The Capitol Recap

Capitol RecapWith reauthorization of the Higher Education Act due for action, members of Congress unveil new proposals for the future of higher education on a continuous basis. NASFAA's series, The Capitol Recap, provides a monthly update on new pieces of legislation introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to provide aid administrators with the most up-to-date information for their offices and their own administration. Bills listed here, unless otherwise noted, have been referred to committee and are awaiting action or consideration.

For a complete list of legislation introduced in this session of Congress, visit the NASFAA Legislative Tracker.

April & May 2020

Consumer Information and Transparency

  • H.R.6756 - The End Pandemic Hunger for College Students Act of 2020, introduced by Rep. Fudge [D-OH], would modify the eligibility standards applicable to low-income college students under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 during COVID–19 public health emergency.
  • S.3745 - The Coronavirus Emergency Borrower Defense Act of 2020, introduced by Sen. Durbin [D-IL], would provide relief to borrowers of student loans who have been misrepresented by institutions. An eligible borrower, or parent borrower who took out an eligible loan on behalf of an eligible borrower, shall be entitled to loan relief as well. 

Loans and Repayment

  • H.R.6502 - The COVID-19 Graduate Relief Act, introduced by Rep. Harder [D-CA], would allow borrowers a payment deferment for up to three years following the coronavirus pandemic and the enactment of this bill. Sen. Romney [R-UT] introduced a companion bill in the Senate in March.
  • H.R.6597 - The Equity in Student Loan Relief Act, introduced by Rep. Stefanik [R-NY], would extend the temporary relief from student loan payments currently extended only to Federal Student loan borrowers to borrowers who hold loans under the FFEL program, even if not held by the Department of Education, as well. The Equity in Student Loan Relief Act would direct the Education Department to make the interest payments for FFEL borrowers, suspend student loan payments obligations and end all involuntary collections through Sept. 30.
  • H.R.6720 - The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act, introduced by Rep. Maloney [D-NY], aims to provide student loan forgiveness to health care workers who are on the front line in response to COVID–19. This loan forgiveness would be applied to any health care professional who is licensed, registered, or certified under Federal or State law who provides COVID-related health care services. This bill aims to forgive Federal student loans and eligible private student loans. 
  • H.R.6825 - The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Improvement Act of 2020, introduced by Rep. Luria [D-VA], would increase loan forgiveness and loan cancellation for teachers. This bill increases the amount the Secretary shall repay for teachers from 5,000 to 15,000 after the fifth complete school year of teaching. In addition, for teachers in mathematics, science, or special education, the Secretary increases the loan forgiveness from 17,500 to 30,000. Finally, the Secretary shall increase loan cancellation for teachers from 5,000 to 15,000 and for teachers in mathematics, science, or special education increase loan cancellation for 17,500 to 30,000. 
  • S.3746 - The Stopping Doctor Shortages Act, introduced by Sen. Feinstein [D-CA], would amend the Higher Education Act to allow full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations to be eligible for public service loan forgiveness. 
  • S.3760 - The Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants During the COVID-19 Crisis Act, introduced by Sen. Blumenthal [D-CT], would strengthen the public service loan forgiveness program based on years of employment. If a borrower completes 2-4 years of service 15% of their total loans will be canceled and 6-8 years of service equals 20% of total loan forgiveness. Lastly, if a borrower completes 10 years of employment, 30% of their total loans will be forgiven. In conjunction with loan forgiveness, if a portion of a loan is canceled, the entire amount of interest that accrued on the loan will also be canceled. 

Quality and Accountability

  • H.R.6651 / S.3589 - The Use Your Endowment Act a bicameral bill introduced by Rep. Cline [R-VA] in the House and Sen. Hawley [R-MO] in the Senate would deem certain institutions of higher education (IHEs) ineligible to receive certain emergency relief funds to address the coronavirus (i.e., the virus that causes COVID-19). Specifically, an IHE with an endowment greater than $10 billion in 2019 is generally ineligible to receive such funds and must return any funds it received to the Department of Education (ED). However, such an IHE may receive and keep these funds if it provides documentation to ED that it expended 1,000% of the amount of the funds on emergency relief. 
  • H.R.6814 / S.3701 - The Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act, introduced by Rep. Eshoo [D-CA], would require the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to promulgate regulations to provide support to institutions of higher education for the provision of certain equipment and services to students of those institutions. This bill prioritizes support for HBCUs, HSIs, MSIs, TCUs, and RSI students who are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant, need based financial aid, low-income, and first generation. Eligible equipment consists of a laptop, tablet computer, modem, router, device that combines a modem and a router, and a wifi hotspot. Eligible service means broadband internet access service and video conferencing systems used for distance learning. 

For additional updates on some of these topics, be sure to select related items in the Suggested Content area; you can also sign up to receive email notifications weekly when content has been updated.

Publication Date: 6/24/2020

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