(NPR) Each year, the federal government provides more than $150 billion in grants and loans to help students pay for college. And while a bachelor’s degree has become increasingly valuable, young people are taking on record levels of debt to earn that degree.

That’s the backdrop for a Senate hearing Thursday on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the 1965 law that governs the federal financial aid system. As part of a series of conversations about paying for college, Morning Edition spoke with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who will run the hearing.

The chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer that for-profit, public and private colleges and universities should be more accountable for the federal student aid they receive.

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