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Prepared by: Wes Huffman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development convened a hearing, “Improving Federal Student Aid to Better Meet the Needs of Students.” It was the subcommittee’s first hearing of the year and the first of what is expected to be several in advance of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
The fate of the Perkins Loans and the Campus-Based Aid Programs was discussed often, with many Democrats pushing back on efforts to simplify or streamline the aid programs by cutting Campus-Based Aid. Republicans never really gave a full-throated endorsement to “one grant/one loan” but they did ask many questions about the concept and indicated their strong support for simplification.
Notably, the two working financial aid administrators among the witnesses were the two most vocal supporters for the Campus-Based Aid. Yolanda Copeland-Morgan, Vice President of Enrollment Management at UCLA and a longtime aid administrator, voiced strong support for Perkins Loans in her testimony and in response to multiple questions. As her institutions do not have Perkins, JoEllen Soucier, Executive Director of Financial Aid for the Houston Community College System, never specifically mentioned Perkins Loans. However, her testimony did note the flexibility offered to institutions and students by the Campus-Based Program. Soucier also said a simplification model should hold to a “one grant/one loan/one campus-based” structure.
Beyond Perkins and Campus-Based, the hearing addressed the programs from a very broad perspective, but at times, would get into the minutiae of the programs. For instance, one of the first questions dove into R2T4 issues.
A full summary is included as a special attachment with this COHEAO Spark.
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