This Week In Washington
On Thursday, the public comment period closed for those who wanted to suggest regulations that the Department of Education (ED) could potentially eliminate or change. This request for comment was in accordance with an executive order to reduce regulations. As of closing, there were over 16,000 submissions from the public. On October 4th, ED will hold an open hearing at its headquarters in Washington, DC for people to offer additional public input on what federal education regulations it should change.
Last Thursday, we held our bipartisan Road to Repayment event on Capitol Hill with Congressional Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) and Ryan Costello (R-PA-6). The panelists engaged in a robust discussion around ways Congress can help provide better consumer information to students and families so they can make more informed decisions about higher education financing. You can read a complete summary of the event here.
Next Week Preview
While the House has been on recess all week and the Senate adjourned on Wednesday night, next week is shaping up to be a blockbuster. The House may vote on its committee-passed Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution. In its current form, this resolution instructs the education committee to cut $20 billion from mandatory spending programs within its jurisdiction. If the resolution passes both chambers, there could be substantial changes to federal financial aid programs. These instructions and changes would occur through a process called budget reconciliation.
The Senate, however, has not yet released a draft budget; though it is expected to be released next week. Because the majority wants to pass their version of tax reform through the reconciliation process, they will need to pass a budget that includes reconciliation instructions. Until a draft is released, we do not know which committees will receive instructions and how much those savings instructions will be.
Whether massive changes to federal financial aid programs occur will come down to whether both chambers pass a budget resolution that instructs the education committees to cut spending. But whether that occurs depends on if the majority’s tax plan needs these savings. This tax plan was expected to be released next week, but actually may not be; it could come after the majority’s tax retreat.
Oh and by the way, Congress must also extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, and attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act through reconciliation all by the end of next week. Like we said, could be a blockbuster.
To get involved in stopping any potential negative changes to federal financial aid programs, visit our #MakeTheCase advocacy campaign website for resources you can use.
News You Can Use
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of California at Los Angeles discusses seven financial aid policies that hinder diversity on college campuses.
Fidelity Investments launches the Student Debt Employer Contribution program which helps employers make after-tax contributions towards their employees’ student loan payments.
A settlement between the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts calls for an audit of the trust to prove ownership of more than $8 billion in private student loans.
The following bill was recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
S. 1808 – Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act [Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)] would extend the Perkins Loan program for another two years for undergraduates, and for one year for graduate and professional students.