June 19, 2020

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 4 - Issue 22

Policy and Advocacy

This Week In Washington

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) formally published a new interim final rule codifying guidance that requires colleges to exclude students who don’t qualify for federal student aid from receiving emergency grants authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Among those excluded are international students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, students who have defaulted on student loans, students with less than a C average, and students with minor drug convictions. This comes a day after a California district court judge blocked the ED guidance and interim final rule from applying to community college students in the state. Last week, in a separate case, a federal judge in Washington state ruled that the guidance and interim final rule restricting eligibility for the CARES Act emergency grants could not be enforced in the state.

On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would be voting sooner than expected to override a Presidential veto on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval intended to block ED’s borrower defense rule. The borrower defense regulations, which establish new standards and processes under which borrowers can have federal student loans discharged in cases of fraud or deception by an institution, have been criticized by some House and Senate leaders for making it more difficult for defrauded borrowers to receive relief. The House, which is scheduled to vote on the measure on June 26, is not expected to have enough support to override the veto. The regulations are set to take effect on July 1.

News You Can Use

A new report by the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation examined inequalities in the law school experience for women of color.

New low interest rates could save law students $12,000 on their federal student loans.

MarketWatch explores how the higher education financing system has exacerbated the racial wealth gap.

Recent Legislation

No relevant student aid bills were introduced this week for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020).