NAICU Washington Update

House Vote on HEA Could Come Soon

June 05, 2018

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-VA), Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, is continuing to push the House leadership to schedule a vote for the PROSPER Act later this month. 

As part of this effort, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the House Majority Whip, held a meeting of the Republican Caucus in May to assess support for the measure.  While it has been rumored that many Members of Congress are reluctant to take a vote on a bill that could be framed as anti-student prior to the fall election, Rep. Foxx has continued to move the process forward.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made a terse statement about the HEA’s future in a speech during a higher education leadership summit hosted by The New York Times, saying the Senate will not reauthorize the HEA this year because Democrats in the Senate, for political reasons, don’t want to move forward on the bill.  While this move makes it even more curious that the House is willing to take such a politically risky vote on PROSPER, the two chambers have taken different approaches in any number of legislative areas this Congress.  

Among the priorities for colleges and universities are saving the SEOG program, restoring Public Service Loan Forgiveness, reinstating the in-school interest subsidy for undergraduate students, and restoring more reasonable graduate and parent borrowing limits among other issues.  Also of key interest to college leaders is restoration of the current practice of allowing students who receive federal student aid to major in any program offered by their institution and not limit students who receive federal grants and loans to majors in which previous graduates are making successful loan repayments.

It is expected that House Democrats will offer an alternative bill to PROSPER that will allow them to develop a pro-student message for the fall elections.

Contact: Tim Powers
Contact: Jody Feder

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