Federal Relations

January 30, 2015

Pell Grant Levels Announced

The Department of Education announced the maximum Pell grant levels for 2015-2016 today. The agency said the maximum award amount will be $5,775, which is an increase of $45 over the 2014-2015 award maximum. The amount is affected by the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which was incorporated as part of Public Law 111-152.

January 28, 2015

President Obama Drops Controversial 529 Plan

President Obama has officially dropped the proposal outlined in his recent State of the Union Address that would eliminate the tax advantage of 529 investment programs after facing severe push-back from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and parents across the country. Per the proposal, any money earned from future contributions to 529 college

January 20, 2015

State of The Union

Tonight at 9 pm Eastern, 6 pm Pacific, President Obama is scheduled to give his 6th State of the Union address to Congress. The White House has been previewing certain initiatives, such as two years of free community college and paid sick leave, in advance of the speech tonight. Tonight, however, the crux of his speech is

July 31, 2014

Senate Passes VA and Transportation Bill

The Senate has passed two key pieces of legislation clearing them for the President’s signature. The Senate has passed legislation overhauling the scandalized Department of Veterans Affairs, by a vote of  91-3. The House considered the measure earlier in the week. The measure contains provisions expanding Graduate Medical Education at VA Hospitals as well as

July 30, 2014

House Passes VA Conference Report

The conference report to accompany H.R. 3230 (reported earlier on the Federal Affairs Blog) was adopted by the House – 420 Yeas, 5 Nays. The Senate is expected to pass it later this week.

House Considers VA Conference Report

Both the House and Senate intend to bring to the floor this week a conference agreement to reform the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and increase transparency and services in the Department of Veterans Administration (VA). The House will be the first to consider, what has been a delicate and sometimes contentious agreement to create, the conference

July 25, 2014

Rep. Ryan Anti-Poverty Plan and Higher Education

On Thursday, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced what he is calling  a new anti-poverty plan that proposes sweeping changes to the safety net through a state-led pilot program. Announced at the the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Ryan’s plan calls for streamlining the student-aid system, capping federal loans to parents and graduate students, a database for tracking recipients of

July 24, 2014

House Passes Series of Student-focused Bills

The House considered a series of higher education bills this week designed to increase transparency and education for student in how to pay for college. On Wednesday, the House passed the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136) sponsored by Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO). The bill would: Promotes innovation in higher

June 30, 2014

Student Loan Interest Rates Rise

Annual student loan interest rates increase tomorrow, July 1st. This represents the first full year loan rates will be tied to the 10-year Treasury note under the deal struck by Congress last summer. Rates will rise from 3.86 to 4.66 percent for undergraduate Stafford loans, 5.41 to 6.21 percent for graduate Stafford loans and 6.41

June 26, 2014

House Ed and Workforce Introduce Multiple HEA-focused Bills

Today, the House Education and Workforce introduced several bills to reauthorize the HEA. Earlier this year, the House announced it would take a piecemeal approach to reauthorization rather than a single, large bill. The committee reiterated this strategy and outlined a number of principles that will guide its HEA reauthorization process in its white paper released earlier

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