October 22, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 38

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Monday, it was reported that the Education Department (ED) will soon be finalizing its plan to put millions of federal student loan borrowers back into repayment. The plan could include:

  • A 90-day grace period beginning February 2022 that will place borrowers who miss a payment into forbearance without it affecting their credit score;
  • Targeted direct outreach efforts for borrowers identified as “at -risk”;
  • The ability to self-certify income and family size over the phone for those enrolling or re-enrolling into income-driven repayment plans; and
  • Counting the federal payment pause as a rehabilitation payment for defaulted borrowers.

The Office of Federal Student Aid announced that it approved a request from Navient, a federal student loan servicer responsible for about 6 million student loan accounts, to have its student loan servicing contract assumed by Maximus. Recall that Navient announced it would not be extending its servicing contract with ED and that it planned to transfer its servicing contract to Maximus, a servicer responsible for the accounts of borrowers with defaulted student loans.

The House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment announced that it will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Office of Federal Student Aid” on October 27 at 10:15am. The hearing can be viewed here.

News You Can Use

ED sent its first batch of emails to borrowers regarding the temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The Center for Law and Social Policy has a new blog post on the psychological toll of student debt.

A new report by The Education Trust found that Black borrowers likens student loan debt to 'Jim Crow' saying it deepens racial inequality.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 5588 Student Loan Repayment Freedom Act [Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2)] would require colleges to make net price calculators more user-friendly and accessible, including that tuition, room and board, and other costs be listed prominently on each school’s website. It also authorizes ED to develop a “universal calculator” to be used by students.