According to APPA reports, on July 31, Congress passed all provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) as part of the new Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HR 4137). HR 4137, expected to be signed into law shortly by President Bush, creates a pioneering “University Sustainability Grants Program” at the Department of Education. It will offer competitive grants to institutions and associations of higher education to develop, implement and evaluate sustainability curricula, practices, and academic programs.

This is the first new federal environmental education funding program authorized in 18 years. Endorsed by over 220 colleges and universities, higher education associations, NGOs and corporations, this grant program will provide the catalyst for colleges and universities to develop and implement more programs and practices around the principles of sustainability. The bill also directs the Department of Education to convene a national summit of higher education sustainability experts, federal agency staff, and business leaders to identify best practices and opportunities for collaboration in sustainability.

The Campaign for Environmental Literacy organized the broad alliance of higher education and environmental organizations supporting the bill.