House Republicans release plan to overhaul student loans


A sweeping House bill introduced Thursday would cap how much students can borrow for higher education and put colleges and universities on the hook for unpaid loans.

Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican and sponsor of the College Cost Reduction Act, said the bill is aimed at making college more affordable for students and families, with changes to the student loan system and new incentives for colleges to cap their costs.

“Democrats and Republicans agree that student loan debt in America has reached astronomical levels—the pursuits of students in postsecondary education have been undercut as a direct result,” Foxx said in a statement. “Without question, the root cause of this problem is the inflated cost of obtaining a college degree, and there’s considerable room for reforms. The College Cost Reduction Act is the vehicle through which much-needed accountability, transparency, and affordability measures can be both realized and implemented to the benefit of students and their families.”

The bill is the latest in a series of measures that Foxx and other House Republicans are proposing to reform the Higher Education Act of 1965, which hasn’t been reauthorized in more than a decade.

The wide-ranging, 224-page College Cost Reduction Act incorporates several related bills introduced in the past year, some of which have bipartisan backing. That includes the Pell Plus Act of 2023, which would double the maximum Pell Grant award for juniors and seniors who are on track to graduate on time and are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs considered to provide a high return on investment.

For institutions to access that enhanced Pell Grant and a new performance-based grant program, they would have to give students the up-front total cost of an entire degree program and guarantee that that amount won’t change, according to a bill summary.

The legislation calls for accrediting agencies to focus on student outcomes in their reviews of higher education institutions and creates a pathway for new accreditors to receive federal recognition, among other changes.

The bill also would roll back a number of regulations, including the Biden administration’s new gainful-employment rule, and restrict the Education Department’s authority to issue new rules on the topic.  



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