May 17, 2024

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 8 - Issue 17

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

On Wednesday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced an extension of the payment count adjustment for borrowers making progress towards income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Borrowers with non-federally held Federal Family Education Loans will now have until June 30 to consolidate their loans to benefit from the payment count adjustment, rather than the original deadline of April 30.

Recall that in April 2022, the Education Department announced changes to payment counting to “address historical failures in the administration of the federal student loan program.” The payment count adjustment will automatically count:

  • Any months in a repayment status, regardless of the payments made, loan type, or repayment plan;
  • Twelve or more months of consecutive forbearance or 36 or more months of cumulative forbearance;
  • Any months spent in economic hardship or military deferments in 2013 or later;
  • Any months spent in any deferment (except for in-school deferment) prior to 2013; and
  • Any time in repayment (or deferment or forbearance, if applicable) on earlier loans before consolidation of those loans into a consolidation loan.

According to the announcement, the payment count adjustment will be fully implemented in September 2024, when borrowers will see an accurate count of their progress toward loan forgiveness.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department held its 10-year Treasury note auction dictating the interest rates on federal student loans for the 2024-2025 academic year. Beginning July 1, 2024, Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized loans for undergraduate students will be 6.53%, Direct Unsubsidized Loans for graduate and professional students will be 8.08%, and Direct PLUS loans will be 9.08%.

News You Can Use

A report published by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association revealed that in 2023, state funding in public colleges increased by 3.7% above inflation.

An analysis by Child Care Aware of America indicated that the national average price for child care increased by 3.7% to $11,582 in 2023, raising concerns about the cost of higher education for student-parents and caregivers.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy recently published a report on the shortcomings in how higher education collects, reports, and analyzes data on Indigenous students.

Recent Legislation

There were no relevant student-aid related bills recently introduced for consideration by the 118th Congress (2023-2024).