February 14, 2020

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 4 - Issue 5

Policy and Advocacy

This Week In Washington

On Monday, President Trump released his fiscal year 2021 budget proposal. The administration proposed capping annual Grad PLUS limits at $50,000 and aggregate limits at $100,000, eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and increasing the amount paid under Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans from 10 percent to 12.5 percent and extending repayment forgiveness from 25 to 30 years. The budget also seeks to auto-enroll severely delinquent borrowers in IDR plans and cut funding for the Work-Study program by more than half. AccessLex Institute issued a statement opposing the budget policies that would increase costs for students. Read our brief summary of the budget here.

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report examining how enrollment in IDR plans has changed over time and how those plans will affect the federal budget. The report highlights how the number of graduate student borrowers enrolled in IDR plans grew from 6 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in 2017 and that, of the loans disbursed from 2020 to 2029 and repaid through IDR, graduate borrowers would have $167.1 billion forgiven. CBO also provided options for changing IDR plans which included changing the availability of IDR plans and changing a borrower’s IDR payments.

News You Can Use

A new report by New America examines how enrollment management and merit-aid eligibility policy are impacting public higher education.    

The Center for American Progress published its take on how President Trump’s new budget proposal would exacerbate the student debt crisis.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 5768Accreditation Reform Act [Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA-3)] would modernize federal review and evaluation procedures in the accreditation system and increase transparency and oversight.