Biden Administration Extends Student Loan Payment Pause and Provides Critical “Fresh Start” for Millions of Borrowers

This month, President Biden extended the student loan repayment pause moratorium and announced a critical “fresh start” for millions of borrowers who were in delinquency or default on their student debt when the pandemic began. Borrowers who had been in delinquency or default as of March 2020 will be reentered to repayment in good standing and will not be subject to the financially devastating effects of default, including having their wages, tax credits, and other benefits seized.

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Read more in Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Reforming Income-Driven Repayment Can Reduce the Burden of Student Debt

Despite the availability of and significant improvements to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, far too many borrowers struggle to repay their federal student loan debts. For IDR to better protect borrowers from unaffordable payments, keep borrowers out of default, and provide a reliable light at the end of the tunnel, policymakers must make significant reforms to IDR design and implementation.

Our latest IDR analysis focuses on key IDR design changes that will reduce the burden of student debt for millions of borrowers.

We also welcome the Biden Administration’s recently announced actions to recognize the effects of forbearance steering and flawed payment tracking on borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment (IDR). The actions announced will result in immediate balance cancellation for tens of thousands of borrowers under IDR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness and move millions of borrowers closer to the end of their repayment term where any remaining balances will be discharged. We also applaud the Education Department’s actions to end harmful servicing practices and conduct stronger oversight of federal loan servicers.

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Read more in the Los Angeles Times

Even After Legislative Intervention, Many California Students Continue to Enroll in Remedial Coursework

Years of research have highlighted the toll of traditional remedial coursework on students’ academic trajectories and odds of completing; however, little attention has been paid to the added financial costs students also incur due to taking remedial courses.

TICAS collected data from five community colleges in California to shed light on the role remedial courses played in the total units completed by financial aid recipients who successfully completed their associate degree or transferred. The Detrimental Costs of Remedial Education for California Community College Students – illustrates the added financial costs of remedial education even for those students who beat the odds and ultimately achieve their educational goals.

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Leveraging State and Local Relief Funds to Increase College Completion Rates

States are in the process of determining how to use the $350 billion in federal relief funds granted last year, which must be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026, and some states are using it to tackle the urgent problem of the college completion crisis. While high school graduation rates have soared to historic highs over the last two decades, growth in the college graduation rate has been much more tepid, and large racial gaps persist.

A webinar co-hosted by TICAS, SHEEO, and Results for America highlighted states and localities that are investing in proven programs aimed at increasing college persistence, graduation, and lifetime earnings and offering a roadmap for others that are in the midst of deciding how to spend relief funds.

Watch the webinar
Read more in University Business

Funding the Future: How Michigan’s Financial Aid Investments Stack Up in the Midwest

Despite a larger than average student population, Michigan spends less in total need-based financial aid than all other states in the Midwest. By investing in state relief funds, Michigan could rise to the top. See how Michigan’s financial aid investments stack up in a fact sheet.

Read the fact sheet

2021-22 Negotiated Rulemaking for Higher Education Comes to an End

Last month, negotiators serving on the Institutional and Programmatic Eligibility Committee convened for the third and final week-long work period as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking process. Committee members continued discussions on revised accountability regulations including the gainful employment rule, closing the 90/10 loophole, and strengthening financial responsibility and administrative capability for higher ed institutions. Consensus was reached for two out of seven issues: ability to benefit and closing the 90/10 loophole.

Read our recap of the final negreg work period

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