This Week In Washington
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) late last week released guidance on the wind down of the Perkins Loan program, which expired on September 30. In the Dear Colleague Letter, ED advised institutions that “No Perkins Loan disbursements are permitted after June 30, 2018, under any circumstances.” The guidance also explains the process for an institution to return to ED the federal share of its Perkins Loan Revolving Fund.
There were no major relevant higher education actions by Congress this week. But, as a reminder, last week the House passed its budget resolution, which instructed the education committee to find $20 billion in cuts. And the Senate is expected to vote on its committee-passed budget resolution next week, which did not include instructions to its education committee. The earliest that the two chambers can conference their resolutions is the last week in October, but it is not expected to occur until November.
News You Can Use
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report comparing student loan repayment for two cohorts of borrowers. Among its findings: students in the 2003-04 cohort who borrowed for graduate school owed a median cumulative amount of $48,000 and only 6.8 percent of these borrowers had defaulted on a federal student loan within 12 years.
Analysis of the NCES report shows that nearly half of black federal student loan borrowers in the 2003-04 cohort defaulted within 12 years – more than double the rate of white borrowers.
The following bills were recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
H.R. 4000 – Student Loan Relief Act [Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA)] would allow federal student loan borrowers to refinance their loans and extend the exclusion for employer-provided educational assistance to employer payment of interest on certain refinanced student loans.
H.R. 4001 – Student Loan Refinancing and Recalculating Act [Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)] would allow students to refinance their student loans, lower future student loan interest rates, eliminate student loan origination fees, delay student loan interest rate accrual for low-income and middle-class borrowers while they are pursuing their education, and allow borrowers in medical or dental residencies to defer payments until the completion of their program.
S.1927 – Adjunct Faculty Loan Fairness Act [Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)] would allow part-time faculty at colleges and universities to be eligible to participate in the federal student loan forgiveness program for public servants.