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.

August 2021

Campus-Based Programs

  • The CCAMPIS Reauthorization Act, introduced by Sen. Duckworth [D-IL], would reauthorize the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) program and increase its funding to $500 million. The CCAMPIS program offers federal support for student parents in higher education and helps to put child care within reach for low and middle-income student parents. 

Improving Affordability

  • The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act of 2021, introduced by Sen. Peters [D-MI], would expand opportunities for high school students to obtain college credit in an effort to make higher education more accessible and affordable. The bill would rely on FIPSE funding to carry out it’s initiatives including, curriculum design and development, assisting students in the program in covering education-related costs such as tuition and fees, and providing professional development opportunities to educators.

Loans and Repayment

  • The Combating Predatory Lending in Higher Education Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Van Duyne [R-TX], would include PLUS loans made to graduate students and parents in the calculation for an institution's Cohort Default Rate (CDR) so that any default in these loans is now included in the calculation.

  • The Student Loan Refinancing Act, introduced by Rep. Turner [R-OH], would allow eligible federal borrowers to refinance their federal loans when interest rates are reduced. After completing an application for refinancing for an eligible federal student loan, the borrower would be able to refinance their loan's interest rate to the interest rate for current new borrowers at the same time of the application. The bill would also ensure that refinancing loans does not affect a borrower’s monthly payment count on IDR repayment plans and PSLF plans.

  • The LOAN Act of 2021, introduced by Sen. Rubio [R-FL], would eliminate interest and replace it with a one-time, non-compounding origination fee that borrowers will pay over the life of the loan. For borrowers who pay off their loans faster than the established repayment plan’s time limit, ED could credit or refund borrowers a calculated amount of the financing fee. The bill would also allow only two repayment plan options, the standard 10-year repayment plan, and an income driven repayment plan, to be created with this bill. Borrowers would automatically be placed in the IDR plan, but can elect to move to the standard repayment plan. 

Quality and Accountability  

  • The Quality Higher Education Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Wilson [D-FL], would initiate a negotiated rulemaking session to establish rules and regulations that an accreditation agency or association must follow when an institution of higher education in their jurisdiction fails to meet their accreditation standards. The rulemaking session would also establish standards that shall be used by all accreditation agencies or associations, such as standards for student completion rates and workforce participation. It would also require accreditors to be more transparent about how they evaluate schools.

  • The GIFTs in Higher Education Act, introduced by Sen. Rubio [R-FL], would hold institutions accountable for gifts or donations received from foreign adversaries, under Section 117 of the HEA. The bill would expand Section 117 disclosure requirements​​ to include faculty, professional staff and all staff engaged in research and development in addition to institutions of higher education and would require gifts and contracts from certain sources to be disclosed within 30 days if valued at $50,000 or more in a calendar year.  

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: 9/10/2021

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