WASHINGTON (March 27, 2020) — Julie Peller, Executive Director of Higher Learning Advocates, made the following statement in response to the higher education provisions of the coronavirus response package that was passed by Congress today.
“Higher Learning Advocates commends Congress for the passage of the CARES Act, which includes several higher education provisions that will greatly improve the experiences of today’s students in light of this national crisis. Many of these provisions were outlined in a letter sent to Congress last week from Higher Learning Advocates and 51 cosigning organizations, and we are pleased to see their inclusion in this bipartisan legislation.
Specifically, we applaud the inclusion of the allowable use of Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and additional funds for emergency aid to assist students impacted by college closures or restrictions, the continuation of Federal Work Study payments for those who are unable to fulfill their work study obligations, and the exclusion of any semester a student is unable to complete during this period from their Pell Grant lifetime eligibility usage and federal loan limits. The package also includes Satisfactory Academic Progress flexibility, which would ensure that students do not lose academic standing and the ability to receive federal student aid.
Higher Learning Advocates has long recommended that Congress provide today’s students with Satisfactory Academic Progress flexibility and support for emergency aid. We are glad that these were included in this package, and continue to support permanent measures to ensure the postsecondary success of today’s students.
Additionally, we are glad to see the inclusion of debt relief for federal student loan borrowers, including the suspension of payments due through September 30, 2020, as well as the suspension of involuntary collection. And we are pleased that financial resources will be directed to the U.S. Department of Education and to states to support their postsecondary institutions and today’s students.
This bipartisan legislation shows a prioritization of the needs of today’s students during this national emergency and we look forward to the enactment and implementation of the CARES Act to support today’s students during this time.”
Higher Learning Advocates is a bipartisan non-profit organization that advocates for solutions to break down systemic barriers and support the success of today’s students in their pursuit of education and skills development beyond high school. We advance federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve student outcomes.