On February 8, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held its first hearing of the 118th Congress. The title of the hearing was American Education in Crisis. In her opening statement, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) made the following comment about higher education: “As the institution that holds the power of the purse, we have a responsibility to protect the interests of taxpayers and ensure that students are receiving a high-quality education that enables them to repay their loans and be career ready. Republicans plan to pass commonsense legislation that fixes the inherent problems in our federal student loan and accountability systems to protect both borrowers and taxpayers.” In his opening statement, Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) mentioned reintroducing legislation from the 117th Congress that will help every student reach their potential, including the Lowering Obstacles to Achievement Now (LOAN) Act. The LOAN Act proposes significant investments in graduate education, such as increasing Pell Grant eligibility from 12 semesters to 18 semesters and allows students completing a graduate degree to use any remaining Pell eligibility from their undergraduate studies, provides graduate students attending public and non-profit institutions with access to subsidized loans, and repeals origination fees for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans. CGS supported this legislation in the last Congress and will do so again, should it be introduced during the 118th Congress.
During the hearing, Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Lisa McClain (R-MI) both mentioned the need to limit the amount of Grad PLUS loans distributed to students.