October 1, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 35

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Thursday, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed a short-term spending bill that will allow the government to remain funded until December 3, 2021. This move will buy Congress more time to come to an agreement on a broader spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.

Navient, a federal student loan servicer responsible for about 6 million student loan accounts, announced on Tuesday that it would not be extending its servicing contract with the Education Department (ED). Recall that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) also announced that they would not be extending their contracts with ED beyond December 2021. Navient plans to transfer its servicing contract to Maximus, a servicer responsible for the accounts of borrowers with defaulted student loans, through a contract novation that will need to be approved by ED before becoming final.

On Tuesday, Ranking Member of the House Education and Labor Committee Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) sent a letter asking Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for information regarding ED’s plan to transition borrowers back into repayment at the end of January 2022. The lawmakers highlighted their concern about the ability of ED to provide borrowers with a smooth transition and requested that ED provide Congress with bipartisan briefings on the transition plan.

News You Can Use

What if federal student loan interest rates just stayed at 0% forever?

Preliminary report by the US Government Accountability Office found that the Trump Administration’s rollback of automatic closed school discharges left thousands of borrowers struggling to repay their debt.

Recent Legislation

There were no relevant student-aid related bills recently introduced for consideration by the 117th Congress (2021-2022).