Veterans “85/15” legislation —
Despite the partisanship in Washington, we did see bipartisan legislation (H. R. 8198 /S. 4458) pass both houses and sent to the president that relieves many campuses of reporting paperwork regarding veterans.
There is a Veterans Administration regulation that ensures at least 15 percent of students in a major pay for the program using benefits other than the GI Bill. This was intended to keep colleges from enrolling an abundance of veterans just to get access to their GI Bill benefits. However, if less than 35 percent of a campus’s students were veterans they did not have to go through the reporting of percentages of veterans in programs.
Last summer the Veterans Administration “reset” the policy, requiring institutions with fewer than 35% to calculate, maintain or submit “85/15” reports. It also expanded the definition of what was to be included as a veterans benefit, resulting in far more programs failing the 85/15 requirement, as well as freezing out veterans from programs so as to stay within the 85 percent requirement.
Once the president signs the bill the 85/15 rule once again will not apply to institutions with a veteran student population comprising less than 35 percent of its total student enrollment.
This may not be the most exciting piece of legislation, but it does relieve SCICU member institutions of a significant regulatory burden, it helps veterans and, in the current political atmosphere, it’s nice to report on a bit of bipartisanship.
Student Loan Debt —
The big question: will the “pause” on student loan repayment be extended?
Currently, the pause that’s been in place for most of the pandemic expires on September 1 of this year, and impacts about 40 million student loan holders.
We’re also waiting to see if the Biden Administration cancels student debt outright.
Then there’s the matter of the future of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. In 2020 and again in 2021 the program was expanded to include borrowers with different federal student loan types, such as Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Perkins loans, and those on income-driven repayment plans, currently can seek loan forgiveness – 3.5 million federal student loan borrowers who work in public service careers, including teachers, government workers, first responders and firefighters, could qualify for student loan cancellation.
Unless the president acts, the current terms of the program expire in two months on October 31.