February 17, 2023

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 7 - Issue 5

Policy and Advocacy


This Week in Washington

Late last week, House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) submitted a comment to the Education Department’s (ED) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. In his comment, Ranking Member Scott largely supported ED’s proposal to reform IDR plans but urged ED to provide parity between undergraduate and graduate students’ loan repayment timelines. Recall that the NPRM would provide undergraduates with debt forgiveness after 20 years while providing graduate borrowers with forgiveness after 25 years. The comment period closed on February 10. Read AccessLex Institute’s comments on the NPRM.

On Monday, five former U.S. Secretaries of Education, including Betsy DeVos, filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court regarding challenges to the Biden-Harris Administration’s student loan forgiveness plan. In the brief, the former Secretaries argue that the Biden-Harris Administration only has the authority to pause student loans and not provide nationwide debt forgiveness. They assert that this is a right only reserved for Congress and that the debt forgiveness plan violates the separation of powers clause. The challenges, stemming from appeals from the Eighth and Fifth Circuit Courts, will be heard by the Supreme Court on February 28.

News You Can Use

If student loan payments resume, 53 percent of borrowers say that they risk becoming financial unstable.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 916Pell to Grad Act [Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI), Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA)] would extend Pell Grant eligibility from 12 to 16 semesters and allow graduate students to use remaining Pell eligibility toward their first graduate or professional degree.