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The PROSPER Act: What People Are Saying

We got one large step closer to real, meaningful higher education reform last Friday with the introduction of HR 4508, the PROSPER Act. The PROSPER Act is the result of years of hearings, meetings, member discussions, and first-hand accounts shared with members of the Education and Workforce Committee.

The legislative process is an open, transparent, exchange—a conversation. With PROSPER, it’s just beginning. Here’s how that conversation has started:

  • “As the holiday season begins, all through the house, not a creature is stirring…except for college-bound high school seniors agonizing over their college application essays. So it is fitting that in Congress, the House Education and Workforce Committee has introduced the Prosper Act for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, which would make it easier and less confusing to choose and pay for college.
    “Overall, the House bill contains many good solutions, including streamlining student aid into one grant program and one loan program with reasonable limits.”
    Committee for Economic Development

  • “[The PROSPER Act] turns higher education into a market for programs and it breaks away the institution as the unit of value…[I]t will create transparency and give people choices; we’re going to have the information necessary to make markets work.”
    Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce

  • “The Foxx bill includes a number of proposals that UNCF has championed, including provisions to provide earlier information about student financial aid to secondary students; to reduce the complexity of federal student aid programs, which prevents millions of financially-needy students from accessing federal college assistance; to authorize extra Pell Grant funds to incentivize students to graduate in four years; to expand needed work-study opportunities for low-income students; and to streamline the current complicated maze of income-based loan repayment plans to help borrowers manage their student loan debt based on their income.”
    United Negro College Fund

  • “Reading the sections on campus sexual assault and due process together, it is clear that the Republican members of the Education and Workforce Committee are seeking to be mindful of the rights of victims of sexual assault and the accused alike. Although some victims’ rights advocates may disapprove of statutorily allowing institutions to set their burdens of proof, the bill undeniably includes provisions designed to prevent sexual assault and help victims get the help they need when it does occur.”
    FIRE

  • “Manufacturers have been outspoken and persistent in efforts to gain new tools and opportunities to address the skills gap. A forthcoming NAM survey ranks workforce as a top business challenge for manufacturers. We are pleased that Chairwoman Foxx understands these challenges and put manufacturers’ top priorities into action.”
    National Association of Manufacturers

  • “NASFAA applauds the committee on its proposals to incentivize on-time completion by providing an increase to the Pell Grant, which closely mirrors our own proposal. We support capping the total interest that can be accrued on a loan, eliminating loan origination fees, giving aid administrators the authority to limit borrower indebtedness in certain situations, consolidating and simplifying the myriad complex repayment plans, and proposing an increase in Federal Work-Study spending all while relaxing some of the programmatic restrictions that sometimes prevent schools and students from fully benefiting from that program.”
    National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

  • “Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) appreciates Chairwoman Foxx incorporating provisions into the legislation, which expand the permitted use of Title III funds to include expenditures such as concurrent enrollment programs, technology enhancements and innovative initiatives.” 
    Thurgood Marshall College Fund

  • “One of the strongest policy reforms in the PROSPER Act is the elimination of loan forgiveness. The Congressional Budget Office projected that loan forgiveness programs will cost American taxpayers $108 billion over the next 10 years. Ending this policy would come as welcome news to American workers, the majority of whom do not hold bachelor’s degrees and will currently have to pay this massive bill along with any new loan forgiveness…
    “…Importantly, this proposal would allow institutions of higher education to partner with new providers and allow students to take courses at those institutions using their federal aid. This would provide needed flexibility for students who may want a skills-based education...”
    The Daily Signal, Heritage Foundation

  • “We must encourage savings for college expenses. We should not discourage savings by penalizing those who do save when it comes to determining other support available. For this reason, we are proud to support the PROSPER Act, legislation that will enhance the treatment of 529 plans in the determination of federal financial aid. We thank Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), in moving it forward and for continuing Congress’ tradition of improving savings opportunities for post-secondary education through 529 college savings plans.”
    – College Savings Plans Network

  • “We are pleased that the bill includes many of the recommendations from the report of the bipartisan Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education. These steps will simplify and streamline federal mandates to help campuses reduce administrative costs and better serve students.”
    American Council on Education

  • “AccessLex is encouraged to see provisions in the bill that would enhance financial aid counseling and require borrowers to participate in counseling each year that he or she receives a federal loan. We believe strongly that students must have the necessary information to make the best financial decisions, and for some students the minimum counseling requirements are simply not enough. We have long supported changes to provide borrowers with more and better information, and we made similar recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education earlier this year.”
    AccessLex