Francis Keppel, former United States Commissioner of Education, 1962-1965, and Chairman, National Student Aid Coalition, 1981-1986, here gives his view of the evolution of the historic Higher Education Act of 1965 from the time of its passage to its reauthorization in 1986. He focuses particularly upon those sections of the law that deal with undergraduate education and student financial aid, for which the act is now best known. While the basic intent of the act — increasing equality of educational opportunity — has remained constant, there have been important shifts both in the methods chosen to approach that goal and in the social context within which the act operates. The present political and economic atmosphere differs markedly from that of 1965. Federal support for higher education has shifted in emphasis from financing of physical resources to support for students themselves, and has come to rely increasingly on loan programs. Priorities for serving different kinds of institutions and student populations have changed in attempts to meet new needs. Yet, the author remarks, several difficult challenges and unresolved problems in the field of higher education finance remain. Careful collaboration among the branches of government and the higher education community will be required if we are to achieve the full potential of the Higher Education Act in the coming years.

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