It’s Celebration Time

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Thursday was a banner day for AAUW. The House of Representatives passed (247-178) the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338) Thursday night and another priority bill also saw passage. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (H.R. 4137) conference report passed both the House (380-49) and the Senate (83-8), according to CQ . The 1,150 page bill brought massive overhaul as the first reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 10 years. The legislation extends additional aid benefits for students, forces greater accountability for colleges, and reduces the length of the Free Application For Student Aid Form (FAFSA) from 109 pages to 2 pages. Among the bill’s provisions were a number of programs that AAUW had fought for, including making Pell grants available year-round, expanding the population of qualified individuals–particularly women and minorities–in STEM fields, establishing the Patsy Mink Graduate Fellowship Program, increasing funding for campus child care, and aligning the HEA hate crimes categories with the ones used by the FBI. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation. AAUW led the effort to create the Mink Fellowships and align the hate crimes categories.