October 29, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 39

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Wednesday, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing titled “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Office of Federal Student Aid” where Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), testified. In her opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) discussed how FSA is working to support student borrowers and applauded their efforts at discharging the student loans of borrowers who have a total and permanent disability and borrowers who have been defrauded by their institutions. During the hearing, Mr. Cordray said that the Education Department is working with the Justice Department to revise their approach to the discharge of student loans in bankruptcy. The hearing can be viewed here.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden released the details of his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better economic and climate agenda. The framework includes a plan to help save families more than half of their spending on childcare, increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $550, and invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

News You Can Use

A new survey by Fidelity found that student loans can stretch across generations.

A growing number of elite colleges with large endowments are abolishing student loans.

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Andre Perry outlines how canceling student debt could help ease the racial wealth divide.

Recent Legislation

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

S. 2984State-Based Education Loan Awareness Act [Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)] would eliminate deterrents and penalties that prevent universities from informing students about student loans offered by non-profit, state agency lenders, provided they actively work to make college affordable and accessible.

S. 2976Student Loan Repayment Freedom Act [Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)] would allow borrowers to change income-based repayment plans without first having to make a payment under Standard repayment or enter into forbearance.