April 3, 2020

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 4 - Issue 12

Policy and Advocacy

This Week In Washington

Both chambers of Congress have left Washington for recess and will not be back in session until April 20. We will publish the Roundup on an as-needed basis during this time.

Late last week, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $2 trillion stimulus bill is the third package signed into law aimed at helping Americans deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19. The bill will provide relief to student loan borrowers by suspending payments on all federally held student loans (during which time interest will not accrue) and suspending the collection and offset of defaulted federal student loans for a period of six months. Note that these changes do not apply to Perkins Loans, commercially held FFELP loans or private loans. Additionally, the suspended payments will count as qualifying payments for borrowers on track for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and income-driven repayment plans, count as payments towards loan rehabilitation, and be treated as regular payments by credit reporting agencies. The Department of Education (ED) plans to implement provisions related to the six-month suspension of student loan payments by April 10. You can find ED’s updated guidance on student loan suspensions here.

News You Can Use

The Congressional Research Service put out a memorandum on the estimated grant allocations under the Education Stabilization Fund created by the CARES Act.

What lawyers need to know about student loan relief provided by the CARES Act.

The dynamic policy debate inside progressive circles about canceling student loan debt.

How the coronavirus outbreak is prompting higher education grant-makers to switch gears.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 6397Coronavirus Emergency Student Loan Refinancing Act [Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT-2)] allows both federal and private student loan borrowers to refinance their loans to lower interest rates.