March 12, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 8

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Thursday, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, into law. The bill, which passed both the House and Senate along party lines, includes $40 billion in funding to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to support students and institutions of higher education and a provision that would exclude from taxable income forgiveness or discharge of a federal or private student loan through 2025.

The House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment announced plans to hold a hearing focused on the impact of COVID on higher education. The hearing, titled "Rising to the Challenge: The Future of Higher Education Post COVID-19,” will be held on March 17 at 1:00pm eastern.

News You Can Use

A new report by the National Consumer Law Center on income-driven repayment (IDR) plans found that only 32 borrowers have achieved full debt forgiveness through their elected IDR plan.

More on IDR from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators: How fixing income-driven repayment could be major part of student loan reform.

A state court in Washington ruled that student loan servicer Navient illegally deceived borrowers and cosigners.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 1633 Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Inclusion Act [Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11)] would expand the types of plans that qualify for debt cancelation under the PSLF program.

S. 603 Coronavirus Emergency Student Loan Refinancing Act [Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)] would allow federal student loan borrowers to refinance their student debt to lower interest rates.