DC Shuttle …
Education Department Ends Gainful Employment Regulation. The U.S. Education Department rescinded the gainful employment rule, which had been implemented by the Obama administration aimed at protecting students from schools that leave them with high debt and insufficient job prospects. The rule is no longer in effect as of July 1, the department posted. The rule had mostly affected for-profit institutions. The Education Department estimated that repealing the rule would cost $6.2 billion over 10 years in payments for Pell Grants and student loans for programs that otherwise would have been cut off from federal aid, Inside Higher Ed reports.
Sen. Sanders Introduces College Debt Forgiveness Bill. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a plan to completely eliminate the student loan debt of every American. The legislation would cancel $1.6 trillion of student loan undergraduate and graduate debt for approximately 45 million people. The plan has no eligibility limitations and would be paid for with a new tax on Wall Street speculation. Sanders introduced the legislation with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Sanders said in a news release. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) will co-sponsor a pair of House bills that serve as companion legislation.
JOBS Act Introduced in the House. Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) introduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (H.R.3497). The bill would expand Pell Grant eligibility to include certificate programs as short as eight weeks. The bill has four additional co-sponsors and is companion to a bill introduced in the Senate in March (S.839).
Lawmakers Request Review of Nelnet and Great Lakes Merger. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, requesting a retroactive review of a merger between loan servicers Nelnet Inc. and Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc. Although the merger was completed last year, the letter outlines new concerns based on a report from the Education Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released in March 2019. “OIG’s report offers new evidence for antitrust regulators to consider regarding the impact on student borrowers,” Warren said in a news release.
House Bill Would Create a Common Manual for Student Loan Servicing. Reps. Kim Schrier (D-WA), Sean Casten (D-IL), Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Colin Allred (D-TX) introduced the Better Service to Borrowers Act (H.R. 3519) which would “require the Department of Education to create a common loan servicing manual to ensure that no matter who services their student loans, borrowers receive the same basic quality of service.” According to a news release, “The manual will require all servicers to make sure borrowers are receiving the correct information and the information in their best interest. Right now, loan servicing companies are not held to any basic standard, which is causing confusion and costing students more money.”
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 July 1, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.