September 17, 2021

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 5 - Issue 33

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of James Kvaal to serve as the Under Secretary of Education. Kvaal, who previously served as president of the Institute for College Access & Success, is described as an education policy expert focused on increasing access to underrepresented students. He will be tasked with bringing the Biden-Harris Administration’s higher education and student aid agenda to fruition.

The Education Department (ED) released an annual report detailing key insights from the administration of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) program. According to the report, 54 percent of eligible students received HEERF aid (94 percent were undergraduates and 6 percent were graduate and professional students) and ED provided $6.1 billion in emergency financial aid funding to institutions. ED encourages institutions to continue providing emergency grants to their students and they plan to continue to collect data on the distribution of the emergency aid.

News You Can Use

A new report from the Century Foundation highlights the underinvestment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and calls for greater federal investment.

Colleges and universities are projected to lose about one percent of graduate enrollment each year from now until 2029. In a survey conducted by EAB, minority students were most likely to say they changed their plans to attend graduate school, citing cost and the pandemic.

Advocates call on President Biden to make good on his campaign promise to reform income-driven repayment plans. 

Recent Legislation

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