News outlets are reporting that the House GOP has drafted legislation that could reshape the entire federal student loan system.
The bill is called the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform Act,” or the “PROSPER Act.” The full text of the proposed bill has not yet been released, but an outline of the proposal was released to the media. Here’s what we know (and what we don’t know):
- The bill would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, the media reports that current borrowers in repayment would effectively be grandfathered in (note that this has been updated from the original post).
- The bill would make substantial rollbacks to income-driven repayment programs like Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay as You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) – however, current borrowers would be grandfathered in to the current programs (note that this has been updated from the original post).
- The bill would reduce the amount of federal student loans that can be disbursed to students and parents. What are those caps, and how would that impact current or soon-to-be students and their families? No details yet.
- The Gainful Employment Rule – which requires that schools have a certain percentage of students who graduate with a decent job in order to maintain access to federal aid funds – would be repealed.
As you can see, there’s a lot to be concerned about, but also a lot that we still don’t know. This bill is also nowhere near passage – it’s in the very early stages of the legislative process. Changes will likely be made to the bill (which could be good or bad). The bill will then have to be voted out of Committee, sent to the full House for a vote, and then to the Senate for a vote. The Senate may also come up with its own version of the bill, which could be much different from the House’s version. Modifications can be made at many points along the way.
So what’s the bottom line? There are a ton of unknowns, and this is nowhere near a done deal yet. But it’s time to be vigilant. Stay tuned.
Sources: The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal.
Note: This is a developing story. Check back for updates or subsequent articles that may have additional information.