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The U.S. Education Department last week completed a series of public hearings in preparation for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which now covers about 60 federal programs accounting for some $10 billion in spending.

Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos has vowed to take a prominent role in the process by offering his own proposal when the Congress takes up the issue in 1991. His predecessor, William J. Bennett, was criticized in 1986 for not getting involved in the last reauthorization until after the House had passed a bill and the Senate was preparing its own.

At a Nov. 20 hearing in Washington, Mr. Cavazos heard testimony from higher-education officials, consultants, trade-school owners, and two truck drivers, all of whom had an interest in the programs.

Charles E.M. Kolb, deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation, said a task force with 13 working groups had been formed within the department to examine every aspect of the programs. The ideas being weighed include a controversial proposal to establish separate financial-aid programs for trade-school students as one response to the problem of loan defaults, which have occurred at an alarming rate at some proprietary schools.

"I think it is fair to put everything on the table," Mr. Kolb said.

Collegiate Research Services Inc. has developed a survey for high-school students that is designed to help them match their education and career interests with those of postsecondary institutions.

More than 8,000 high schools have signed up for the American Career and College Entry Service, or access, which transmits student profiles to participating institutions. The program is free of charge to secondary schools and students.

More information is available from Collegiate Research Services, Suite 700, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22201-9711.

Two educators who developed a program to help community-college students make the leap to four-year institutions will share a $50,000 award from the Charles A. Dana Foundation.

Colton Johnson, dean of studies at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Janet E. Lieberman, assistant to the president of LaGuardia Community College in New York City, began the program in 1985 to give students from community colleges a five-week summer program studying the liberal arts at Vassar. Some 70 percent of those in the program have transferred to four-year institutions, compared with a national transfer rate for community-college students of less than 20 percent.--mw

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