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Senate Passes Smaller Higher Education Package

December 5, 2019

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Brett Roude, Legislative Analyst
Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

The Senate Dec. 5 passed under unanimous consent the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act (FUTURE, H.R. 2486). Prior to consideration of the legislation, the bill was amended to reflect provisions that were included in the Student Aid Improvement Act (S. 2557), which Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced earlier this year [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 4].

As amended, the FUTURE Act would provide $255 million in permanent, annual mandatory funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). To pay for the funding, the bill also includes language to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to 22 questions and allows for direct data sharing between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Education (ED).

Direct data sharing between the IRS and ED would streamline enrollment in and renewal of income-driven repayment (IDR) plans for borrowers by removing the need for students to self-certify their income to prove eligibility for federal IDR plans. 

The amended FUTURE Act will now be reconsidered by the House before the 2020-2021 Academic Year.

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