March 22, 2024

Higher Ed Policy Roundup: Vol. 8 - Issue 9

Policy and Advocacy

This Week in Washington

On Thursday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced another tranche of federal student loan forgiveness totaling $6 billion which impacts 78,000 borrowers. This most recent announcement will target public service workers who are receiving forgiveness due to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The PSLF program, which was signed into law in 2007, allows borrowers who have worked in public service to have their loans forgiven after 10 years of repayment. The program came under fire when its first participants became due for forgiveness in 2017 and it was discovered that only one percent were receiving the promised benefit.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), chair of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, announced that she will be requesting a hearing with MOHELA CEO Scott Giles. MOHELA, one of the nation’s biggest student loan servicers, has been receiving scrutiny for its handling of student loan accounts and for allegedly mishandling return to repayment. Sen. Warren plans to provide MOHELA with an opportunity to discuss the organization’s management of PSLF and how they have handled return to repayment. The hearing is scheduled to take place on April 10.

News You Can Use

Experts are crediting the enrollment surge at some Historically Black Colleges and Universities to new retention and recruitment efforts, increased philanthropic and government funding, and the Supreme Court's ruling on race-conscious admissions.

Given the problems many students encountered this year with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Department of Education is on track to see 2.8 million fewer FAFSAs submitted, a decline of nearly 20 percent.

Recent Legislation

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