Take Action: Ask your members of Congress to ensure that the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act:
- Ensures students seeking a clinical doctorate in audiology or a master’s degree in speech-language pathology have access to appropriate levels of federally funded student loans.
- Protects current eligibility requirements for programmatic accreditors, such as the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).
- Exempts programmatic accreditors from gainful employment accountability as it pertains to student loan repayment.
The Higher Education Act (HEA) is federal legislation that prescribes federal policy and resources related to undergraduate and graduate level education. As professions with entry level graduate degrees, audiology and speech-language pathology programs are heavily dependent on the HEA for many aspects of program development, maintenance, accreditation, and financing.
ASHA actively supports CAA to help facilitate the education of audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Proposed changes to current accreditation agency requirements could put programmatic accreditors like CAA in jeopardy and unintentionally harm students by raising accreditation related costs that are currently offset by ASHA.
Congress is contemplating changes to program evaluation that rely disproportionately on the ability of students to pay back student loans within a limited period of time. The proposal also does not adequately distinguish between loan deferral and loan default.
Audiologists and speech-language pathologists should have access to federally funded student loans to meet the educational requirements of the fields. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists work to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to free appropriate public education as required by federal law. Recent proposals include annual and lifetime limits on access to student loans that may not meet the needs of many students.
Click Here to Download the FACT SHEET on Accreditation under the HEA
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Legislation Background: Discussions are taking place in Congress to reauthorize the HEA.