Federal Relations

Student Aid


January 9, 2015

White House Proposes Two Years of Free Community College

In advance of his State of the Union address, President Obama is traveling to Tennessee today to announce one of his keystones of his 2015 agenda: two free years of community college.  The proposal, called America’s College Promise, is based on Republican Governor Bill Haslam, who developed and launched Tennessee Promise, which begins this year. Tennessee Promise allows any…


December 10, 2014

FY15 Appropriations Released

Last night, House and Senate Appropriators unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending package that is a combination of all but one of the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) appropriations bills rolled into an omnibus for the remainder for FY15, plus a continuing resolution (CR) funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 2015. The FY15 appropriations package, dubbed…


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 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…


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 25, 2014

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…


June 11, 2014

Student Loan Bill Fails in Senate

The Senate failed to invoke cloture this morning and will not move forward on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) bill to refinance student debt. The Senate voted of 56-38, which is less than the 2/3rds required to move forward.


June 9, 2014

Cloture Filed on Student Loan Bill

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)  filed a cloture motion on proceeding to the student loan bill (S 2432) that would allow borrowers to refinance their old student loans at the current lower interest rates. The cloture vote would occur on Wednesday. Cloture, under the Senate rules, ends debate on the bill and allows for final…


Senate VA Reform Agreement Includes In-State Tuition Provisions

Late last week, Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ) announced a deal to salvage sought-after Veterans Administration reform in the wake of the on-going VA scandal. The legislation would allow for the reform the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand veterans’ access to health care and make it easier to fire VA officials for misconduct….



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