February 28, 2020

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 4 - Issue 7

Policy and Advocacy

This Week In Washington

Last week, the American Bar Association (ABA) was informed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that all full-time employees of the ABA are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, provided they meet all other program requirements. This decision is part of a settlement between ED and ABA that resulted from a lawsuit brought by the ABA claiming that ED unlawfully rescinded program approval for some PSLF applicants.

On Monday, ED announced changes to the www.StudentAid.gov website, which students and borrowers use to learn about and apply for federal financial aid. The updates include:

  • Aid Summary – gives borrowers specific information about their grants and loans, including type, date received, repayment plan, and interest rate. With this summary, borrowers can track progress toward repaying their loans, receive alerts about their account, and track the number of qualifying payments they have made toward PSLF.
  • Loan Simulator – allows borrowers to compare loan repayment options.
  • Make a Payment pilot – borrowers assigned to servicers Great Lakes or Nelnet can schedule upcoming monthly payments through StudentAid.gov. Eventually, all Direct Loan borrowers will be able to repay their loans through StudentAid.gov.

This week, ED Secretary Betsy DeVos testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on ED’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request. While discussing higher education, Secretary DeVos spoke briefly about updates to the Office of Federal Student Aid’s website, the rising cost of college, and the College Scorecard. You can watch a replay of the hearing here.

News You Can Use

More on ED’s plan to transform the Office of Federal Student Aid into a separate agency.

A new poll conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Morning Consult dug into how well people understand the student loan system and how student loan debt impacts their lifestyle.

Student loans could help cut down the tax burden of some borrowers.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 5899 - [Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6)] would amend the Bankruptcy Code to make student loans dischargeable.