December 5, 2019 — The Senate today unanimously passed an amended version of the House-passed Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act that would provide $255 million in permanent, annual mandatory funding to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and simplify the financial aid application, verification, and student loan repayment processes for millions of students.
The bill, which includes language from the Faster Access to Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act of 2018 (S. 3611) passed by the Senate last year, was spearheaded by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), along with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.). The bill would allow for direct data sharing between the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Education, simplifying the financial aid application and loan repayment processes and in turn generating $2.8 billion in savings over 10 years to provide permanent funding to MSIs.
The bill amends both the Internal Revenue Code and the Higher Education Act to keep applicant information more secure by allowing for the direct importing of IRS tax data to the FAFSA. Direct data sharing would also streamline enrollment in and renewal of income-driven repayment (IDR) plans for borrowers by removing the need for students to self-certify their income to prove eligibility for federal IDR plans. This safeguards the integrity of the federal student aid programs without creating overly burdensome bureaucratic barriers for students who rely on these programs. The bill also takes meaningful steps to reduce verification burden, a process that remains overly complex, disproportionately affects low-income students, and is burdensome for students and aid administrators.
“Allowing the IRS to share applicant data directly with ED will simplify the financial aid application, verification, and student loan repayment processes for millions of students and borrowers,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “The FUTURE Act provides a two-for-one deal by guaranteeing critically important permanent, annual funding for Minority-Serving Institutions that serve large numbers of low-income, first-generation college students. These are the sort of reasonable, bipartisan solutions students and families need from Washington, D.C., and we applaud these senators for their commitment to removing barriers to postsecondary education. The financial aid community urges House leadership to take swift action on this bill.”
For more information on the data-sharing provisions included in the bill, see NASFAA’s FAFSA Act issue brief. NASFAA policy experts are available to speak more about FAFSA simplification and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. To set up an interview, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 785-6954.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 28,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.
Publication Date: 12/5/2019