FASTER ACCESS TO FEDERAL STUDENT AID ACT OF 2018; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 200
(Senate - December 19, 2018)

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[Pages S7946-S7947]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




            FASTER ACCESS TO FEDERAL STUDENT AID ACT OF 2018

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Committee on Finance be discharged from further consideration of S. 
3611 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 3611) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 
     and the Higher Education Act of 1965 to facilitate the 
     disclosure of tax return information to carry out the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.

  There being no objection, the committee was discharged, and the 
Senate proceeded to consider the bill.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read 
a third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered 
made and laid upon the table.


 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  
  On page S7946, December 19, 2018, in the second column, the 
following appears: Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Committee on Finance be discharged from further 
consideration of S. 3611 and the Senate proceed to its immediate 
consideration. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the 
bill by title. The legislative clerk read as follows: A bill (S. 
3611) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Higher 
Education Act of 1965 to facilitate the disclosure of taxreturn 
information to carry out the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for 
other purposes. There being no objection, the committeewas 
discharged, and the Senate proceeded to consider the bill. Mr. 
DAINES. I ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a 
. . .
  
  The online Record has been corrected to read: Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. 
President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Finance 
be discharged from further consideration of S. 3611 and the Senate 
proceed to its immediate consideration. The PRESIDING OFFICER. 
Theclerk will report the bill by title. The legislative clerk read 
as follows: A bill (S. 3611) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 
1986 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 to facilitate the 
disclosure of tax return information to carry out the Higher 
Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes. There being no 
objection, the committee was discharged, and the Senate proceeded 
to consider the bill. Mr. BOOZMAN. I ask unanimous consent that 
the bill be considered read a . . .


 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The bill (S. 3611) was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, 
was read the third time, and passed, as follows:

                                S. 3611

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Faster Access to Federal 
     Student Aid Act of 2018''.

     SEC. 2. SECURE DISCLOSURE OF TAX-RETURN INFORMATION TO CARRY 
                   OUT THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 1965.

       (a) Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.--
       (1) In general.--Paragraph (13) of section 6103(l) of the 
     Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended to read as follows:
       ``(13) Disclosure of return information to carry out the 
     higher education act of 1965.--
       ``(A) Income-contingent or income-based repayment and total 
     and permanent disability discharge.--The Secretary shall, 
     upon written request from the Secretary of Education, 
     disclose to officers, employees, and contractors of the 
     Department of Education, as specifically authorized and 
     designated by the Secretary of Education, only for the 
     purpose of (and to the extent necessary in) establishing, 
     renewing, administering, and conducting analyses and 
     forecasts for estimating costs related to income-contingent 
     or income-based repayment programs, and the discharge of 
     loans based on a total and permanent disability (within the 
     meaning of section 437(a) of the Higher Education Act of 
     1965), under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 
     the following return information (as defined in subsection 
     (b)(2)) with respect to taxpayers identified by the Secretary 
     of Education as participating in the loan programs under 
     title IV of such Act, for taxable years specified by such 
     Secretary:
       ``(i) Taxpayer identity information with respect to such 
     taxpayer.
       ``(ii) The filing status of such taxpayer.
       ``(iii) Type of tax return from which the return 
     information is provided.
       ``(iv) The adjusted gross income of such taxpayer.
       ``(v) Total number of exemptions claimed, or total number 
     of individuals and dependents claimed, as applicable, on the 
     return.
       ``(vi) Number of children with respect to which tax credits 
     under section 24 are claimed on the return.
       ``(vii) Other information determined to be necessary by 
     agreement between the Secretary and the Secretary of 
     Education to administer the Federal financial aid programs as 
     required by the Higher Education Act of 1965.
       ``(B) Federal student financial aid.--The Secretary shall, 
     upon written request from the Secretary of Education, 
     disclose to officers, employees, and contractors of the 
     Department of Education, as specifically authorized and 
     designated by the Secretary of Education, only for the 
     purpose of (and to the extent necessary in) determining 
     eligibility for, and amount of, Federal student financial aid 
     under programs authorized by title IV of the Higher Education 
     Act of 1965 and conducting analyses and forecasts for 
     estimating costs related to such programs, the following 
     return information (as defined in subsection (b)(2)) with 
     respect to taxpayers identified by the Secretary of Education 
     as applicants for Federal student financial aid under title 
     IV of such Act, for taxable years specified by such 
     Secretary:
       ``(i) Taxpayer identity information with respect to such 
     taxpayer.
       ``(ii) The filing status of such taxpayer.
       ``(iii) Type of tax return from which the return 
     information is provided.
       ``(iv) The adjusted gross income of such taxpayer.
       ``(v) The amount of any net earnings from self-employment 
     (as defined in section 1402), wages (as defined in section 
     3121(a) or 3401(a)), and taxable income from a farming 
     business (as defined in section 236A(e)(4)) for the period 
     reported on the return.
       ``(vi) The total income tax of such taxpayer.
       ``(vii) Total number of exemptions claimed, or total number 
     of individuals and dependents claimed, as applicable, on the 
     return.
       ``(viii) Number of children with respect to which tax 
     credits under section 24 are claimed on the return.
       ``(ix) Amount of any credit claimed under section 25A for 
     the taxable year.

