This Week In Washington
Speaking at a New York Times education conference on Thursday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate education committee, stated that the Senate would not produce a Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill this year. Chairman Alexander blamed Democrats, and warned that he could similarly delay a reauthorization bill if his party is in the minority next year.
In the House, we are hearing that Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House education committee, is working tirelessly to build support for the PROSPER Act and hopes to bring the bill to the floor for a vote later this month. While action in the Senate is unlikely, it is important to continue to advocate against harmful changes in the House bill; these proposals could be resurrected in future negotiations surrounding HEA next year.
A federal court has temporarily blocked the Department of Education (ED) from implementing its plan to provide partial forgiveness to students who were defrauded by institutions under existing Borrower Defense to Repayment regulations. The judge ruled that ED’s implementation of a tiered forgiveness system violated a federal privacy law because of how ED obtained wage information. Recall, ED announced this new forgiveness model late last year after delaying the Obama-era Borrower Defense to Repayment regulations, and ED has subsequently renegotiated a new rule, which is expected to be released soon.
News You Can Use
A new report from the Brookings Institution argues that the tuition and fees tax deduction mainly benefits upper-income graduate students and should be eliminated. This is just the latest policy proposal that advocates for restricting benefits for graduate and professional students.
Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL) speaks to Inside Higher Ed about his higher education priorities, including repealing the new tax on college endowments.
The following bill was recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
S. 2984 – Strengthening American Communities Act [Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)] would amend the Higher Education Act to provide greater access to higher education and eliminate educational barriers for participation in a public service career.