Higher Education Act Recommendations
Improve families’ understanding of federal student aid, other postsecondary education financing options, related costs, return on investment, and future career opportunities
- Reform financial aid notifications by prohibiting institutions from automatically packaging Parent PLUS loans and standardize all federal student aid terms used in the offers.
- Strengthen financial literacy by requiring tailored annual counseling for all students receiving federal student aid. Students should know their future monthly student loan payments, cumulated debt amounts, and projected monthly earnings based on intended career outcomes.
- Modify Preferred Lender List rules to give families information about nonprofit education loans that have terms and conditions competitive with the federal loan programs. Allow institutions to partner with state-based and nonprofit entities on financial counseling requirements and initiatives.
- Apply Truth in Lending Act disclosure requirements to federal student loans including the disclosure of annual percentage rates.
- Encourage families to save for college by increasing the income protection allowance and savings allowances in the Student Aid Index and removing education savings plan accounts from the index’s formula.
- Require financial aid officers to certify that private student loans meet the cost of attendance less other aid loan size limitations.
- Improve public access to program-level data about student completion, average indebtedness, and loan repayment rates at all Title IV participating institutions.
Promote equity by targeting financial support to disadvantaged families
- Strengthen the Pell Grant by committing to families with demonstrated need that their children will be eligible for Pell Grants if they pursue college after high school.
- Index the maximum Pell Grant award to inflation.
- Authorize a pilot program to allow students the option to increase the size of their Pell Grant award in exchange for decreasing their total number of Pell-eligible semesters.
- Forgive the Parent PLUS loans for parents whose child develops a total and permanent disability.
- Create stricter credit criteria to qualify for Parent PLUS loans and increase student loan limits for children whose parents fail to qualify for the new credit standard.
Develop a federal student aid environment that is transparent, flexible, user-friendly, and emphasizes skill development and lifelong learning
- Expand Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs and dually enrolled high school students.
- Streamline the student loan repayment system by offering one standard plan, one extended plan, and one income-driven repayment plan that features all the most generous terms of the current IDR plans. Phase-out the older repayment plans and allow borrowers to automatically recertify their income each year.