On May 5, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing on student loans and their impact on workers. During the hearing, Congressional Democrats continued to call on President Biden to forgive $50,000 per borrower. While President Biden has ruled out the idea of forgiving $50,000 per borrower, he will make a final decision before the pause in student loan repayment expires on August 31.
This hearing comes on the heels of a recent listening tour by Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and other committee members on student loan debt, as well as a recent announcement by the Department of Education on its plan to fix the income-driven repayment forgiveness program. As mentioned in a previous Washington Insights and Highlights Newsletter, the Biden Administration announced its plans to fix the program and to address the issue of “forbearance-steering,” by requiring loan servicers to provide borrowers with clear and accurate information for staying out of delinquency, as well as the financial consequences of choosing short-term options of forbearance. The department will address forbearance steering by conducting a one-time account adjustment that will count forbearances of more than 12 months consecutive and more than 36 months cumulative toward forgiveness under IDR and Public Sector Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). For more detailed information about the department’s plans for fixing these loan programs, please read the press release.
FY2023 Appropriations: DOE-Office of Science Dear Colleague Letter
On April 29, 123 co-signers released a dear colleague letter in support of Fiscal Year 2023 funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. “As the nation’s primary sponsor of research in the physical sciences, the DOE Office of Science has built—and maintains—a unique collection of 28 large-scale, cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind user facilities relied upon by more than 36,000 researchers annually. Nearly half of these users are university faculty and students from all 50 states. Others come from U.S. industry, and many are conducting research for other key federal science agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Defense (DOD). Without these critical facilities, thousands of users would be forced to move their job-creating research activities overseas or terminate their research altogether.” The Energy Sciences Coalition, of which CGS is a member, sent a letter in March urging Congress to appropriate $8.8 billion in FY23 for the Office of Science.
80 Selected for DOE’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program
The Department of Energy’s Office of Science recently announced 80 graduate students for the Science Graduate Student Research Program (SCGSRP). “For decades, DOE has cultivated the expertise to meet the nation’s greatest scientific challenges. Now more than ever, we need to invest in a diverse, talented pipeline of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs who will be the future science and innovation leaders of this country,” said Under Secretary of Science and Innovation Geraldine Richmond. “I’m thrilled these outstanding students will help us tackle critical research at our labs, and I know their futures are bright.” Since 2014, the SCGSR program has provided more than 870 U.S. graduate awardees from 155 universities with supplemental funds to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist. Awards for the program can be found here.
Supplemental Funding at the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation issued a dear colleague letter encouraging requests for supplemental funding for the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program. The Division of Human Resource Development within NSF invites active alliance grantees to submit a supplemental funding request to support the research training of post-baccalaureate students. Requests for supplemental support for alliance partner institutions must be submitted through the lead alliance institution as a subaward. The overall goal of the Louis Stokes program is to assist universities and colleges in diversifying the nation’s STEM workforce by increasing the number of STEM baccalaureate and graduate degrees awarded to populations underrepresented in STEM disciplines. To receive full funding consideration for FY2022, requests should be submitted by May 31, 2022.
CGS recently released a policy brief on the importance of continuing to make robust investments at all federal research agencies and provide grant opportunities to support graduate education and research. This mission includes making advanced STEM education a financially sustainable choice for individuals from all backgrounds. Funding for the Louis Stokes program in FY2022 increased 4 percent from FY2021. President Biden’s FY2023 Presidential Budget Request proposes an additional $19 million for the program.
Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success Program Applications
The Department of Education issued a federal register notice this week inviting applications for the Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success Program. The purpose of this program is to encourage institutions of higher education to develop model programs to support veteran student success in postsecondary education by coordinating services to address the academic, financial, physical, and social needs of veteran students. Estimated available funds are $8.4 million with the estimated average size of awards being $525,000 for up to 36 months. Priority is given to projects that establish a center of excellence for veteran student success and development of a plan to sustain the center after the grant period.
National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality Request for Nominations
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is looking for seven new members to be on the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality. The agency is seeking individuals who: (1) are distinguished in the conduct of research, demonstration projects, and evaluations with respect to health care; (2) are distinguished in the fields of health care quality research or health care improvement; (3) are distinguished in the practice of medicine; (4) are distinguished in other health professions; (5) represent the private health care sector (including health plans, providers, and purchasers) or are distinguished as administrators of health care delivery systems; (6) are distinguished in the fields of health care economics, information systems, law, ethics, business, or public policy; and (7) represent the interests of patients and consumers of health care. The council provides advice and recommendations to the agency’s director and to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on priorities for a national health services research agenda. Nominations should be sent by email to Jaime Zimmerman at NationalAdvisoryCouncil@ahrq.hhs.gov.