December 10, 2019

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 3 - Issue 44

Policy and Advocacy

This Week In Washington

Please note that there will be no Roundup during the Congressional recess. We will return on January 10th with our weekly updates from Washington.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed into law the FUTURE Act, which will permanently reauthorize $255 million in annual funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions. The law will also reduce the number of questions on the FAFSA and streamline the income-driven repayment process by allowing the Department of Education (ED) and the Internal Revenue Service to exchange student tax information. Read AccessLex Institute’s statement on the FUTURE Act here.

This week, Congress passed two measures funding the federal government through fiscal year 2020.  One of the measures, which includes Labor-HHS-Education funding, provides $72.8 billion for ED – an increase of $1.3 billion over the 2019 level. The Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program will see a decrease in funding, with the program receiving $50 million compared to the $350 million it received in fiscal year 2019. Lastly, the bill includes language directing ED to implement recommendations made by a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. In that report, GAO recommended that ED integrate TEPSLF requests into the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) application process, require all loan servicers to include TEPSLF information on their websites, provide denied applicants with information about options available to contest TEPSLF decisions, and include TEPSLF information in its PSLF Online Help Tool. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

News You Can Use

The Journal of Consumer Affairs examined survey data and found the cost of college does not predict higher alumni satisfaction ratings for quality of education.

The Trump administration is mulling a new experimental program that would let students enter into income-share agreements with their college using federal funds.

The Education Trust published a report on the affordability gap facing low-income students attending college.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released data showing that college student enrollment dipped by 250,000 compared to a year ago.

Jonathan Kaplan is out with an op-ed on the Trump administration’s repeal of the gainful employment rule.

Recent Legislation

The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020):

S. 3055Student Loan Repayment Freedom Act [Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)] allows borrowers to change income-based repayment plans without first having to make a payment under Standard repayment or enter into forbearance.

H.R. 5425 – [Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45)] would increase federal oversight and accountability of for-profit higher education institutions facing potential bankruptcy.