[[Page S7947]]

       ``(x) Amount of individual retirement account distributions 
     not included in adjusted gross income for the taxable year.
       ``(xi) Amount of individual retirement account 
     contributions and payments to self-employed SEP, Keogh, and 
     other qualified plans which were deducted from income for the 
     taxable year.
       ``(xii) The amount of tax-exempt interest.
       ``(xiii) Amounts from retirement pensions and annuities not 
     included in adjusted gross income for the taxable year.
       ``(xiv) If applicable, the fact that there is no return 
     filed for such taxpayer for the applicable year.
       ``(xv) Other information determined to be necessary by 
     agreement between the Secretary and the Secretary of 
     Education to administer the Federal financial aid programs as 
     required by the Higher Education Act of 1965.
       ``(C) Restriction on use of disclosed information.--
       ``(i) In general.--Return information disclosed under 
     subparagraphs (A) and (B) may be used by officers, employees, 
     and contractors of the Department of Education, as 
     specifically authorized and designated by the Secretary of 
     Education, only for the purposes and to the extent necessary 
     described in such subparagraphs and for mitigating risks (as 
     defined in clause (ii)) relating to the programs described in 
     such subparagraphs.
       ``(ii) Mitigating risks.--For purposes of this 
     subparagraph, the term `mitigating risks' means, with respect 
     to the programs described in subparagraphs (A) and (B)--

       ``(I) analyzing or estimating costs associated with 
     potential changes to the need-analysis formula,
       ``(II) oversight activities by the Office of Inspector 
     General of the Department of Education as authorized by the 
     Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended,
       ``(III) developing or administering statistical models that 
     inform support to populations of Federal student loan 
     borrowers who are at risk of default or delinquency,
       ``(IV) reducing the net cost of improper payments to 
     Federal financial aid recipients, and
       ``(V) producing aggregate statistics for reporting, 
     research, or consumer information on the performance of 
     programs or institutions of higher education participating in 
     the programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 
     1965.

     Such term does not include the conduct of criminal 
     investigations or prosecutions.
       ``(iii) Redisclosure to institutions of higher education, 
     state higher education agencies, and designated scholarship 
     organizations.--The Secretary of Education, and officers, 
     employees, and contractors of the Department of Education, 
     may disclose return information received under subparagraph 
     (B), solely for the use in the application, award, and 
     administration of Federal student financial aid, State aid, 
     or aid awarded by eligible institutions or such entities as 
     the Secretary of Education may designate, to the following 
     persons:

       ``(I) An institution of higher education with which the 
     Secretary of Education has an agreement under subpart 1 of 
     part A, or part D or E, of title IV of the Higher Education 
     Act of 1965.
       ``(II) A State higher education agency.
       ``(III) A scholarship organization which is designated by 
     the Secretary of Education as of the date of the enactment of 
     the Faster Access to Federal Student Aid Act of 2018 as an 
     organization eligible to receive the information provided 
     under this clause.

