December 1, 2023

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 7 - Issue 39

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

On Wednesday, the Education Department (ED) released a notice in the Federal Register seeking to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to begin revising regulations for federal programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). Specifically, ED intends to address:

  • Recognition of accrediting agencies;
  • Institutional eligibility;
  • Distance education requirements;
  • Return of title IV funds;
  • Cash management; and
  • TRIO eligibility.

The deadline for negotiator nominations is December 13, 2023, and the first negotiated rulemaking session will take place January 8-11, 2024.

Also on Wednesday, the annual Federal Student Aid (FSA) conference, which brings together financial aid officers and other school administrators to hear from ED officials, kicked off. During a session highlighting updates to, it was shared that borrowers can now track the status of their Public Service Loan Forgiveness application, income-driven repayment (IDR) applications can now be saved by borrowers and returned to at a later date, and IDR documents can now be uploaded directly onto the website instead of sending physical copies to servicers.

News You Can Use

A report published by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University found that enrolling in Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) significantly increases the likelihood Black students will graduate compared to those who enroll in non-HBCU institutions.

Officials say that since the Biden-Harris Administration introduced the new Saving on a Valuable Education repayment plan in the summer, enrollment in the program has grown by about 60 percent.

A recent analysis from Degree Choices maps out the states with the highest and lowest average student debt loads per borrower, with the top four states being Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, and Florida.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 6259Student Records Protection Act [Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8)] would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require higher education institutions to establish record-management plans to become accredited or continue to be accredited.

S. 3355Changing Our Learning, Loans, Endowments, and Graduation Expectations (COLLEGE) Act [Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)] would require higher education institutions that participate in federal financial aid programs to pay a percentage of the cost of attendance for each enrolled full-time student.