A Boost for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Legislation Introduced to Expand Public Service Loan Forgiveness. A group of Senate Democrats, led by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), introduced legislation to expand public service loan forgiveness. The program has seen high denial rates over the past years, causing lawmakers to suggest changes. The legislation, the What You Can Do for Your Country Act, would allow borrowers to receive partial loan forgiveness, up to half of their loan balance, after five years of making payments. Currently borrowers must wait 10 years. The legislation would simplify the process by which borrowers certify their public service employment, including creating a database of which employers count as public service under the program.

Education Department Officials Discuss Tax Credits Scholarships and Income Share Agreements. U.S. Education Department and Senate leadership took part in an education conference in Washington D.C. on aspects of the Higher Education Act. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussed building support for their tax credit scholarship proposal (S. 634), Education Dive reports. In her remarks, Under Secretary Diane Jones said the department plans to experiment with income share agreements. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke about the Higher Education Act.

Support for Bill to Fund IDEA. U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) introduced a bill to fully fund in 10 years both Title 1 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which have been consistently underfunded. Many Democrats are supporting the legislation, the Keep Our PACT Act, including Gillibrand, as well as Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), while no Republicans have yet signed on. Van Hollen has introduced a version of the legislation every Congress since he was first elected to the House in 2003. Last month, he introduced separate bipartisan legislation (S. 866) with Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KN) that would require regular increases in IDEA spending.

Senators Introduce GI Bill Legislation for Guard and Reserve Troops. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Hoeven (R-ND) and John Boozman (R-AK), members of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, introduced the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act, legislation that would enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use GI Bill benefits and Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) programs to fund their education.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of April 15, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.



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