January 5, 2024

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 8 - Issue 1

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

Over the weekend, the Education Department (ED) soft launched the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) making it only available to students for short periods of time. Recall that the FAFSA Simplification Act and the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act required ED to simplify the financial aid application and allow ED and the Internal Revenue Service to exchange student tax information. The FAFSA, which is typically released on October 1st, experienced numerous delays pushing its release to the end of December. Though it was reported that the rollout was challenging, an ED spokesperson said that thousands of applications have been submitted successfully.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 6792Public Service Loan Forgiveness Administrative Improvements Act [Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA-2)] would amend the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) under the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require an online PSLF portal to facilitate cross-agency communication and provide a more user-friendly experience for public servants navigating the process.

H.R 6809Parent PLUS Loan Fairness and Responsibility Act [Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11)] would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow parents to transfer Parent PLUS loans to their child with the consent of the parent, child, and student loan lender.

S. 3524Streamlining More Accessible, Reliable and Transparent Educational Resources for Debt Act (SMARTER Debt Act) [Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV)] would require ED to establish an interactive, online dashboard to improve public access to information about existing student loan forgiveness and repayment programs.