House Bill to Reauthorize Higher Ed Act Would Squeeze Traditional Colleges

DC Shuttle …

Response and Debate Follow Committee Passing of HEA Reauthorization. The House bill (H.R. 4508) to reauthorize the Higher Education Act would overhaul the federal student aid programs and eliminate some regulations on for-profit colleges, such as the 90/10 rule and gainful employment regulations. The bill takes some steps toward a unit-record system, Inside Higher Ed reports. It would also block Obama administration regulations on gainful employment and borrower defense, the New York Times reports. One provision could do away with the system of credit hours. Rating agency Fitch released a report on the bill. The legislation would put pressure on enrollment and revenue at traditional colleges and universities, the analysis said. Key sources of funding for institutions of higher education would decline, including tuition and federal revenues, according to the report.

Senators Reintroduce Student Debt Bill. U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) reintroduced the Student Protection and Success Act to curb climbing student debt by improving the federal standard by which colleges are eligible for federal student assistance. This bipartisan bill would remove federal student loan eligibility from all colleges and universities where less than 15% of their students are able to begin repaying their loans within three years of graduating or leaving school. The bill would also require schools to pay a fee based on the total loan volume their students are not able to repay, and use those funds to support schools that are serving low-income students well.

Ed Dept Awards New Defaulted Loan Collection Contracts. The Trump administration met a court-ordered deadline to award a new round of contracts to companies that collect defaulted student loans on behalf of the government. The U.S. Education Department awarded new five-year contracts to two companies. Education Department officials awarded new contracts to New Hampshire-based Windham Professionals and California-based Performant Financial Corporation. The two firms will join the 13 other companies with existing Education Department contracts to collect defaulted student loans.

Report on Apprenticeships and Student Aid. The Center for American Progress released a new report urging the Trump administration and Congress not to “undermine registered apprenticeships.” The centers also details changes made to student aid.

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 Jan. 16, 2018. For more information, please visit:


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