January 27, 2023

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 7 - Issue 2

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

Late last week, the incoming Democratic attorney general of Arizona filed a notice in federal court dismissing a lawsuit against the Biden-Harris Administration’s student loan forgiveness program. The original lawsuit, brought by the previous attorney general, Mark Brnovich, argued that the forgiveness program would illegally impact Arizona’s tax revenue. This filing does not have an impact on the challenges before the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the relief program. Those challenges, stemming from appeals from the Eighth and Fifth Circuit Courts, will be heard by the Supreme Court in February.

On Monday, the firm hired to conduct an annual audit of the Education Department (ED) declined to offer an opinion on ED’s 2022 financial statements because of concerns over how the long-term cost of the student loan forgiveness program was estimated. KPMG, the firm responsible for the audit, reported that they had concerns with how ED estimated the number of borrowers who would ultimately participate in the program. This is the first time in 20 years that ED has not received a “clean” audit.

News You Can Use

Data from a Pew Charitable Trusts report shows that Hispanic, Black, and female borrowers are included in the demographic of borrowers most likely to have student loans fall into default.

A new report from TICAS finds that students who attended colleges that serve larger numbers of students of color earn less 10 years after graduation than their peers. The report also found that students who attended colleges serving the largest share of Black students owe more in student loans than they originally borrowed.

An Urban Institute analysis of the Biden Administration’s proposed new income-driven repayment plan finds that the percentage of borrowers that would fully pay off their loans would decrease from 59 percent to 22 percent under the proposed plan, while the share of borrowers repaying less than half of what they borrowed would increase from 22 percent to 49 percent.

Recent Legislation

There were no relevant student-aid related bills recently introduced for consideration by the 118th Congress (2023-2024).