AAU joined ACE and 21 other higher education associations in submitting comments in response to the Department of Education’s proposed changes to the major student loan relief programs authorized by the Higher Education Act. The proposed changes would protect borrowers who are unable to repay their loans because of disability or predatory institutional practices. They would also alleviate debt burdens for those who qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and protect borrowers from interest capitalization.
The letter states that the associations are “broadly supportive” of the proposed changes, which “would significantly expand the availability of, and eligibility for, existing benefits to borrowers,” and are offering comments to ensure that the changes “work as intended and provide fair treatment for all involved parties.” The comments primarily focus on changes to the PSLF program, borrower defense to repayment, and closed school discharge provisions. The letter also outlines the need for “legislative action to comprehensively address federal student loan repayment” to avoid confusion and the possibility of policy reversals at the hands of subsequent administrations. “We understand the Department, in lieu of congressional action, is using the tools at its disposal, but borrowers would benefit most from a revamped student lending and repayment system that looks at all pieces holistically,” the letter notes.