April 24, 2020

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 4 - Issue 14

Policy and Advocacy

This Week In Washington

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that $6.2 billion would be made available to higher education institutions to cope with disruptions caused by COVID-19. The funding comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which “allow[s] institutions of higher education to use up to 50 percent of the funds they receive to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.” This funding is separate from the $6 billion in emergency financial aid grants that was recently provided to help students cover expenses such as course materials, technology, food, housing, health care, and childcare. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) also released guidance outlining how allocations of the emergency funding are to be made by institutions.

News You Can Use

What the CARES Act means for Public Service Loan Forgiveness hopefuls.

Some student borrowers left out of CARES Act relief consider potentially risky alternatives to lighten their monthly student debt burden in the short term.

Thousands of student loan borrowers are still having their wages garnished, weeks after the CARES Act temporarily halted the practice, due to slow action by ED.

Recent insight on how the coronavirus outbreak is hindering the prospects of Congress passing a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 6597Equity in Student Loan Relief Act [Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21)] would suspend student loan payments, interest accumulation, and all involuntary collections on commercially-held Federal Family Education Loan Program loans through September 30, 2020.

H.R. 6502Covid-19 Graduate Relief Act [Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA-10)] would allow 2020 college graduates to defer their student loans for three years.