Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 7 - Issue 20
This Week in Washington
This Week in Washington
On Wednesday, Republican Senators introduced the Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act, offering their take on solving the student debt crisis. The Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act is comprised of the following five smaller bills:
- The Graduate Opportunity and Affordable Loans (GOAL) Act, which eliminates the Grad PLUS program, separates undergraduate and graduate-level loan limits, and caps borrowing for graduate and professional students;
- The College Transparency Act, which repeals the federal ban on a student unit record system;
- The Understanding the True Cost of College Act, which requires higher education institutions to use a uniform financial aid offer letter;
- The Informed Student Borrowing Act; which requires enhanced student loan counseling on an annual basis; and
- The Streamlining Accountability and Value in Education (SAVE) for Students Act, which would block the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of creating a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, condense repayment options to one standard and one IDR plan, and prohibit undergraduate and graduate programs from receiving federal loans if former students do not earn more than a high school graduate or a bachelor’s degree holder.
On Monday, the Education Department (ED) posted an update clarifying the timeline for the start of student loan repayment. According to studentaid.gov, “student loan interest will resume starting on Sept. 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October.” The clarification comes after President Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act into law, which said that the pause on student loan payments must end no later than 60 days after June 30, 2023, and which the Biden-Harris Administration had planned to end 60 days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Administration’s student debt cancellation plan or 60 days after June 30, 2023.
News You Can Use
A student loan survey from Global Strategy Group and Center Forward revealed that most Americans would support capping the amount graduate students and their families can borrow through federal loan programs.
A report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Office of Research showed that one-in-five student loan borrowers have risk factors indicating they may struggle when payments resume.
The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 118th Congress (2023-2024):
S. 1971 – Streamlining Accountability and Value in Education (SAVE) Act [Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)] would simplify the student loan repayment process for borrowers and reform IDR plans.
S. 1970 – Informed Student Borrower Act [Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)] would require all student loan borrowers to receive and either acknowledge receipt of student loan entrance counseling materials or actively participate in entrance counseling each award year.
S. 1968 – The Graduate Opportunity and Affordable Loans (GOAL) Act [Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)] would eliminate the Grad PLUS program and cap the amount that graduate and professional students can borrow.
S. 1972 – The College Transparency Act [Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)] would repeal the federal ban on a student unit record system and ensure that students and families have better information as they consider higher education opportunities.
H.R. 4117 – The College for All Act [Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7)] would ensure students from single households earning under $125,000 a year, and married households earning under $250,000 a year, can attend public colleges and universities tuition-free, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
H.R. 4139 – The Student Loan Refinancing Act [Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH-10)] would permit the refinancing of certain Federal student loans.