DC Shuttle …
Bipartisan Bill to Help Student Loan Borrowers Introduced in House. Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Paul Mitchell (R-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation to help student borrowers avoid defaulting on their loans. The Streamlining Income-driven, Manageable Payments on Loans for Education (SIMPLE) Act plans to reduce student loan defaults “by connecting struggling borrowers with income-driven repayment plans so they can repay based on financial ability.” If passed, the bill would implement an automatic process that sends information and paperwork to the Treasury Department on behalf of those who are at risk of defaulting on their loans and need further repayment options. “This bill will get the government working for young Americans and especially first-generation college graduates to help them avoid bankruptcy, which is good for them and even better for our economy,” said Moulton in a statement. Read more in The Hill.
DeVos Implementing Obama-Era Regulations for Online College. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos moved to implement Obama-era “state authorization rules” for online colleges, despite legal attempts to delay them earlier this year. These “state authorization rules” were finalized during the last weeks of President Obama’s administration and were set to take effect on July 1, 2018. The purpose of the regulations is to require online colleges to comply with regulators in every state in which they enrolled students. Online institutions will be required to document that each of those states has a process for resolving student complaints against their college. The rules grew from concerns that some state regulators were not properly policing online colleges. Since the “state authorization rules” were proposed, several states have adopted such reciprocity agreements, however some states such as California have been “a hold out on the agreements amid concerns by consumer advocates that they did not provide sufficient protections for students,” according to a Politico article. While DeVos has filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and is in the process of rewriting the rules, the court’s ruling forced her into implementing these regulations. DeVos’s department claims that there are potentially thousands of California online college students who could lose Pell Grants and federal student loans as a result. “This is just one of many consequences of the previous administration’s state authorization rule that we were trying to help students avoid,” said Education Department spokesperson Liz Hill. Read more in Inside Higher Ed.
Harris Introduces Act to Help College Students Afford Basic Needs. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Basic Assistance for Students in College (BASIC) Act alongside Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The legislation would ensure that college students are able to afford day-to-day necessities, including food and housing. “We cannot accept a status quo in which young people seeking a higher education are unable to afford life’s necessities. I’m proud to introduce the BASIC Act to make sure every college student can focus on learning above all else,” said Harris in a statement. The bill seeks $60 billion of new federal investments in schools that largely serve minority populations.
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 29, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.