NAICU Washington Update

House Hearing Probes on Priorities of the Office of Federal Student Aid

October 29, 2021

In an effort to exercise further oversight over the practices of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment of the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing examining FSA’s policies and priorities. The hearing offered the opportunity for Members of Congress to question FSA Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray directly. 

In his testimony, Cordray stated that FSA’s top priority was to ensure that students and their families have reliable and uninterrupted access to needed financial help. In an effort to meet this goal, Cordray highlighted four initiatives being implemented by FSA: Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL), and her Democratic colleagues, expressed support for Cordray and the efforts taken by FSA. However, she expressed concerns with both the transition back into repayment for students who have had their student loan repayment responsibilities paused due to COVID-19 and the loan-servicing companies needing a well-trained workforce to respond adequately to the many students entering back into repayment.  She also stressed the need for the Next Gen project to continue forward with little-to-no errors. 

Ranking Member Greg Murphy (R-NC) emphasized the important role of FSA and the need for the student loan repayment pause transition to be its top priority. He, and his Republican colleagues, also expressed their belief that the agency is pushing a political agenda, including an attack on proprietary institutions, the creation of the Office of Enforcement, and a fear that FSA is abusing its authority due to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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