Federal Update for June 28
Late last week and earlier this week, there had been reports that Members in each chamber of Congress had independently agreed to attach a freeze to the scheduled increase in the interest rate on subsidized federal student loans to the surface transportation reauthorization bill. It now appears that negotiators from both chambers have agreed to the move. Provisions related to student loans are included in the conference report for H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act. Both houses could take up and pass the measure as early as tomorrow. A copy of the text of the bill scheduled for floor action is available here.
Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), the Ranking Member on the Veterans Affairs Committee, and Mike Enzi (R-WY), the Ranking Member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, sent a joint letter today to the secretaries of the Departments of Education, Defense, and Veterans Affairs that outlines a number of concerns related to Executive Order 13607 and the "Principles of Excellence" related to education benefits provided to service members and veterans.
The letter specifically addresses the request sent by the VA seeking assurances and commitments from institutions by June 30 that they intend to comply with the "principles." Although the higher education community fully supports the goal and intent of the principles, a number of questions have surfaced regarding many of the individual provisions in the document.
- Either delay or repeal the June 30 deadline;
- Respond to the questions raised by the broader higher education community, as outlined in a joint letter sent to the agencies on June 22;
- Spell out future actions that the agencies are considering with respect to the implementation of the executive order and the principles.
(APLU and the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributed to this report.)