This Week In Washington
The Department of Education (ED) is, yet again, engaged in personnel reshuffling, according to POLITICO. Several top positions within the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) will now have new people in those roles; although, all of the roles are being filled with current high-level FSA or ED employees. The acting Chief Operating Officer of FSA, James Manning, wrote (subscription required) in an email to his staff that in addition to the staffing changes, the organizational reporting structure of FSA would also change (subscription required). Under the new plan, administrative functions (e.g. acquisitions and finance) will report to Mr. Manning, and all operational business units (e.g. enforcement and compliance) will report to Kathleen Smith, the deputy Chief Operating Officer of FSA. Full Disclosure: Kathleen Smith previously served as Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Policy and Member Services for AccessLex Institute.
News You Can Use
The American Bar Association released new data showing approximately 88% of law graduates who sat for the bar within two years of graduating, passed it; however, almost of a sixth of schools had a two-year bar passage rate of less than 80%.
As a way to partially circumvent the current ban on federal student-level data, the University of Texas System, using U.S. Census Bureau data, released a new tool that shows its graduates’ earnings and median loan debt and payment amounts, all disaggregated by program.
A review of the PROSPER Act by Economics21, an economic research and public policy organization, posits that allowing private lenders back into the graduate loan space could drive down student loan interest rates and tuition costs, but likely only for borrowers with the best credit.
Nancy Conneely, Director of Policy at AccessLex Institute, tells CNBC that new Public Service Loan Forgiveness funding for previously ineligible borrowers contained in the omnibus spending bill would help “ensur[e] the program is doing what it was intended to do.”
The following bill was recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
H.R. 5371 – Education for Jobs Act [Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)] would provide student loan eligibility to mid-career students who are enrolled in a degree or certificate program and carrying at least three credit hours.