The Higher Education Act at 50:

​A Time for Reflection and Revitalization

9:00AM - 2:30PM
Wednesday Oct. 14, 2015

Overview and Purpose

Over the past half century, the Higher Education Act has fundamentally changed the landscape of American postsecondary education. Federal support and policy has impacted not only the composition of the college-going population but also where and how students pursue learning after high school. While gains in access and equity have been notable, we must continue to focus on these issues as well as address challenges related to completion and cost.

Lumina is bringing together policymakers and thought leaders for a series of panels and guided discussions that reflect on the legacy of this landmark legislation, and how lessons learned from several generations of reauthorizations can inform current efforts to make the Act meet the demands of today. Our objectives for this convening are to:

  • Examine and discuss the legacy of the Higher Education Act
  • Surface relevant current policy issues facing a variety of stakeholders in higher education
  • Use the occasion of this anniversary to consider the future of the Higher Education Act and how we can progress towards a student-centric system of higher education


9:00 am–Opening Remarks

Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation

9:15 am: A Conversation with Congressman McKeon

Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation

Special Guests

  • The Honorable Howard Philip “Buck” McKeon, Retired Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Sally Stroup,Executive Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities
  • Alex Nock,Principal, Penn Hill Group

10:15 am Break

10:30 am Equity in HEA: Continuing to Close the Gap

Moderator: Terrell Strayhorn, Director, CHEE Ohio State


  • Lorelle Espinosa, Assistant Vice President, Center for Policy Research and Strategy, American Council on Education
  • Tiffany Jones, Program Director of Higher Education Research and Policy, Southern Education Foundation
  • Deborah Santiago, CEO and Vice President for Policy, Excelencia in Education

11:30 am Lunch

12:30 pm Policy Salon: Critical Issues in Higher Education

Presenters & Issues:

  • Cost – Wendell Hall, Senior Director, Policy Advocacy, The College Board
  • Accountability – Andrew Kelly, Resident Scholar and Director of AEI Center on Education Reform, American Enterprise Institute
  • Data – Jennifer Engle, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melina Gates Foundation
  • Innovation – Amy Laitinen, Director for Higher Education, New America

1:15 pm The Legacy and Future of the Higher Education Act


  • Julie Peller, Director of Federal Policy, Lumina Foundation


  • James Bergeron, President, National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER)
  • Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President of Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Cheryl Oldham, Vice President of Education Policy and Vice President of Education, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Robert Shireman, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

2:15 pm Closing Remarks

Julie Peller, Director of Federal Policy, Lumina Foundation