the nation and include financial aid officers, students, college presidents and administrators, officers of guaranty agencies, and leaders of national educational associations.

The Advisory Committee oversees a staff in its Washington, D.C. office.


Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance

This page last modified— October 2, 2012 (js).