June 30, 2023

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 7 - Issue 22

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

On Thursday, the Education Department (ED) finalized a plan allowing for a three-month grace period for borrowers who miss student loan payments when payments become due in October. The new policy, referred to as the “safety net period,” will also allow servicers to provide borrowers with an additional 90-day grace period, prevent late borrowers’ credit reports from being impacted until 2024, and help seriously defaulted borrowers from suffering negative consequences until 2025.

POLITICO also reports that ED plans to release the Biden-Harris Administration’s highly anticipated income-driven repayment plan, intended to help borrowers save money as they transition back into repayment, in the next few weeks. The new plan will now be called the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan rather than its original name, Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE).

On Monday, the Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5) sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona expressing concerns about ED’s plan to allow borrowers to self-certify their income when applying for the Biden-Harris Administration’s debt forgiveness plan. Foxx cited a Government Accountability Office (GAO) briefing examining the potential fraud risk related to the student loan forgiveness plan and requested that ED provide a briefing within 48 hours of the release of the final GAO report.

The Supreme Court rulings on the Students for Fair Admissions cases were released on Thursday, with outcomes that deemed race-conscious affirmative action to be unconstitutional in the context of admission to higher education programs. Read AccessLex Institute’s statement.

News You Can Use

Graduate schools should help struggling students borrow more for basic needs like food and medicine, two law school financial aid administrators write in Inside Higher Ed.

A report from TD Economics analyzes the impact of student loan repayment resumption on the U.S. economy.

Recent Legislation

The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 118th Congress (2023-2024):

H.R. 4337Expanding Access to Graduate Education Act [Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH-2)] would expand access to graduate education by allowing Pell Grant recipients to use their remaining funds to pursue their first graduate degree.

Student Tax Relief Act [Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-9)] would make student loan forgiveness tax-free.