Press Release/Statement | December 1, 2017

House Proposal Would Close Door on Opportunity, Open Door to Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Overhaul of Higher Education Act would increase college costs, gut student & taxpayer protections

“Representative Foxx, Republican Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, released a wide-ranging proposal today to overhaul the Higher Education Act (HEA) in a way that risks devastating college access and affordability, student success, and the economy.  Simply put, this bill will make it both harder and costlier for students to earn a high-quality certificate or degree.

“Alarming changes to income-driven repayment would increase debt burden across the board, and push the most vulnerable borrowers into default. The changes include requiring higher monthly payments for everyone, eliminating zero dollar payments for the lowest income borrowers, and eliminating the guarantee of loan forgiveness for those who have made payments for 20 or 25 years. The bill would also start charging millions of low- and middle-income students interest on all of their loans while they’re still in school, adding thousands of dollars to students’ loan balances.

“These dangerous proposals increase risks and costs to students and overshadow the bill’s potentially positive steps to modernize the federal aid application, and provide better information for students choosing a college and making borrowing decisions. Student loan repayment plans do need streamlining, but increasing debt burdens for struggling borrowers is not the way to do it. Student loan subsidies could be redesigned, but eliminating them without reinvesting the funds to support students with financial need is not the way to it.

“Where students are the losers under this proposal, the clear winners are for-profit colleges. By gutting regulations designed to ensure that schools provide the education students have paid for, this bill would have the taxpayers write a blank check to colleges that overcharge and under-deliver. It eliminates the 90/10 and gainful employment rules, both critical to maintaining the integrity of the student and public investment in higher education. On top of these changes that swing the doors wide open to waste and abuse, the bill makes it much harder for students to get crucial loan relief after schools and companies have mistreated them.

“Increasing the already heavy burden of student debt and gutting critical protections for students and taxpayers will not promote ‘real opportunity, success, and prosperity.’ Make no mistake, this bill would close the door to a quality higher education and economic mobility for those who need it most.”