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Much-Awaited Omnibus Spending Bill Finally Released


Nearly three months into the new fiscal year and after months of seemingly little-to-no negotiations,

Congressional leaders released the much-awaited FY2023 omnibus appropriations package late yesterday.  Coming in at more than 4,100 pages, it contains all 12 spending bills for FY2023.  The current short-term government funding measure expires at midnight Saturday and Congressional leaders are working to get the new measure passed before then.

The Office of Federal Relations is in the process of digging through the package and details will emerge throughout the process.  We will share new information contained in the bill along the way.  In the meantime, we wanted to highlight a few of the initial highlights from the bill below:

  • The Pell Grant maximum would increase by $500 and the new maximum would increase to $7,395 for the next academic year.
  • NIH would be funded at $47.5 billion, an increase of $2.5 billion.
  • ARPA-H would see a total of $1.5 billion, which is also authorized, an increased of $500 M. ARPA-H will be administratively within NIH, but the bill prohibits ARPA-H, including its headquarters, from being physically located on any part of the existing NIH campus, and it requires ARPA-H to have offices or facilities in not less than 3 geographic areas. Further, in determining the location of these offices or facilities, the director is required to make “fair and open consideration” of the characteristics of the intended location and the extent to which the location will facilitate the advancement of the goals and functions of the agency.
  • NSF would be funded at $9.87 billion for FY2023, with the appropriators acknowledging that expectations were set for the agency by the CHIPS and Science Act, passed earlier this year.
    • Of the funds allocated to NSF, approximately $7.8 M would be for the Research and Related Activities Account while $1.37 billion would be for the Education and Human Resources Account.
  • Within NASA, which would be funded at $25.4 billion, $7.8 billion would go to Science. Space Grant would be funded at $58 million.
  • NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would be funded at $661.3 million, which would include funding of $104 million for the cooperative institutes.
  • Base Sea Grant would be funded at $80 million while Sea Grant Aquaculture would see a funding level of $14 million.

With respect to a provision that applies to a host of programs across different departments and agencies, the bill would wave “PAYGO” rules, which would implement mandatory sequester cuts to various programs, for FY2023 and FY2024.

As we said above, we will continue to dig through the legislation and the accompanying reports.  Both are available on the Senate Appropriations Committee webpage here.


Student Loan Forgiveness Application Now Live

This week, President Biden announced the formal launch of the application for federal student loan relief which should take under 5 minutes to complete. To access the application, go to and click “Apply Now”. From there, you will need to fill out basic information including your name, birth date, social security number, phone number, and email address, but you will not need to attach any documentation. After filling out the personal information, you will have to acknowledge that you meet the income eligibility requirements and then you are ready to submit. The Education Department may reach out to you directly if they require any additional information. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for federal loan forgiveness as long as they meet the income requirements, and all applicants can expect to see the relief within 4-6 weeks of submitting the application form.

Details on the Student Loan Forgiveness Application, Set To Officially Launch This Month

The application for student loan forgiveness has not officially launched yet, but the Education Department recently released more details on the application, which should be available in October. The White House said it will not start canceling loans until after October 23rd due to legal challenges, but borrowers should expect to get the relief within four to six weeks of applying. It is recommended that borrowers fill out the application by November 15 to receive relief by January when the payment pause expires, which reduces the possibility of confusion or errors when payments begin again.

According to a preview of the application, applicants will need to fill in basic information including name, birth date, phone number, email address, and social security number and will not require any documentation. The application can be done on a desktop computer or a mobile phone and will be available in English or in Spanish. While it won’t require proof of income, borrowers will need to self-attest that they fall under the income threshold (see below).

The income threshold considers a person’s adjusted gross income (AGI) which can be found on line 11 of your federal tax return. To qualify for relief, a borrower’s AGI in 2020 or 2021 must have been:

  • under $125,000 for a single borrower or
  • under $250,000 for a married couple or heads of households

The Education Department said they will notify about 8 million people by email who will have their debt canceled automatically without having to apply because their income data is already filed: borrowers who filed a FAFSA for the 2022-2023 school year and borrowers who are enrolled in income-driven repayment programs. It is still recommended that all borrowers who qualify for forgiveness fill out the official application to avoid any errors.

Anyone who made payments on their federal student loans during the payment pause from March 13, 2020 to now is eligible to request a refund from their loan servicer. To request a refund, the Department of Education recommends contacting the borrower’s specific loan servicer and following their instructions.

The office will post when the applications go live. A preview of what the loan forgiveness application will look like on both a computer and mobile device can be found here and more information about student loan relief can be found here.

Biden Administration Releases Plan on Student Loan Forgiveness

After months of back and forth and anticipation, the Biden Administration finally released its loan cancellation plan today.

The centerpiece of the plan calls for the cancellation of $10,000 in student loan debt for single borrowers with an income of less than $125,000.  At the same time, it would allow those borrowers with an income of less than $125,000 who were also Pell Grant recipients during college to cancel $20,000 of student loan debt.

In addition, the current moratorium on student loan repayments would be extended through the end of this year, for the last time.  Loan repayments would restart in January of next year.

The Administration is also proposing to create a new income-driven repayment plan, one that would cap repayments at 5 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income (lowered from the current cap of 10 percent).  The plan calls for further changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan as well.

Furthermore, the Department of Education plans to publish a list of institutions that it views as saddling students with unreasonable debt levels and it would also require such institutions to provide improvement plans.

A press release about the Administration’s plan from the Department of Education is available here.

Many of the details will still need to be worked out.  

You can read further about the proposal here, here, and here.


Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Confirmed

Late last week, the Senate confirmed Nasser Paydar as Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.  He is the chancellor emeritus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and executive vice president at Indiana University.

A statement about his confirmation from Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is available here.