Inside Higher Ed notes that, while health care is still dominating the headlines and will be for awhile, now that Congress is back in session, “a flurry of news developments Wednesday served as a reminder that higher education issues remain a top priority for the administration and its Democratic allies on Capitol Hill.”


* The Education Department on Wednesday announced that it would create two committees of college officials, consumer groups and others to propose new federal regulations governing foreign schools and issues related to the “integrity” of the student financial aid programs.

* Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat known for his strong support of the National Institutes of Health, will replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The way was cleared for Harkin when Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said he would remain as head of the Senate’s banking committee.

* Vice President Joe Biden brought his White House Task Force on the Middle Class (and two Cabinet secretaries) to Syracuse University for a forum on college affordability, in a conversation that featured some tough talk about college tuition and lots of love for community colleges. In conjunction with the meeting, the White House also released three reports, on financial aid simplification, 529 savings plans, and the major barriers to a college education.

It’s looking to be a busy fall.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.