On Saturday, House Democrats approved their sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, sending the measure to the Senate, The Washington Post reported. The legislation, President Biden's first major agenda item, passed 219-212, without any Republican support.
The measure would provide $40 billion in aid to higher education institutions and students during the pandemic and includes 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, reported Inside Higher Ed. Currently, military and veterans' education benefits do not count toward that threshold despite being federal aid. The House-approved measure would expand the 90 percent cap on for-profit colleges' funding to include all types of federal funding, including veterans' benefits.
The Senate is now considering the legislation and will begin to vote on the package today. Senate Republicans objected to the bill's proposed changes to the 90/10 rule, reported Politico. On Monday, the Senate parliamentarian found that the provision complies with the special rules of budget reconciliation, the fast-track process Democrats are using to pass the COVID relief bill without the need to win GOP votes. The ruling clears the way for Senate Democrats to include the 90/10 rule change, however it is not yet clear whether the provision will make it in the final bill, according to Politico.
Ahead of both votes, AACRAO, along with over 50 other higher education organizations, sent letters to House and Senate leaders expressing strong support for the budget reconciliation package and urging lawmakers to pass the measure as quickly as possible.
"We are particularly appreciative that nearly $40 billion is included in the legislation for students and institutions. While this amount falls short of our most recent estimate of at least $97 billion in student and institutional needs (and is far less than the $183 billion identified in a recent independent estimate), it represents the largest federal effort so far to address the crippling impact of the pandemic on colleges and universities," the groups stated.
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Letter to House Leaders in Support of the COVID Relief Reconciliation Package
Letter to Senate Leaders in Support of the COVID Relief Reconciliation Package