House Committee Passes Student Loan Bill The Education and Labor Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives considered and passed H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which reorganizes the entire student loan industry. The legislation states that all student borrowers must get direct loans from the U.S. Department of Education rather ... Policy Analysis
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Policy Analysis  |   September 01, 2009
House Committee Passes Student Loan Bill
Author Notes
  • Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, can be reached at nsnyder@asha.org or 800-498-2071 ext. 5614.
    Neil Snyder, director of federal advocacy, can be reached at nsnyder@asha.org or 800-498-2071 ext. 5614.×
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Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis   |   September 01, 2009
House Committee Passes Student Loan Bill
The ASHA Leader, September 2009, Vol. 14, 1-6. doi:10.1044/leader.PA1.14112009.1
The ASHA Leader, September 2009, Vol. 14, 1-6. doi:10.1044/leader.PA1.14112009.1
The Education and Labor Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives considered and passed H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, which reorganizes the entire student loan industry.
The legislation states that all student borrowers must get direct loans from the U.S. Department of Education rather than from other private industry lenders, such as Sallie Mae, Wachovia, or local banks. The bill would eliminate federally subsidized and guaranteed private-sector loans—about 60% of all student loans—at a savings estimated at $100 billion over 10 years.
These savings would be redirected to other programs, including Pell Grants for students meeting income eligibility requirements.
Lawmakers are at odds over whether or not the bill will benefit students seeking college loans and grants. According to a statement from George Miller (D-Calif.), Education and Labor chair, “The legislation…will generate almost $100 billion in savings over the next 10 years that will be used to boost Pell Grant scholarships, keep interest rates on federal loans affordable, create a more reliable and effective financial aid system for families, and enact President Obama’s key education priorities.”
However, a press statement from Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), ranking minority member of the committee, maintains that “The Democrats’ legislation, H.R. 3221, abolishes the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and redirects tens of billions in government savings and earnings toward new entitlement programs that do not directly benefit low-income students’ pursuit of higher education.”
Noise Reduction
Of particular interest to ASHA members is a provision in the bill that would direct $5 billion in estimated loan program savings to fund the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (Section 345). This act has already been passed—but not funded—by the Education and Labor Committee and the House of Representatives. This “green schools” act would allow states and school districts to use federal funds to reduce or eliminate exposure to classroom and environmental noise and would also encourage the use and compliance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved Standard S12.6–2002, Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools.
The legislation passed the committee along party lines by a vote of 30–17, with two Republicans voting in favor of the bill. It will now go to the full House, which will not consider it until after its August recess. It will not be considered by the Senate until later in the fall.
In a separate but related issue, Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) offered—but withdrew—an amendment that would have provided automatic funding for a federal student loan forgiveness program that includes school-based speech-language pathologists and audiologists. This program has been authorized, but not funded. Rep. Tierney agreed to work with Rep. Miller to request funding for the program through the regular appropriations process.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
September 2009
Volume 14, Issue 11