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Prabhakar Confirmed as OSTP Director

By a vote of 56 – 40, the Senate confirmed yesterday the nomination of Arati Prabhakar as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She had cleared the committee process earlier this year and had been waiting for a vote by the full Senate. She was nominated to fill the role after Eric Lander resigned the from the OSTP earlier this year.

Read more about her nomination 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.

 

Fauci to Retire in December

Dr. Anthony Fauci has announced that he will retire in December.  He is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has served in that role for 38 years.  He has also been serving as the chief medical adviser to President Biden.  While he has long been known to the biomedical research community, he has become a bigger public figure during COVID pandemic.

Read more about him and his decision here, here, and here.

Biden Signs Reconciliation Bill

Last Tuesday, President Biden signed into law H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act.  Though smaller than the original plans for a reconciliation package, both the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats are touting the measure as a major accomplishment.

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.