Following the recent midterm elections, it was apparent that there would be new challenges passing legislation due to the shift in Congressional leadership. Yesterday, The Associated Press published a story about the new difficulties arising from a divided Congress in passing education reform initiatives such as reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, revamping No Child Left Behind and in higher education, saving federal financial aid. See below for an excerpt from yesterday’s piece:
Although higher education is expected to take a backseat to K-12 policy during the next Congress, two significant issues loom: the fate of federal student aid programs and Democratic-led efforts to crack down on for-profit colleges.
The Pell Grant program, a lifeline for low- and middle-income families trying to afford college, has enjoyed bipartisan support over the years. But with Republicans running on a call to cut spending, federal grants and loans subsidizing higher education record could be on the table.
For-profit colleges are fighting a proposed Department of Education rule that would cut off federal aid to college vocational programs with high student-debt levels and poor loan repayment rates.
As leadership in Congress shifts, one thing remains certain: we cannot deny the merits of Pell Grants for students who need aid to attend college or the merits of for-profit colleges for those who seek to become career-ready during their higher education. I encourage members of Congress to explore the data on how their decisions will affect individual student populations before moving forward with any policy changes – each legislative decision will no doubt have a great impact on the educational future of thousands of deserving students.
Yesterday it was announced that Sallie Mae was “retreating” from the career loan market and would not accept any new applications after 12-31-10. This effectively removes the last major resource for private career education loans. Therefore any school losing its eligibility for title IV would not have the option of going to the private loan market as most other lenders have done the same already. Career education is becoming something only the rich can afford, something I can not get my head around.