WEST CHESTER, PA, February 12, 2018 — AccessLex Institute strongly opposes several provisions in the President’s 2019 budget proposal, released today, that would modify key components of the federal financial aid system.
The proposed budget, if adopted by Congress, would redirect critical resources away from students pursuing higher education to other priorities. This would set a precedent where access to an advanced degree—and the subsequent personal, professional, and societal benefits that come with attaining one—will be ever more closely tied to one’s access to personal financial resources.
While AccessLex supports simplification of Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans, we oppose changes that make it harder for borrowers to repay their student loans, especially those changes that penalize graduate and professional borrowers. Enactment of a 25 percent monthly payment increase and a 20 percent increase in repayment years would add substantial new financial burden for these borrowers.
And, eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which provides a financial incentive for law graduates and other professionals to both enter and persist in critical, underserved fields, would create fewer and less experienced resources for persons who rely on these vital services.
“Advanced education and training are as essential as they’ve ever been for success in our current economy. At the same time, the cost of accessing it is increasing year after year,” said Christopher P. Chapman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AccessLex Institute. “The policies proposed in this budget would only exacerbate that concern. Improving access and affordability is central to what we do at AccessLex Institute, and we stand ready and look forward to working with Congress and the President on devising policies that better address and advance those goals.”
Most worrisome is that much of the vision for higher education outlined in this budget has already been adopted by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in its Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, the PROSPER Act. AccessLex Institute called for substantial improvements to be made to the PROSPER Act and expressed similar concerns regarding access and affordability.
See our statement calling for improvements to the House PROSPER Act here.
See our full set of Higher Education Act policy recommendations here.