April 23, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 13

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Tuesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report outlining its findings after reviewing the financial assistance provided to students through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. GAO found that, since November 2020, the Department of Education had awarded $6.19 billion of the emergency student assistance funding to 4,778 schools with the majority of the funds going to public colleges and universities. GAO also found that schools had distributed about 85 percent of these funds by the fall of 2020, with each student receiving about $830 on average. The full report can be found here.

News You Can Use

As the White House considers cancelling student debt, dos and don’ts for borrowers.

A Minnesota state lawmaker proposes revoking convicted protesters' state-based student loans.

Recent Legislation

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

S. 1288College for All Act [Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)] would make community college free, eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities for households that make under $125,000, double the maximum Pell Grant to $12,990 while also expanding its eligibility, and establishe a $10 billion grant to address equity gaps at several Minority-Serving Institutions. A companion bill, H.R. 2730, was introduced in the House by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7).

S. 1263Debt-Free College Act [Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)] would establish federal-state partnerships to enable students attending in-state public institutions to do so without taking on debt, make DREAMer students eligible for Pell Grants, and change several other higher education laws and regulations. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI-2).

H.R. 2732 – Domenic and Ed's Law [Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI-2)] would provide loan forgiveness for families who borrowed Parent PLUS loans if the student for whom they borrowed becomes disabled. A companion bill, S. 1241, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

H.R. 2627 – Pell to Grad Act [Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14)] would extend Pell Grant use to graduate programs and increase students’ lifetime Pell Grant eligibility from 12 to a total of 16 semesters.