April 16, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 12

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

Late last week, President Biden released his highly anticipated budget request for fiscal year 2022. The “skinny” budget, which only outlines changes to discretionary funding, calls for a 40.8% increase in education funding with a $400 increase in Pell Grant awards and a $600 million investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, and community colleges. You can read our statement of support here.

On Tuesday, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy held a hearing titled "The Student Debt Burden and Its Impact on Racial Justice, Borrowers, and the Economy.” In her opening remarks, committee Chair Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) highlighted the impact that student loans are having on borrowers and their ability to fully participate in the economy. The racial equity issues associated with student loan debt was also a significant part of the discussion with witness Dr. Beth Akers expressing her views on the issue of systemic racism and its ties to our education system. You can watch the hearing here.

News You Can Use

For many older millennials, student loan debt caused delays in buying homes, starting families and pursuing creative careers.

A handful of states offer programs to pay off your student loan debt if you are willing to relocate.

A startup insurance company wants to solve the student debt crisis by insuring college degrees.

Recent Legislation

The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 117th Congress (2021-2022):

S. 1098Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act [Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)] would allow borrowers of joint consolidation loans to separate it into two federal Direct Loans. The two borrowers could submit an application jointly, or under certain circumstances – domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive partner – a borrower can apply independently. This is a companion bill to H.R. 2460, which was introduced in the House by Rep. David Price (D-NC-4).

H.R. 2418 – Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act [Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12)] provides student loan forgiveness to frontline health care workers who have made significant contributions to COVID-19 patient care, medical research, testing, and health care system infrastructure in response to the pandemic.