This Week In Washington
The House is still on its August recess, but the Senate is in session.
On Tuesday, President Trump announced that he intends to nominate Robert L. King to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the U.S Department of Education (ED). If confirmed by the Senate, King, the President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and former chancellor of the State University of New York system, will replace Diane Jones, who had been serving as the acting assistant secretary. This nomination is the last remaining Senate-confirmable position currently vacant at ED, but his confirmation hearing is not expected to occur for some time.
Last night, the Senate passed by a vote of 85-7 a “minibus” bill that packages together the Defense spending bill and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education spending bill. Recall, the Senate bill provides a moderate funding boost to the overall bill, but no education programs would receive an increase in spending. The bill does, however, continue funding for the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and education committee ranking member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced an amendment that would allow ED to reimburse institutions for costs incurred when collecting outstanding loans made under the now-expired Perkins Loan program. It passed by unanimous consent and was included in the final bill.
News You Can Use
The Center for American Progress argues the Office of Federal Student Aid should provide public access to the National Student Loan Data System because “it would provide researchers, policymakers, and the public with reliable, up-to-date data,” and that policymakers are prone to make poor decisions about student loans without more complete and current data.
Five key questions about New York University’s tuition-free policy for medical school.
The following bill has been recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
S. 3353 – Simplifying Financial Aid for Students Act of 2018 [Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)] would, among other things, simplify the FAFSA form by reducing the number of required questions for students who are recipients of a means-tested program, allow data sharing between ED and the IRS for certain students, and making DREAMers eligible for federal financial aid.