September 22, 2023

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 7 - Issue 33

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

With federal student loan payments set to restart in October, some borrowers have already begun repaying. POLITICO reports that there has been a large increase in the Education Department’s (ED) daily deposits of operating cash to the Treasury Department since mid-August. ED’s cash inflow for the last 10 business days of August was 67 percent higher than the same period in 2019, while so far in September, it has brought in $4.5 billion – more than 70 percent more compared to the same period in 2019. Not all of this cash can be attributed to student loan payments, as ED brings in money from other sources, but much of the increase may be due to borrowers making large payments and seeking to avoid interest accrual in September.

A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report released last week found that tuition payment plans offered by colleges may be opaque and incur additional costs to students. The CFPB classifies these installment plans as loans and alleges that many schools are not transparent about the terms and fees associated with these plans.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack wrote individual letters to 16 governors urging them to remedy the historical underfunding of their states’ Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Collectively, HBCUs in these states have missed out on more than $12 billion over the past few decades compared to non-HBCU land-grant peers in their states. The letters outlined the amount each state’s HBCUs have been underfunded per student in state-appropriated funds between 1987 and 2020, using federal data, and suggested possible remedies.

News You Can Use

A recent article by The Washington Post offers personalized advice on how to pay down student loan debt based on your selected career, family, and financial circumstances.

A podcast from the Education Advisory Board reviews how the Supreme Court’s overturning of race-based admissions has affected financial aid professionals.

Recent Legislation

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

S. 2813Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment (HERE) Act [Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)] would create a new federal grant program to fund partnerships between Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and school districts with significant Hispanic and Latino enrollment and focus on improving college readiness and completion. A companion bill, H.R. 5469, was introduced in the House by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20).