Last week, the full House Appropriations committee marked up and approved the fiscal year 2020 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. The relevant higher education financing provisions did not materially change from the first mark up; thus, it still includes an additional $350 million for the fund dedicated to the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and sets guidelines for ED's solicitation and utilization of student loan servicers. If you are looking for something to do after Game of Thrones concludes this weekend, you can watch a replay of the markup here. In the Senate, Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Jack Reed (D-RI) re-introduced the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights Act of 2019, which would amend the Truth-in-Lending Act, to create consistent disclosure and servicing standards across federal and private student loan programs. We are continuing to keep an eye on this development.
There are plenty of priorities being identified for HEA reauthorization by consumer groups and other stakeholders. However, some policy wonks are reporting that the looming 2020 presidential election complicates Congress' attempt at reauthorization. This is because candidates and their supporters may have little incentive to support a bill that does not address candidates' priorities. In one such example from the campaign trail, Senator Elizabeth Warren laid out her first major higher education proposal that would forgive almost all student loan debt for most borrowers. The plan is estimated to affect 42 million Americans and would cost around $640 billion.
Read about these developments and more in the May 2019 Washington Insights.
Washington Insights provides the latest news, guidance, and inside-the-beltway advice on the complex subject of financial aid in higher education. Washington Insights is prepared by Dr. Sharon Bob, Ph.D., the Distance Education Accrediting Commission's Special Consultant on Student Aid.