Congress returned to DC earlier this month and its agenda promptly stalled with a planned markup of the FY 2020 Education spending bill canceled at the last minute. Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report finding that 99 percent of Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program applicants were denied loan forgiveness. The report highlighted that, of the $700 million appropriated by Congress for the TEPSLF program, the Department of Education (ED) only provided $26.9 million in relief. House Education and Labor Committee chairman, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), expressed displeasure at the findings of the GAO report stating that "the Department's failure to implement this program is mystifying and unacceptable." The committee plans to hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, September 19 to examine the issues raised in the report.

Read the September 2019 Washington Insights.

In addition to this month's Washington Insights, DEAC wants you to be aware of several reports that seek to influence Congressional priorities in the near future:

  • The Lumina Foundation released Unlocking the Nation's Potential to raise awareness of inequities and structural misalignments in US higher education systems. DEAC's Dr. Leah Matthews participated in an accreditation panel at Lumina's launch event on September 12.
  • The Center for American Progress advanced a set of recommendations on how to improve federal financial aid for student-parents.
  • The Century Foundation released a report based on an analysis of 79 contracts between public institutions and third-party OPMs, which the foundation obtained through state public records requests.
  • New America released findings from a public opinion survey, which shows that, despite party affiliation and political ideology, Americans generally agree on the value of higher education, but disagree on how it should be funded.
  • The Roosevelt Institute released a report on how student loan debt is often more necessary, yet riskier, for black students than for their peers and how this relates to racial wealth inequality.

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.

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