December 31, 2017

Higher Education Act/PSLF

The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill Dec. 12 that, in addition to making substantial changes to federal student loan programs, would eliminate the ABA-supported Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. PSLF, established in 2007, forgives student loans for individuals who work in a wide range of public service jobs, including jobs in government and non-profit charitable organizations. Program participants include prosecutors, public defenders and legal aid lawyers, who are eligible for forgiveness of remaining debt after 10 years of eligible employment and 120 qualified loan payments. H.R. 4508 − known as the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act − was introduced Dec. 1 by committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who said it is time “to get serious about simplifying and improving student aid.” During the 13-hour markup of the bill, committee members considered more than 60 amendments and rejected, by a close 20-19 vote, an amendment proposed by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) that would have preserved PSLF and extended eligibility for the program to farmers. H.R. 4508 has not yet been scheduled for House floor action. Meanwhile, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s version of HEA reauthorization is expected to be unveiled early next year.