Copy
This message was prepared by Lewis-Burke Associates LLC. View this email in your browser

Higher Education Policy Newsletter

September 5, 2019 — Lewis Burke Associates LLC

A VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

Congress returns this month after an August hiatus.  August developments include an executive action by the Trump Administration that will allow for automatic cancellation of federal student loans for veterans who are "totally and permanently" disabled.  The announcement expedites a process that previously required borrowers to complete paperwork before their loans could be cancelled.  In other financial aid news, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos continues to tout the impact of the "Second Chance Pell" pilot program.  The program, which is part of the Experiment Sites Initiative, was expanded to allow new cohorts of colleges and universities to participate.  Expanding access to Pell Grants to individuals incarcerated in state and federal prisons so that they can enroll in postsecondary programs has bipartisan support and is likely to be included in a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).        

HEA reauthorization efforts continue to face roadblocks in Congress.  House Democrats may introduce a reauthorization bill this fall, but the continued absence of consensus in the Senate means the bill has little chance of being enacted.  While Congress struggles to enact reforms, the Administration continues to update and promulgate higher education regulations on borrower defense (more details below), Title IX, and accreditation.  The Title IX and accreditation regulations will need to be issued before November 1, in order to go into effect for 2020-2021 academic year.  

IN THIS ISSUE

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATES AND NEWS

Committee Chairs Request Student Loan Servicing Documents from CSPB

Legislative Bills of Note

ADMINISTRATION AND AGENCY UPDATES AND NEWS
IES Asks for Community Input on Research Changes 

ED Posts Final Borrower Defense Regulations 

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Senator Kamala Harris Targets the Wealth Gap Through Higher Education

FACTS AND FIGURES

Trends in college Enrollment 2019

WHAT WE'RE READING
ACE's Higher Ed Today: College Student Mental Health and Well-Being: A Survey of College Presidents


CONGRESSIONAL UPDATES AND NEWS

Committee Chairs Request Student Loan Servicing Documents from CFPB
Three House of Representatives committee chairs requested records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on its efforts to protect students from unlawful loan servicing practices. In a letter to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, the three chairs—House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA), and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD)—expressed concern over the Student Loan Ombudsman position, which had remained vacant for a year following the resignation of Seth Frotman. The Trump Administration recently named Robert Cameron, a former student loan servicer executive, the new Student Loan Ombudsman. The letter also listed concerns with the CFPB’s failure to issue annual reports on student loan complaints, moves to consolidate student protection offices, and pushes to encourage struggling borrowers to enter forbearance rather than income-driven plans. The committee chairs requested the CFPB provide internal communications regarding these topics by September 9.  

In addition, the committee chairs sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, criticizing the Department of Education (ED) for its failure to conduct oversight of student loan servicers and it’s undermining of state and local law enforcement and CFPB authority to protect borrowers. The committee chairs requested additional documents be provided by ED and federally-contracted loan servicers NavientNelnet, and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), though it is unclear if the documents were provided by last week’s deadline.  

Legislative Bills of Note  

H.R.4193 (Rep. Shalala, D-FL) - Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act of 2019 This bill would amend the Higher Education Act to require monthly updates to borrowers regarding their projected payments, accrued interest, total cost of attendance, and other details in understandable terms.  It aims to make the loan process more transparent to students, many of whom are first-time borrowers. 

ADMINISTRATION AND AGENCY UPDATES AND NEWS

IES Asks for Community Input on Research Changes 

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider posted a blog post asking the education research community for feedback on proposed changes to IES research support.  IES is considering running three competitions in early 2020 focused on evaluation of state longitudinal data system outcomes, analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment process data, and evaluation of the most widely-used math and reading interventions.  IES is also considering eliminating and revising some of the research topic areas under the annual National Center for Education Research and National Center for Special Education Research competitions.  Director Schneider is seeking feedback on these proposals at Mark.Schneider@ed.gov. 

Sources and Additional Information: 


ED Posts Final Borrower Defense Regulations 
The Department of Education (ED) posted its final rule related to borrower defense to repayment claims for students seeking to have their federal student loans forgiven due to misrepresentation and fraud by their institutions.  While the final rule has not yet been officially posted in the Federal Register, ED intends for it to apply to loans made on or after July 1, 2020, as well as take effect as of July 1, 2020.  However, institutions may begin early implementation, as of the date of official publication, for certain financial responsibility reporting requirements.  Students will have a new three-year limitation to file claims and be required to have evidence to support the claims of misrepresentation or fraud by the institution, but students will not have to be in default or collection to file for forgiveness.  The rule would also update terms and conditions for institutional financial composite scores.  

Sources and Additional Information: 


2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Senator Kamala Harris Targets the Wealth Gap Through Higher Education
Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) rolled out part of her higher education plan last month, focusing on supporting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and closing the wealth gap among black Americans. She announced that she hoped to invest $60 billion in STEM education at HBCUs.  The proposal also included $2.5 billion to bolster education tracks at HBCUs to diversify the K-12 workforce.  One part of her plan included student debt forgiveness for HBCU Pell grant recipients who start businesses in disadvantaged communities lasting for at least three years.


FACTS AND FIGURES
Trends in College Enrollment 2019

Each year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiles some back-to-school facts and figures that give a snapshot of schools and colleges for the coming year.



Source: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372


WHAT WE'RE READING

ACE's Higher Ed Today: College Student Mental Health and Well-Being: A Survey of College Presidents

"Campuses and their counseling centers are seeing increased, unmet demand from students. National assessment data show rising levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidality—suicidal ideation (serious thoughts about taking one’s own life), suicide plans, and suicide attempts—among the college population. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students."

Source: https://www.higheredtoday.org/2019/08/12/college-student-mental-health-well-survey-college-presidents/

Copyright © 2019 Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
440 1st Street Northwest, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.






This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC · 440 1st Street NW · Suite 700 · Washington, DC 20001 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp