February 16, 2024

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 8 - Issue 5

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

In its continued effort to support schools in processing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms, the Education Department (ED) announced new steps it’s taking that will make it easier for institutions to get financial aid packages to students as quickly as possible. Specifically, ED announced that it will be reducing verification requirements, suspending routine school compliance reviews, and providing flexibility on renewing participation in the federal student aid programs. Recall that the FAFSA, which was released in December, has been plagued with issues stemming from delays due to the implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act.

On Thursday, the White House unveiled proposed regulatory text for its fourth negotiated rulemaking session regarding student loan forgiveness slated to take place on February 22-23. Recall that the White House announced plans to hold a fourth negotiated rulemaking session focused on the issue of providing relief to borrowers experiencing hardship. The draft proposal would provide one-time debt forgiveness to borrowers which data suggest are 80 percent likely to default on their student loans within two years, and forgiveness to borrowers who meet a hardship determination based on several outlined factors.

News You Can Use

A brief published by The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) revealed that students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) earn $16,600 less on average than their peers from non-HBCUs a decade after starting college.

A report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) indicated that state support for higher education increased by 10 percent in the last year while federal support decreased.

Recent Legislation

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

H.R. 7359 [Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-47)] would provide a framework for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the ED to coordinate while assisting borrowers seeking to resolve complaints related to their private or federal student loans.