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.

December 2016

Campus-Based Programs

  • HR 6444, Perkins Loan Program Inflation Adjustment Act: Introduced on December 6 by Rep. Meng (D-NY), this bill would require the Secretary of Education to annually adjust annual and aggregate Perkins Loan limits for inflation. The bill has no co-sponsors. 

Consumer Information & Transparency

  • HR 6446, Student Borrower Higher Education Lending Protection (HELP) Act: This bill, introduced by Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) on December 6, includes three provisions relating to private lending. The bill would require total loan forgiveness for a borrower with a permanent disability or for a family member who is a cosigner of a loan taken out by a student who later dies. In addition, the bill requires deferment of loan payments for borrowers with a temporary disability. Finally, the bill requires private lenders to disclose their default rates on loan documents. 
  • S. 3521Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act: This bill requires institutions, through their program participation agreement (PPA), to adopt several policies in support of students with disabilities, including publicly outlining the process by which an institution determines eligibility for accommodations. Institutions would also be required to report data about students with disabilities in federal postsecondary data collection efforts, including in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Sen. Casey (D-PA) introduced this bill on December 8. 

Loans & Repayment

  • HR 6446Student Borrower Higher Education Lending Protection (HELP) Act: This bill, introduced by Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) on December 6, includes three provisions relating to private lending. The bill would require total loan forgiveness for a borrower with a permanent disability or for a family member who is a cosigner of a loan taken out by a student who later dies. In addition, the bill requires deferment of loan payments for borrowers with a temporary disability. Finally, the bill requires private lenders to disclose their default rates on loan documents. 

Quality & Accountability

  • HR 6433Protect the Flag Act: Introduced on December 2 by Rep. Turner (R-OH), this bill prohibits federal financial aid for higher education institutions that ban or remove the American flag from campus.
  • HR 6530No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses Act: This measure, introduced on December 16 by Rep. Hunter (R-CA), prohibits federal financial aid for higher education institutions that have "sanctuary campus" policies in effect to shield or protect undocumented students from law enforcement. Institutions would be classified as a "sanctuary campus" by the Secretary of Homeland Security based on several criteria outlined in the bill. 

Tax Issues

  • HR 6521, Students and Families Empowerment Act: Rep. Rice (D-NY) introduced this measure on December 8. The bill would exclude loan discharges under income contingent or income-based repayment plans from the calculation of gross income for income tax purposes. In addition, the bill would increase the deduction allowed for student loan interest. 

 

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: 1/5/2017


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