NAICU Washington Update

Gates Papers on Higher Education Act Rewrite Are Emerging; Comments Sought

March 12, 2013

Last fall, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded grants commissioning papers on rethinking federal student aid in anticipation of a congressional rewrite of the Higher Education Act. Those papers are now being submitted, and a quick read reveals a great divide in the quality of the commentaries.

While some of the papers are either too vague or lacking in program knowledge to garner serious consideration, several submissions – including those from the New America Foundation, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Institute for College Access and Success, and one of the two from HCM Strategists - stand out as those most likely to impact the Washington policy conversation. Links to all of the other papers are also included at the bottom of this story.

Several themes are raised repeatedly in the grantee submissions, highlighting which ideas to watch. Among those that could gain traction are proposals for (a) automatic enrollment in income-based repayment plans for federal student loans; (b) linking at least some federal student aid programs to institutional performance-based metrics (such as completion) or providing incentives for improved completion rates; (c) eliminating SEOG and Perkins Loans; and (d) simplifying the FAFSA or streamlining the application process through electronic means such as IRS matching. Several proposals also call for a new role for states as intermediaries between the federal government and colleges or universities.

To date, all14 grantees have released at least one paper. They range from several pages of loose ideas to comprehensive policy packages complete with federal cost analyses. Many groups are releasing their papers to the media or are holding forums to promote their ideas.

At its April Board meeting, NAICU’s Student Aid Committee will review some of the more substantive grantee suggestions in order to identify concepts with promise, as well as those with potential pitfalls. NAICU welcomes comments on the papers, along with other ideas on reauthorization, from its full membership. Comments should be sent to Maureen Budetti,

To date, Congress has set no timeline for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.





Chamber of Commerce.pdf




Excelencia in Education.pdf

HCM Strategists Paper_Part 1.pdf

HCM Strategists Paper_Part 2.pdf


NAF_Rebalancing Resources FINALpdf

NASFAA RADD Report Embargoed.pdf


TICAS - White Paper - February 2013.pdf

Young Invincibles.pdf

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