Leaders of the education committee of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday released a bipartisan proposed amendment that would make permanent $255 million in annual funding for historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions, simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and eliminate paperwork for income-driven student loan repayment plans.
The compromise amends an HBCU funding bill the U.S. House passed in September. It follows months of wrangling over a package of bills proposed by Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the education committee. Those bills would have served as a stripped-down version of a reauthorized Higher Education Act and included proposals for extending Pell Grant eligibility to short-term programs and incarcerated students.
FAFSA simplification was also part of that package, which was tied to the HBCU funding extension. In an apparent nod to Democrats, last month Alexander backed a bill aimed at for-profit colleges and their recruiting of veterans and active-duty service members.