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 2018

Consumer Information & Transparency

  • HR 5550, AID Act: This bill, the Achieving Independence through Degrees (AID) Act, makes a number of changes to the federal student aid programs. The bill increases the Pell Grant maximum award to $9,970 and indexes the maximum award to inflation for subsequent award years. In addition, the bill expands Pell Grant eligibility to certain short-term programs and increases the semester eligibility limit to 15 semesters from 12. The bill would require annual loan counseling and uses the counseling language in the PROSPER Act; however, this bill would not require annual counseling for Pell Grant recipients. The bill eliminates the drug conviction provision for student eligibility and requires a financial aid shopping sheet as a nationwide standardized student aid award letter. Finally, the bill would allow certain students to qualify for SNAP based on EFC or certain dependency status questions. Rep. DeFazio (D-OR) introduced this bill. 
  • HR 5564/S. 2699Help Students Vote Act: This piece of legislation, sponsored by Rep. Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Sen. Booker (D-NJ), would require institutions to distribute voter registration information not less than twice per year and at least 30 days in advance of the deadline for registering to vote within the State for the next scheduled Federal or State primary or general election. The bill would also require institutions to designate an individual on campus as the ‘Campus Vote Coordinator.’ The bill also includes enforcement action provisions should a school not comply with the requirements under the bill. 

Loans & Repayment

  • S. 2682, Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act: This bill would create a new federal student loan forgiveness program, structured similarly to PSLF, for employees or managers of a qualified farm or ranch. The program would require 120 qualifying monthly payments after which any remaining balance would be canceled. Sen. Murphy (D-CT) introduced this piece of legislation. 
  • S. 2684, FARMS Act: This bill, the Flexible Agricultural Repayments and Modifying Schedules (FARMS) Act, would allow certain qualifying agricultural producers to make federal student loan payments on a quarterly, biannual, or annual basis. Sen. Udall (D-NM) sponsored this measure.
  • HR 5549, HIGHER ED Act: This bill, the Helping Individuals Get a Higher Education while Reducing Education Debt (HIGHER ED Act), would reinstate graduate student eligibility for the Direct subsidized loan and allow borrowers to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. The bill would also create a refinancing program for FFEL and Direct loans and allow monthly payments made before refinancing to count towards the 120 qualifying payments for PSLF. Rep. DeFazio (D-OR) introduced this bill. 

Pell Grants

  • HR 5550, AID Act: This bill, the Achieving Independence through Degrees (AID) Act, makes a number of changes to the federal student aid programs. The bill increases the Pell Grant maximum award to $9,970 and indexes the maximum award to inflation for subsequent award years. In addition, the bill expands Pell Grant eligibility to certain short-term programs and increases the semester eligibility limit to 15 semesters from 12. The bill would require annual loan counseling and uses the counseling language in the PROSPER Act; however, this bill would not require annual counseling for Pell Grant recipients. The bill eliminates the drug conviction provision for student eligibility and requires a financial aid shopping sheet as a nationwide standardized student aid award letter. Finally, the bill would allow certain students to qualify for SNAP based on EFC or certain dependency status questions. Rep. DeFazio (D-OR) introduced this bill. 

 

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: 5/9/2018


Related Content

NASFAA Policy Update

MORE | ADD TO FAVORITES

Americans Recognize the Value of Higher Ed, But Want Change

MORE | ADD TO FAVORITES

VIEW ALL
View Desktop Version