Klobuchar Higher Ed Plan Would Expand Pell, Fix PSLF, Support Defrauded Students

By Joelle Fredman, NASFAA Staff Reporter

Presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on Friday released her higher education proposal, which includes plans to expand eligibility for the Pell Grant program, overhaul the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, and support borrowers defrauded by their institutions. Klobuchar also proposed to implement free tuition policies at community colleges and technical degree programs.

Klobuchar’s higher education platform — which she detailed in a blog post — would cost $500 billion over 10 years and be paid for by taxes on the wealthy. 

Klobuchar wrote that as president, she would almost double the maximum Pell Grant award to $12,000, index it to inflation, and expand eligibility to families with annual incomes of up to $100,000. In addition, Klobuchar wrote that she would allow students returning to pursue a college degree to “requalify for Pell Grants by resetting their satisfactory academic progress (SAP),” regardless of whether they exceeded their Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU). She also proposed to expand grant eligibility to incarcerated students, and wrote that she would collaborate with states to create “microgrant programs” to help students facing unexpected financial hardships.

Klobuchar’s proposal also targets the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, requiring lenders to provide better information to borrowers about their eligibility for the program, and “allowing borrowers more flexibility to meet program requirements.” Klobuchar also proposed to expand the program to borrowers working “in-demand” jobs, whose debt she would forgive after 10 years of being enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.   

In an effort to help students struggling with loan debt after being defrauded by their institutions, Klobuchar wrote that she would “restore and strengthen” the Obama-era rules that allow for those borrowers to apply for forgiveness, which were recently rewritten, and require institutions to provide students with more information about their loans, such as interest rates and expected monthly payments. Klobuchar also wrote that as president, she would work to pass legislation to allow students to refinance their federal and private loans at lower rates. 

In addition to targeting loan forgiveness programs, Klobuchar wrote that she would work toward simplifying the FAFSA by improving data-sharing between the Department of Education (ED) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “to streamline income verification.”  

Klobuchar also proposed to provide free tuition for students in one- and two-year community colleges and technical degree programs, funded by a partnership between the federal government and the states. 

Klobuchar’s higher education platform also includes plans to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), student parents, and adult education. Read the full proposal.


Publication Date: 10/28/2019

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