This Week In Washington
There is little relevant news coming from Congress and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) this week, but bipartisan negotiations on a reauthorized Higher Education Act are ongoing, especially in the Senate. You can help shape the debate to prevent policies that would harm students and institutions from being enacted by getting involved and educating your members of Congress.
Join us next Wednesday, July 24, at 2:00 pm EST for a comprehensive update on what actions and policies Congress and ED have taken this year that will affect you and your students. Also, we will walk through our new online tool to easily help you #MakeTheCase for improved access and affordability. Register here.
News You Can Use
A coalition of higher education organizations sent a letter to Congress stressing the need to prioritize graduate and professional students in Higher Education Act reauthorization.
AccessLex Institute published an article on trends in law graduates’ employment outcomes and bar passage rates, and what to make of the legal job market and the American Bar Association’s new bar passage standard.
NerdWallet reports on the variation in attorneys’ salaries and tips for law graduates managing student debt.
The Congressional Research Service released a brief on income-share agreements, a private financing option for students, and how these agreements differ from federal student loans.
In a bipartisan convening of policy experts to discuss accountability in higher education, there was bipartisan agreement over concerns around student outcomes and inadequate transparency but disagreement about the role of the federal government in consumer protection.
The following bills have been recently introduced for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020):
H.R. 3689 – Protecting Job Opportunities for Borrowers (Protecting JOBs) Act [Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL-27) and Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-6)] would prevent states from suspending, revoking, or denying state-issued professional licenses solely because borrowers may default or be delinquent on a federal student loan. H.R. 3689 is the House companion bill to S. 609, which was previously introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). AccessLex Institute supports both bills.
H.R. 3751 – No Student Loan Interest Act [Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18)] would eliminate and forgive all interest charges on existing federal student loans, and eliminate all interest charges on future federal student loans by enacting a zero percent interest rate.
H.R. 3761 – Protecting Access to Student Transcripts (PAST) Act [Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV-3), et al.] would prohibit institutions of higher education from denying students access to transcripts because of student loan defaults.
H.R. 3764 – Justice for Student Borrowers Act [Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-5), et al.] would prohibit private student loan lenders from including arbitration agreements and pre-dispute joint-action waivers in lending.
H.R. 3786 – [Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA-10)] would ask institutions of higher education to co-sign federal student loans made to students.
S. 2114 – ISA Student Protection Act of 2019 [Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), et al.] would provide the legal framework and consumer protections for income-share agreements—private financing options that allow students to repay a portion of their future income for a specified period.
S. 2124 – Skin in the Game Act [Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)] would require institutions of higher education to repay a portion of the outstanding loan balances for federal student loan borrowers who default.