Legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law
Bipartisan legislation will permanently fund HBCUs and minority serving institutions, after funding lapsed at the end of September
Legislation amends Senator Jones’ FUTURE Act to include FAFSA Act, legislation that would simplify FAFSA and streamline income-driven repayment
Senator Murray: “I’m very hopeful we can build on this bipartisan progress we’ve seen so far as we continue working to reauthorize the Higher Education Act in a comprehensive way.”
Washington D.C.— Following passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, today, the Senate passed a bipartisan deal led by Senator Education Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Richard Burr (R-NC) to permanently fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs). The legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The bill, which amended Senator Jones’ FUTURE Act, also includes the FAFSA Act, a bill that will simplify and streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 20 million American families by eliminating duplicative paperwork between the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Education. The FAFSA Act will also help nearly 8 million borrowers in income-driven repayment plans seamlessly stay in their plans each year without needing to go through complicated annual recertification.
“While this funding should never have lapsed in the first place, I’m glad that we were able to reach a deal that provides minority-serving institutions with the certainty of funding they deserve—and I truly appreciate the work done on both sides of the aisle to get us to this point,” Senator Murray said. “By permanently extending funding for these valuable institutions and streamlining our student aid system, this deal is a win-win. Now, I look forward to continuing to work with my Republican colleagues on efforts to overhaul the Higher Education Act in a comprehensive, bipartisan way that does right by all students.”
Led by Senator Jones, Senate Democrats have been fighting for months to secure funding for the HBCUs and MSIs by calling for passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would extend funding for HBCUs and MSIs for two years. Following months of Republican opposition, last week, Senate education leaders reached a bipartisan deal to permanently extend funding for these critical universities with the savings from the FAFSA Act, legislation which passed the Senate unanimously last year. This bill would create the first and only permanent funding outside of Pell Grants and student loans—to support students and colleges. Today, the House passed an amended version of the bill, which unanimously passed the Senate hours later, sending the final bill to the President’s desk.
“I’m also pleased this legislation streamlines federal student aid for more than 20 million students applying on the FAFSA, and nearly 8 million borrowers,” said Senator Murray in her remarks. “Our nation’s outdated and overly complicated financial aid system is forcing students and student loan borrowers to jump through too many hoops to access federal financial aid, verify the tax returns they’ve already filled out, and to get help if they’re struggling to pay their student loans.”