July 31, 2020

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 4 - Issue 27

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans released their proposal for the next COVID-19 relief package, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act. The $1 trillion package would, among other things, simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by reducing the number of questions from about 108 to not more than to 33 and consolidate the nine federal loan repayment options down to two: a standard 10-year repayment plan and an income-based repayment plan. The package would also amend the CARES Act by providing an additional $29.1 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

Congress is aiming to finalize a deal before the Senate goes on recess August 7, but thus far negotiations have not yielded much consensus between Congressional Republicans and Democrats and the White House.

News You Can Use

Court rules that consumer protection lawsuit against student loan servicer Navient can move forward.

Forty million Americans will face a student loan “cliff” unless Congress extends the payment pause scheduled to end on September 30.

Recent Legislation

The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020):

H.R. 7761 – Protecting Access to Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants During the COVID-19 Pandemic Act [Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15)] would extend CARES Act provisions related to student loan forgiveness. It would allow workers who lost their job or were furloughed during the automatic forbearance period to count qualified payments toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, so long as they re-enter public service within six months after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.