WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2018 — AccessLex Institute is pleased to see Congress continuing to stay focused on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), and we are heartened by several of the policy prescriptions offered by the Aim Higher Act introduced on Tuesday. These proposals further the fundamental goals of HEA to increase access and affordability of higher education.
Specifically, AccessLex supports streamlining income-based repayment plans and including critical backstops to help struggling borrowers repay their loans. Verbal enrollment and auto-certification are necessary policies that will remove repayment barriers and ensure students can continue to make affordable payments and meet their other financial obligations.
Maintaining the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a vital component of the bill as well. Graduates employed in public service provide immeasurable benefit to American society, and those who pursue graduate or professional school should be free to give back to their communities without the long-term burden of student loan debt.
Provisions that would increase and enhance student loan counseling are also welcomed. Borrowers need to be fully aware of the implications of borrowing, and students, especially graduate and professional students, should be given all the information they need to make well-informed decisions.
Finally, we support the proposals to overturn the current student unit record ban, to develop a system to securely evaluate this data and to disaggregate federal data by race. AccessLex understands that more and better data is important to assist a variety of stakeholders in making crucial higher education-related decisions, and the collection and reporting of student-level data will allow stakeholders to provide even more tailored information to students and families.
AccessLex Institute urges both the House and Senate to continue its work and develop a comprehensive, bipartisan HEA proposal that improves access to advanced education, particularly for historically underrepresented minorities and economically disadvantaged students, increases affordability for all students and maintains the incentive for advanced degree holders to enter and persist in public service professions.
See our full set of Higher Education Act policy recommendations here.
See our proposed guiding principles for Higher Education Act reauthorization here.
About AccessLex Institute:
AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purposedriven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional. In partnership with its nearly 200 ABA-approved Member law schools, improving access and positively influencing legal education have been at the heart of the Company's mission since 1983. The AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence® advocates for policies that make legal education work better for students and society alike, and conducts research on the most critical issues facing legal education today. The AccessLex Center for Education and Financial Capability® offers on-campus and online financial education programming and resources to help students confidently manage their finances on their way to achieving personal and professional success. AccessLex Institute has offices in West Chester, PA, and Washington, D.C., with a team of accredited financial education counselors based throughout the United States. Learn more at AccessLex.org.