NASFAA Statement on House Higher Education Act Reauthorization Bill

We see proposed changes that deserve the support of higher education advocates, others that raise questions and concerns that we hope to work with Congress on as they proceed, and still others that should be abandoned completely by lawmakers.

Republican members of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce today released a 542-page bill that seeks to improve postsecondary education during the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended.

As the primary law that authorizes federal student aid programs for higher education, the HEA is to be reviewed and “reauthorized” by Congress every five years. However, the last HEA reauthorization took place back in 2008, following five years of temporary extensions. After expiring at the end of the 2013 fiscal year and running on yet another extension, House Republicans today released a comprehensive bill for reauthorization. This bill marks an important first step toward a full reauthorization, but many more remain that will likely change several aspects of this bill before the finish line.

Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), made the following statement regarding the bill:

“Like any bill of this magnitude released at this early stage of the reauthorization process, we see proposed changes that deserve the support of higher education advocates, others that raise questions and concerns that we hope to work with Congress on as they proceed, and still others that should be abandoned completely by lawmakers.

NASFAA applauds the committee on its proposals to incentivize on-time completion by providing an increase to the Pell Grant, which closely mirrors our own proposal. We support capping the total interest that can be accrued on a loan, eliminating loan origination fees, giving aid administrators the authority to limit borrower indebtedness in certain situations, consolidating and simplifying the myriad complex repayment plans, and proposing an increase in Federal Work-Study spending all while relaxing some of the programmatic restrictions that sometimes prevent schools and students from fully benefiting from that program.

Other changes that seek to…

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