H.R. 1777 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) on March 30, 2009. On March 30, 2009, the House passed the bill by a voice vote. Today, the House will consider H.R. 1777, as passed by the Senate.
H.R. 1777 makes numerous technical corrections to the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), including the following corrections:
- Clarifies that foreign nursing schools currently participating in the Title IV programs remain eligible under the pre-HEOA eligibility rules;
- Clarifies that programs should prepare teacher candidates graduating from an undergraduate teacher education program (rather than graduate students) to use modern information, communications and learning tools to help students in the classroom;
- Ensures that Howard University, which has its own appropriation through another Act, cannot also receive funds as a predominately black college or university;
- Moves the eligibility for an automatic zero estimated family contribution for certain students from the Pell Grant program to the Needs Analysis section of the law;
- Clarifies that guaranty agencies and lenders are permitted to do financial aid entrance counseling for students;
- Allows for one additional path towards loan rehabilitation for borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans but made the required nine on-time payments in ten consecutive months. Under current law, the actual rehabilitation does not take place until the loan is sold from the guaranty agency to the lender. This change will allow the Secretary to accept assignment of defaulted loans from guaranty agencies if the borrower has made enough payments to rehabilitate the loan.
- Clarifies the loan purchase authority enacted as part of H.R. 5715, the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act, to allow the Secretary to purchase loans that have previously been rehabilitated from lenders;
- Inserts the language that was deleted from the Pell Grant program regarding automatic zero eligibility for students whose parent or guardian died as a result of their military service in Iraq or Afghanistan;
- Ensures that veterans' educational benefits are not counted in determining a veteran's eligibility for federal financial aid beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year;
- Provides a one-year delay for the start of the PLUS loan auction. Under current law, the Department of Education is required to implement an auction to determine lenders eligible to make PLUS loans to schools participating in the Federal Family Education Loan program. Due to a number of factors, the Department does not believe they will receive enough bids to have a successful auction. Schools are currently trying to determine the financial aid packages for incoming students and need clarity about eligible lenders for PLUS loan.
The following changes were made to H.R. 1777 by the Senate:
- Clarifies that foreign nursing schools currently participating in the Title IV programs do not have to conform with the new eligibility rules implemented in the HEOA until July 1, 2012. (The House-passed bill exempted these schools from the new requirements.)
- Adjusts the teacher residency program definition to allow the participation of programs that provide a baccalaureate degree and master's degree within five years.
- Expands the policy listed above to any student, rather than just those that were Pell-eligible, who has had a military parent die as a result of their service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
- Extends the ability of institutions of higher education that have ongoing experimental site projects to continue with those projects for one additional year. Provides the Secretary with guidance on how to determine the success of these projects, which are geared towards reducing red tape in the delivery of federal student aid.
- Requires that a postsecondary program for students with intellectual disabilities must require students with intellectual disabilities to be integrated with non-disabled students to the maximum extent possible.