This Week In Washington
House Democrats released a scaled-down version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (which passed the House in May) meant to provide additional relief to individuals, states, and local governments in the wake of COVID-19. The updated measure, which is $1.2 trillion cheaper than the original bill, provides $225 billion in funding for education and would:
- Extend the suspension of federal student loan payments with no interest accrual through September 30, 2021 and provide this relief to commercially-held Federal Family Education Loan Program loans and Perkins loans.
- Extend the recertification period for borrowers in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans to December 31, 2021.
- Provide private student loan borrowers who were economically distressed with up to $10,000 of debt forgiveness.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach an agreement on another COVID relief package this week, the House passed the updated HEROES Act. The bill is not expected to be taken up by the Senate.
On Thursday, the president signed a continuing resolution which averts a government shutdown and extends federal funding through December 11. The measure will provide $8 billion in nutrition assistance, allow student loan guaranty agencies to continue receiving monthly maintenance fees, and extend emergency flexibilities for veterans whose education was interrupted by the pandemic.
The Government Accountability Office released a report looking at potential indicators of fraud or errors for borrowers in IIDR plans. The report found that 11 percent of IDR plan participants who reported having zero income may have had enough income to make payments.
News You Can Use
A new report released by the Law School Survey of Student Engagement provides data on law students’ perceptions of their schools related to diversity and inclusion.
A new poll shows that millennials increasingly believe their student debt wasn’t worth their college education.
An op-ed by two former congressmen who are now presidents of universities suggests that Washington's inability to agree on COVID relief puts the future of colleges at risk.
Schools are telling Congress that the financial toll of coronavirus is worse than anticipated.
The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020):
H.R. 8393 – [Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] would provide student loan forgiveness to healthcare workers who are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
H.R. 8400 – Parents PLUS Loan and Fairness and Responsibility Act [Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11)] allows certain Federal student loans to be transferred from a parent to a child, providing flexibility to families when a parent is experiencing financial hardship and desires to pass student debt burden to their child who is willing to accept this financial responsibility.