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House, Senate Panels Look to Simplify Federal Student Aid

November 15, 2013—The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Nov. 13 and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Nov. 14 held similar hearings on simplifying federal student aid.  Both hearings are expected to serve as precursors to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) next year.

The hearings touched on several reform proposals including the “one grant, one loan, one tax credit” concept; reducing the length of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and tying it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); consolidating and automatically enrolling graduates in income-based repayment plans; improving student access to and understanding of student aid award letters/data; and reducing the federal regulatory burden on institutional financial aid offices.

The House hearing featured the following witnesses:

  • Kristin Conklin, founding partner at HCM Strategies, LLC;
  • Sandy Baum, Ph.D., a research professor of education policy at the George Washington University;
  • Jennifer Mishroy, J.D., deputy director at Young Invincibles; and
  • Jason Delisle, director of The New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project.

The Senate hearing also featured Ms. Conklin, as well as:

  • Bridget Terry Long, Ph.D., academic dean and Xander Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education;
  • Kim Cook, executive director, National College Access Network; and
  • Judith Scott-Clayton, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics and education, Columbia University. 

While some members expressed concern about unintended consequences, the tone of both hearings was marked by general support for the goals of the proposed reforms.


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806