With 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.
January and February 2018
- HR 5110, SCORE Act: This bill, the Standardization of Collegiate Oversight of Revenues and Expenditures (SCORE) Act, would require institutions of higher education to report specific revenue and expense categories by each sports team. In addition, as part of the program participation agreement (PPA), a school may not be a member of any intercollegiate athletic association that does not also report several categories of revenue and expense information. Rep. Price (D-NC) reintroduced this bill this session.
- HR 4859, Public Service Loan Forgiveness Inclusion Act: The bill, sponsored by Rep. Foster (D-IL) would allow previously ineligible repayment plan payments to become eligible as a "qualifying payment" for the purpose of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if a borrower transfers to an eligible repayment plan within five years (first 60 payments) of entering full time employment. Currently ineligible repayment plans for PSLF include the graduated and extended plans.
- HR 4914/S. 2370, STRIVE Act: This bill, the Supporting the Teaching profession through Revitalizing Investments in Valuable Educators (STRIVE) Act, would make several changes to teacher loan forgiveness and the TEACH Grant, among other provisions aimed at elementary and secondary education teachers. Regarding teacher loan forgiveness, the bill would create a new teacher loan forgiveness program. The program would provide incremental loan forgiveness to teachers (15% to certain teachers based on subject area per year for 5 years; 10% to remaining full-time teachers per year for 6 years; and 5% for part-time teachers per year for 6 years). Qualifying teachers would receive total forgiveness a year following the partial forgiveness period, as long as the teacher remains in a qualifying position. The bill would also increase the TEACH Grant annual amount to $12,000 (from $4,000) and would increase the aggregate limit accordingly (from $16,000 to $48,000 for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students and from $8,000 to $16,000 for graduate students). The bill makes a few adjustments to eligibility and develops a process to forgive a certain percentage of a TEACH Grant loan conversion based on partial fulfillment of the service obligation. Rep. Norcross (D-NJ) and Sen. Booker (D-NJ) introduced this bill in the House and Senate, respectively.
- S. 2423, REAL Act: This bill, the Restoring Education And Learning Act, would reinstate Federal Pell Grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in Federal and State penal institutions. Sen. Schatz (D-HI) sponsored this bill, a companion to an identical bill introduced in the House in January 2017 by Rep. Davis (D-IL).
- S. 2394, Free Right to Expression in Education Act: Introduced by Sen. Hatch (R-UT), this bill would prohibit public institutions (as part of the program participation agreement (PPA)) from restricting expressive activities, such as through so-called "free speech zones."
- S. 2431, ALERT Act: This bill, the Accountability of Leaders in Education to Report Title IX Investigations (ALERT) Act, amends program participation agreement (PPA) requirements to require institutions to submit an annual certification to the Secretary of Education affirming the "president of the institution (or the equivalent officer) and not less than 1 additional member of the institution’s board of trustees (or a designee of the board) have completed a comprehensive review of any incident involving a covered employee that was reported to the title IX coordinator at that institution in the previous 12 months." Sen. Peters (D-MI) sponsored this bill.
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