     The preceding sentence shall only apply to the extent that 
     the taxpayer with respect to whom the return information 
     relates provides consent for such disclosure to the Secretary 
     of Education as part of the application for Federal student 
     financial aid under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 
     1965.
       ``(D) Required notification periods.--
       ``(i) Notification to congress.--The Secretary and the 
     Secretary of Education shall issue joint notifications to the 
     Committees on Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and 
     Pensions of the Senate and the Committees on Ways and Means 
     and Education and the Workforce of the House of 
     Representatives not less than 120 days prior to the first 
     disclosure of any type of return information under 
     subparagraph (A)(vii) or (B)(xv) with respect to which such a 
     notification has not been previously made.
       ``(ii) Public notice and comment.--There shall be a public 
     notice and comment period beginning not less than 60 days 
     prior to the first disclosure of any type of return 
     information under subparagraph (A)(vii) or (B)(xv) with 
     respect to which such a notification has not been previously 
     made, subsequent to the period allotted for Congressional 
     comment under clause (i).''.
       (2) Confidentiality of return information.--Section 
     6103(a)(3) of such Code is amended by inserting ``, (13)(A), 
     (13)(B)'' after ``(12)''.
       (3) Conforming amendments.--Section 6103(p)(4) of such Code 
     is amended--
       (A) by inserting ``(A), (13)(B)'' after ``(13)'' each place 
     it occurs, and
       (B) by inserting ``, (13)(A), (13)(B)'' after ``(l)(10)'' 
     each place it occurs.
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to disclosures made under section 6103(l)(13) of 
     the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (as amended by this 
     section) after the date of the enactment of this Act.

     SEC. 3. NOTIFICATION OF REQUEST FOR TAX RETURN INFORMATION.

       (a) In General.--Part G of title IV of the Higher Education 
     Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1088 et seq.) is amended by adding at 
     the end the following:

     ``SEC. 494. NOTIFICATION OF REQUEST FOR TAX RETURN 
                   INFORMATION.

       ``The Secretary shall advise students and borrowers who 
     submit an application for Federal student financial aid under 
     this title or for the discharge of a loan based on permanent 
     and total disability, as described in section 437(a), or who 
     request an income-contingent or income-based repayment plan 
     on their loan (as well as parents and spouses who sign such 
     an application or request or a Master Promissory Note on 
     behalf of those students and borrowers) that the Secretary 
     has the authority to request that the Internal Revenue 
     Service disclose their tax return information (as well as 
     that of parents and spouses who sign such an application or 
     request or a Master Promissory Note on behalf of those 
     students and borrowers) to officers, employees, and 
     contractors of the Department of Education as authorized 
     under section 6103(1)(13) of the Internal Revenue Code of 
     1986, to the extent necessary for the Secretary to carry out 
     this title.''.
       (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 484(q) of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1091(q)) is amended to read 
     as follows:
       ``(q) reserved''.

     SEC. 4. REPORTS ON IMPLEMENTATION.

       (a) In General.--Not later than each specified date, the 
     Secretary of Education and the Secretary of the Treasury 
     shall issue joint reports to the Committees on Health, 
     Education, Labor, and Pensions and Finance of the Senate and 
     the Committees on Education and the Workforce and Ways and 
     Means of the House of Representatives regarding the 
     amendments made by this Act. Each such report shall include, 
     as applicable--
       (1) an update on the status of implementation of the 
     amendments made by this Act,
       (2) an evaluation of the processing of applications for 
     Federal student financial aid, and applications for income-
     based repayment and income contingent repayment, under title 
     IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et 
     seq.), in accordance with the amendments made by this Act, 
     and
       (3) implementation issues and suggestions for potential 
     improvements.
       (b) Specified Date.--For purposes of subsection (a), the 
     term ``specified date'' means--
       (1) the date that is 90 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act,
       (2) the date that is 120 days after the first day that the 
     disclosure process established under section 6103(l)(13) of 
     the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by section 2(a) 
     of this Act, is operational and accessible to officers, 
     employees, and contractors of the Department of Education (as 
     specifically authorized and designated by the Secretary of 
     Education), and
       (3) the date that is 1 year after the report date described 
     in paragraph (2).

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