December 10, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 44

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) will wrap up its third and final session of negotiated rulemaking on student aid programs today. ED and non-federal negotiators have been discussing programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment (IDR), interest capitalization, borrower defense to repayment, and Pell grants for incarcerated individuals. On IDR, ED has proposed a new plan that would exclude graduate students, which resulted in a lot of disagreement from negotiators who said that doing so is unfair and will penalize marginalized groups such as Black borrowers and women who are more likely to get graduate degrees in order to keep pace with men and white peers. ED will now draft proposed regulations, which will be published sometime in 2022. You can find more information and resources here.

On Wednesday, a group of congressional Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to extend the payment and interest pause on federal student loans. The letter argues that restarting the payments would cost student borrowers approximately $85 million within a year, drag down economic recovery, undermine the effectiveness of the American Rescue Plan, and cause families unnecessary pain and stress. President Biden was also sent a letter from a separate group of Democratic Senators asking the administration to continue its pause on interest payments from federal student loans until the end of the coronavirus pandemic to help alleviate the challenges many student borrowers will continue to face. The pause on federal student loans and interest payments is set to expire on January 31, 2022 and there is no word on whether the administration plans to extend any part of the pause.

News You Can Use

Fiscal cliff nears for U.S. families as student aid benefits and other pandemic relief fade.

Education Finance Council offers four tips when considering Grad PLUS loans.

How a change in your student loan servicer could impact your credit score.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 6125 [Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA-2)] would allow the Department of Education to cancel Federal student loans for borrowers of disaster loans, available retroactively for eligible borrowers from the start of 2020.