Senate Passes HEA Reauthorization, Sans File Sharing Amendment

The United States Senate today voted in favor of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (SB 1642) 95 to 0 without the previously reported amendment that would have held universities accountable for illegal file sharing on their networks.

The Higher Education Act governs aid to colleges and students in the United States. The five-year reauthorization is the first since 1998. As we reported earlier today, the proposed amendment to HEA from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had been withdrawn. It would have required universities to police and report uses of illegal file sharing on their campuses. Specifically, the amendment would have required the Secretary of Education to create an annual report for Congress outlining which 25 Universities have received the most copyright infringement notices. These Universities will then have to come up with and report a plan of action on how stop copyright infringement on their campuses.

That amendment had been opposed by education technology organizations, including Educause.

The final reauthorization passed with an amendment forbidding colleges and universities from using federal aid to lobby Congress or the executive branch.

Congressional Quarterly reported today that, at present, the U.S. House of Representatives does not have its own version of the reauthorization.

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About the Author

David Nagel is edtorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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