Congress approved the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Wednesday, delivering on the White House's first major legislative priority. President Joe Biden signed the sweeping measure into law on Thursday, The Hill reported.
The Senate on Saturday passed the stimulus bill in a 50-49 vote, entirely along party lines, adding a number of education-related amendments. The House approved the updated measure on Wednesday in a 220-211 vote, with no Republican support.
The final relief plan includes $40 billion dedicated to higher education institutions, at least half of which must be spent on emergency financial aid grants to students, reported Inside Higher Ed.
A provision to tighten the 90/10 rule, which prohibits for-profit colleges from receiving more than 90 percent of their revenue from U.S. Education Department loans and grants, survived a last-minute attempt by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) to remove it from the bill. Democrats agreed to a compromise amendment that expands the 90 percent cap on for-profit colleges' funding to include all types of federal funding, including veterans' benefits, but delays the implementation of the restrictions. The bipartisan deal would require the Education Department to wait until October to begin a rulemaking process to carry out the new limits, which would not take effect until January 2023, according to Politico.
The final stimulus package also includes a new provision that prevents any type of student loan forgiveness over the next five years from resulting in a tax bill for the borrower, removing a potential barrier to the administration canceling student loan debt.
"This clears the way for President Biden to #CancelStudentDebt without burdening student borrowers with thousands of dollars in unexpected taxes," Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote on Twitter Sunday, Inside Higher Ed reported. Warren and other progressive Democrats in Congress have called on Biden to forgive $50,000 from the debt of each student loan borrower. However, the president has repeatedly expressed doubt that he has the executive authority to cancel large amounts of student loan debt. Instead, Biden said that he preferred to seek congressional approval to forgive at least $10,000 of debt per borrower, a campaign promise.
Inside Higher Ed
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