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… Read More


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… Read More


House Passes Black-Davis Student and Family Tax Simplification Act

The House passed H.R. 3393, the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act (Black-Davis), by a vote of 227-187 yesterday. The bill combines four education tax benefits into a new, permanent American Opportunity Tax Credit. The higher education community has raised concerns about how the bill impacts nontraditional and graduate students. These concerns were echoed in… Read More


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… Read More


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… Read More


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… Read More


Higher Ed Legislation Advances

Today Senate HELP Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) will introduce his plan to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The Higher Education Affordability Act focuses on four goals: Increasing college affordability, helping struggling borrowers, strengthening accountability, and improving transparency. These goals will be achieved through 21 action points, including tightening for-profit regulations, better accountability metrics for colleges… Read More


Obama Aims to Ease Student Debt

President Obama announced today a new executive order aimed at easing student borrowers’ debt loads by capping repayments at 10 percent of their monthly income. Obama also made student loans the focus of his weekly address on Saturday, saying he’d be taking action this week. The executive order will expand on a 2010 law, the Bipartisan Student… Read More


The Week Ahead

This week lawmakers continue to debate FY2015 appropriations, student loans, and VA reform. Tonight, the House will vote on S. 1254, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013. The bill would authorize $20.5 million annually through 2018 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reduce the effects of… Read More