This Week in Washington
On Thursday, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), released a package of eight higher education proposals intended to update the Higher Education Act. The proposals include broadening Pell eligibility to short-term programs, providing for a simplified FAFSA application, and increasing the maximum Pell grant award. Ranking Member of the HELP Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) has expressed concern about this move stating that “we need to do this reauthorization in a comprehensive way that really helps our students with the many challenges they face.” Read AccessLex Institute’s statement on the bill here.
On Monday, the Education Department (ED) published its final borrower defense to repayment regulations. The regulations allow borrowers of Direct Loans to seek loan forgiveness if a higher education institution misled or deceived them. The regulations set stricter standards for the elimination of student debt by narrowing the window for filing claims. The rule will become effective on July 1, 2020.
On Wednesday, ED announced that the national Cohort Default Rate (CDR) for fiscal year 2016 had decreased to 10.1 percent. An institution’s CDR is the percentage of borrowers who default on their federal student loans within three years of entering repayment. The metric is used chiefly to determine whether institutions are eligible to participate in Title IV student aid programs. Read AccessLex Institute’s analysis of why CDR is not a useful metric for law schools.
News You Can Use
The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 116th Congress (2019-2020):
H.R. 4497 – Protecting Student Aid Act [Reps. Donna Shalala (D-FL-27), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13)] would codify ED’s Student Aid Enforcement Unit and enhance the tools available to protect students from fraud and abuse by schools.