House GOP Higher Education Authorization Bill Released
- Consolidate the six loans currently available into a new Federal ONE Loan Program with one unsubsidized loan per category of borrower: an undergraduate loan, a graduate loan and a parent loan. The structure of this proposed program is largely similar to the existing Direct Loan program structure. However, the bill would eliminate Grad PLUS loans, which allow graduate students to borrow up to the cost of attendance, and subsidized loans for undergraduates. The bill would also maintain the ability of borrowers to consolidate their loans through the One Loan program.
- Additionally, under this new loan program, borrowers would not be eligible for loan forgiveness, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Loan forgiveness would be maintained for remaining Direct and Federal Family Education loan balances.
- Create a “single definition” for postsecondary institutions and lump degree-granting colleges and universities in with trade schools.
- Eliminate the 90/10 Rule and Gainful Employment (GE) requirements from the statute (and thus any provisions that could trigger GE regulations). The bill also prohibits any future regulations on GE and the Secretary from having any role in carrying out or developing a postsecondary education ratings system.
- Eliminate the SEOG programs.
- Reduce or freeze discretionary authorization levels at current level, essentially ensuring years of stagnating funding, which would be further diluted as more new providers gain eligibility.
- Eliminate the Cohort Default rate triggers and replace them with untested program-level repayment rate requirements.
- Make significant changes to accreditation.
- Create a new program, and supports partnerships between institutions of higher education and businesses, to expand access to apprenticeships and earn-and-learn programs.
- Create a $300 Pell Grant Bonus for most students that take at least 30 credit hours each award year.
Tax Reform Updates
- Match the House bill by allowing only a $10,000 deduction for state and local property taxes. However, there are discussions to improve this provision by expanding it to cover state income tax, as well. While this improvement would not revert to current law in this area, it could dramatically increase the ability of some taxpayers to deduct a larger share of their state and local tax burden. To get a better sense of the impact of eliminating the SALT deduction the Public Finance Officers released a report on the percentage of filers in each district who took the deduction.
- Increase the standard deduction to $24,000 from $12,700 for joint filers (and surviving spouses); to $12,000 from $6,350 for individual filers; and to $18,000 from $9,350 for heads of households. The House bill includes the same provisions. Such a change could result in less charitable giving, including giving to institutions of higher education, due to a lack of incentive to itemize deductions.
- Unlike the House bill, the Senate proposal would not consolidate the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Hope Scholarship Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit into one education tax credit nor would it repeal the exclusion of income resulting from the discharge of student debt in cases of death or total disability, the deduction for interest paid on student loans, the deduction for tuition and related expenses, the exclusion of interest from savings bonds used to pay education expenses, the exclusion of tuition reductions or the exclusion of employer-provided education assistance.
Government Funding Updates
Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Marcus
Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking Committee
SCOTUS Rules on Travel Ban
The major higher education national associations are providing regular updates and insights on the activity that is changing daily: