Summary: H.R.4674 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House (12/28/2020)

College Affordability Act

This bill reauthorizes and revises the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) and addresses additional issues related to higher education, including to revise federal student financial aid programs, consolidate federal student loans and expand loan forgiveness, increase college access and success for certain students, and revise accountability measures.

Specifically, the bill revises financial aid programs, including to increase the maximum federal Pell Grant award, provide incentives for states to fund public institutions of higher education (IHEs), increase and make permanent funding for minority-serving IHEs, expand the availability of financial aid to postsecondary students, and extend eligibility for student aid to certain noncitizen students.

The bill also revises federal student loan programs, including to replace existing student loan repayment plans with one income-based repayment plan and one fixed repayment plan, allow existing borrowers to lower their payments by switching to the new plans, expand public service loan forgiveness programs (e.g., TEACH grants), and create appeal processes for denied applications for loan forgiveness.

In addition, the bill increases college access and success for certain students (e.g., students with low-income, children, or disabilities) through investments and practices, such as student support services and accelerated learning opportunities.

The bill establishes consumer information requirements for prospective students. Further, it revises accountability measures for IHEs (including for-profit IHEs), job training programs, college accrediting agencies, and lenders. In particular, the bill updates the performance goals of the Office of Federal Student Aid and requires the Department of Education (ED) to be responsible for the oversight of the office.

Finally, the bill prohibits ED from issuing or enforcing certain rules that weaken the enforcement of the prohibition of sex discrimination applicable under title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.