James Kvaal Tapped to Lead TICAS, House Republicans Seek to Eliminate $65 Billion in Higher Ed Tax Benefits | Other News

James Kvaal Named New President of the Institute for College Access & Success
Pell Grants for Short-Term Programs: The Rationale and the Risks
House Republicans Propose Eliminating $65 Billion in Higher Ed Tax Benefits
Education Department Sitting on Over 87,000 Applications for Loan Relief from Cheated Students but Has Not Approved a Single One
States Engage in Robust Legal Challenge to Defend Students and Taxpayer Protections Gutted by the Education Department
Long-time TICAS Executive Vice President Pauline Abernathy Says Goodbye
#GivingTuesday is Coming Soon

 

James Kvaal Named New President of the Institute for College Access & Success

TICAS is pleased to announce that, following a national search, James Kvaal has been selected as our new president. James has worked on federal higher education policy for more than two decades at the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. In the Obama Administration, he led work to help more students graduate from college, invest in community colleges, allow students to repay loans as a share of income, and protect students and taxpayers from career colleges producing unaffordable debts. We are very excited to have James join our team, and he will assume his new role on January 2, 2018.

Read the press release


Pell Grants for Short-Term Programs: The Rationale and the Risks

While some workforce and education advocates recommend expanding Pell Grants to cover instructional programs shorter than 15 weeks, questions remain about whether and how to do so. Current Pell Grant eligibility rules were put in place to protect students and taxpayers from abuse: these and other concerns must be carefully considered and addressed before relaxing Pell eligibility rules.  

Our new two-pager briefly describes short-term programs and what we know about their pay-off for students, and poses critical questions for advocates and policymakers considering the merits of loosening Pell Grants standards for these programs.

Read the two-pager


House Republicans Propose Eliminating $65 Billion in Higher Ed Tax Benefits

House Republicans’ highly anticipated proposal to significantly reform U.S. tax policy slashes $65 billion worth of higher education related tax benefits to help offset non-education related tax cuts. Changes include the elimination of the popular $2,500 Student Loan Interest Deduction (SLID) as well as the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). The bill would also start treating graduate student tuition waivers and employer-provided education assistance as taxable income. In stark contrast, the Senate’s tax bill leaves these benefits untouched.

Alongside these large cuts to higher education tax benefits, the House bill adds a partial (50%) benefit for a fifth year of undergraduate study to the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), and includes a provision that would stop the current practice of taxing borrowers on debt forgiven due to total and permanent disability or death. The bill would leave in place the taxation of debt forgiven for borrowers who have made 20 or 25 years of income-based payments. It is imperative that Congress eliminate taxation for all forgiven student debt.

Next, the House and Senate must each pass their respective bills and then work together to craft a final bill that resolves any differences. We will continue to monitor this process closely and weigh in where students and their families may be harmed.

Read TICAS’ recommendations to improve higher education tax benefits and read coverage of the Republican tax plan in The Associated PressMarketWatch, and Consumer Reports.


Education Department Sitting on Over 87,000 Applications for Loan Relief from Cheated Students but Has Not Approved a Single One

In late October, the Washington Post reported that the Department had over 87,000 pending borrower defense applications from mistreated federal student loan borrowers: not a single application has been approved since January.  The Department has said that it has granted relief only to applicants who applied and received approvals under the last administration. Reports also show that the Department is considering how to provide partial relief to defrauded borrowers, which experts called unjustified and unfair.

 

States Engage in Robust Legal Challenge to Defend Students and Taxpayer Protections Gutted by the Education Department

State attorneys general from nearly 20 states have filed legal challenges to compel the Department of Education to follow the law. They rightly argue that the gainful employment and borrower defense rules must be implemented and enforced until new regulations are finalized and in effect. The Department initiated the process of rewriting both rules through negotiated rulemaking, which has begun with doubled representation from representatives of the for-profit college industry.


Long-time TICAS Executive Vice President Pauline Abernathy Says Goodbye

Long-time executive vice president Pauline Abernathy left TICAS to join Benefits Data Trust (BDT) as their chief strategy officer. Pauline’s contributions to TICAS and the entire federal policy and higher education landscape during her eight year tenure are incalculable. TICAS is often described as ‘relentless’ in our pursuit of what is best for students and Pauline personified that trait through and through. She will be greatly missed. We wish her well in her new role in which we are certain she will continue to accomplish great things.
 

#GivingTuesday is Coming Soon

TICAS is excited to once again participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, on November 28. Help make a difference for low-income students and struggling borrowers by giving to TICAS – on Giving Tuesday or today! 

For more information, visit ticas.org/givingtuesday