Higher-Ed Bill Opens New Battle Over Financial Aid for Undergrads

"The PROSPER Act cuts financial assistance for undergraduates, a move that will hurt many, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators said Jan. 24," the Carolina Journal reports.

"Backers of the bill, including U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District, say it simply cuts red tape and makes lending easier.

The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act was introduced in December 2017 to overhaul the Higher Education Act of 1965. It changes structures for college aid and accountability.

When Congress passed the HEA, colleges and universities were swept into a paradigm shift. The act moved many funding responsibilities for universities from private endowments or state taxpayers to the federal government. Government loans and scholarship programs materialized. Pell Grants and Stafford Loans were a direct result of the legislation.

College students now pick from six types of federal loans, nine repayment plans, eight forgiveness programs, and 32 deferment and forbearance options.

The HEA is overdue for a makeover, Foxx told Carolina Journal in an exclusive interview.

The PROSPER Act would gut Stafford and PLUS loans from the system, replacing them with an unsubsidized Federal ONE Loan. Additionally, all federal grants — except for the Pell Grant — would be thrown out.

Some, like proponents of the NASFAA, think that makeover is a bit extreme.

The bill scores high marks when it comes to college access, simplification, and flexibility, the NASFAA said in a policy brief. But fewer loans could mean fewer students.

'The PROSPER Act would eliminate a number of federal student aid programs in favor of simplification; however, there is no significant attempt to backfill the loss in aid elsewhere, which would leave students worse off,' NASFAA said."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 1/30/2018

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