Education Dept. Seeks Input on Income-Based Repayment

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday announced plans to establish a negotiated rulemaking panel charged with writing new regulations to expand the income-based student loan repayment program.

According to its notice published in Wednesday's Federal Register, the agency will host two public hearings on the plan this fall – one in Washington, D.C. and one in Anaheim, CA – ahead of the rulemaking sessions scheduled for February 2015. Department officials also said they would accept comments, written and in person, about "additional issues that should be considered for action by the negotiating committee."

President Obama announced plans in June to extend the Pay as You Earn benefit to people with older loans. At the same time, the White House said it would renegotiate its contracts with federal student loan servicers, a step it completed last week.

Consumer and student advocates have praised the plan, which will allow an additional 5 million existing student loan borrowers to cap their monthly loan payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income and to have any remaining loan debt forgiven after 20 years, Inside Higher Ed reported. Congressional Republicans have criticized the expansion of the program as a political stunt and its potential cost to taxpayers, which the Obama administration has not publicly identified. Critics also questioned the administration's legal authority to make the changes on its own without Congressional approval.


Related Links

Federal Register

Inside Higher Ed