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Ed Trust, NSLDN to Congress: “First Do No Harm” in Higher Ed Negotiations

Education Trust President and former U.S Education Secretary John B. King Jr. and NSLDN President Aaron Ament outline must-have student protections ahead of HEA negotiations

WASHINGTON -The National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) and the Education Trust issued a letter to Congressional leaders today outlining student protections that must be included in any Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The organizations ask members of Congress to pursue equitable policy change that serves the best interests of students who encounter systemic barriers in access, completion, and repayment of loans as part of their pursuit of higher education.

“There is an abundance of promising policy ideas being discussed in Congress to make college more affordable and accessible and to better tailor the higher education sector to America’s changing student body – a group that is increasingly made up of low-income students, students of color, working adults, and other new entrants to the higher education system,” wrote Education Trust President and former U.S. Secretary of Education John King and NSLDN President Aaron Ament. “We support many of those ideas. However, given the high stakes of this process and the increasingly diverse population of students pursuing postsecondary opportunities, Congress must approach any reauthorization with a commitment to first do no harm.”

Specifically, King and Ament outlined three accountability and enforcement provisions that they believe must be included any final legislation to protect the most vulnerable students:

  1. Closing the so-called “90/10” loophole and reinstating the 15 percent non-federal funds minimum for for-profit colleges;
  2. Codifying the Debt-to-Earnings metrics of the Gainful Employment regulations; and
  3.  Establishing private and state rights of action in the HEA, to empower individuals and states to hold bad actors accountable.

The full letter is available here.

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The National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that works, through litigation and advocacy, to advance students’ rights to educational opportunity and to ensure that higher education provides a launching point for economic mobility.

The Education Trust is an organization dedicated to closing long-standing gaps in opportunity and achievement that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers. Together, we ask members of Congress to pursue equitable policy change that acts in best interests of students who encounter systemic barriers in access, completion, and repayment of loans as part of their pursuit of higher education.