EMPOWERING STUDENTS THROUGH ENHANCED FINANCIAL COUNSELING ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 147
(House of Representatives - September 05, 2018)

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[Pages H7850-H7861]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     EMPOWERING STUDENTS THROUGH ENHANCED FINANCIAL COUNSELING ACT


                             General Leave

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on H.R. 1635.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Allen). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentleman from Kentucky?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 1635.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers) to 
preside over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1428


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 1635) to amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher 
Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes, with Mr. Rogers of 
Kentucky in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  General debate shall not exceed 1 hour equally divided and controlled 
by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Education 
and the Workforce.
  The gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie) and the gentlewoman from 
Oregon (Ms. Bonamici) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Kentucky.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise to speak today in support of H.R. 1635, the 
Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, which I 
introduced earlier this Congress with my friend, Congresswoman Suzanne 
Bonamici of Oregon.
  As the school year begins, high school seniors across the country are 
trying to figure out their next steps. Many of these students will 
ultimately decide to attend a traditional 4-year university or 
community college program.
  Parents and students know too well that the cost of college tuition 
has climbed dramatically over the last decade. I know that many 
families are worried about how to afford a college education. As 
college tuition has risen, student loan debt has surged to more than 
$1.4 trillion, surpassing both national auto loan debt and credit card 
debt.

                              {time}  1430

  This should be a concern to everyone, not only to those with loan 
debt to their names. Many borrowers are entering the workforce with 
overwhelming debt that will play a role not only in their own lives, 
but in the health of the American economy as a whole.
  Student loans can, of course, play a positive role in helping 
students attend college when they borrow mindfully and responsibly. 
Unfortunately, many students enter into binding loan contracts with 
their respective universities without fully appreciating the gravity of 
the financial decision they are making and the consequences it can have 
on their futures.
  A recent survey of current students and new graduates with a high 
level of debt found that more than 40 percent had no recollection of 
having received financial counseling, even though current law requires 
that students receive entrance counseling before receiving their first 
loan.
  It is vitally important for students to be equipped with all the 
facts of their loan agreement so they can finance their postsecondary 
education responsibly and with eyes wide open. The Empowering Students 
Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act is designed to improve 
financial aid counseling for students receiving a Pell grant or a 
Federal loan. H.R. 1635 increases the timing, frequency, and content of 
mandatory student loan counseling.
  Under current law, borrowers are required to receive counseling only 
when they arrive on campus and upon graduation, which makes it easy for 
borrowers to lose sight of just how much debt they are acquiring each 
year and the responsibility they bear to pay it back. H.R. 1635 
requires financial counseling for students and parents who participate 
in Federal loan programs before they sign the dotted line on their 
loans. After that, students would participate in annual counseling so 
they can continue to understand their financial obligations and how new 
loans would affect their payments later on.
  The importance of annually providing information was dramatically 
reinforced in a recent year when Indiana University reported they were 
able to reduce undergraduate Stafford loan disbursements by 11 
percent--11 percent--or $31 million, by telling students annually what 
their monthly payment would be after graduation before the students 
took out loans for the next school year. This was more than a fivefold 
decrease in outlays compared to public schools nationally.
  In addition to making the counseling an annual event, this bill would 
require the counseling to include recommendations to students to pursue 
all available grant, work study, and scholarship assistance prior to 
taking out loans, as well as provide them with information about the 
differences between Federal and private loans in bankruptcy. Exit 
counseling would include information about the borrower's remaining 
loan balance as well as what to anticipate throughout repayment of the 
loan.
  The legislation would also require borrowers to affirmatively provide 
consent each year before receiving additional Federal loans instead of 
automatically receiving the full offered amount every year.
  The bill also equips low-income students with enhanced information 
about the terms and conditions of the Pell Grant Program by providing 
annual financial counseling to all grant recipients. The counseling 
will include information about the expenses the grant

[[Page H7851]]

covers, the level of assistance the students are able to receive, and 
ways to seek additional assistance in the case of changing financial 
circumstances. Under current law, Pell grant recipients are not 
required to receive any counseling.
  This bipartisan legislation will help America's students and families 
borrow responsibly and understand their aid package better so that new 
graduates have the very best chance of success upon graduation.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of the Empowering Students Through 
Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, a bill I introduced with Congressman 
Guthrie.
  Mr. Chair, I want to thank Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Scott, and 
Congressman Guthrie for their leadership on this bill. I would also 
like to thank the Education and the Workforce Committee staff on both 
sides of the aisle for their hard work to include the shared priorities 
of Members in this bill.
  This bill shows that there are areas of bipartisan consensus in 
Congress.
  Today, a college education continues to be a powerful force for 
economic and social mobility in our country. I know. Neither of my 
parents graduated from college. I worked my way first through community 
college, which opened the door to the university and then to law 
school.
  I am pleased that Democrats and Republicans are working together to 
take a meaningful step toward addressing the student loan debt crisis, 
which is now shockingly close to consumer debt in this country.
  This bill recognizes and addresses the clear need for enhanced 
financial counseling. More than 40 million Americans are struggling 
with student loan debt, and default rates are climbing.
  At the same time, there is evidence that student loan debt is a drag 
on the broader economy. For many borrowers, student loan debt affects 
the ability to buy a home, to purchase a new car, or to afford 
childcare. Student loan borrowers may be unable to access capital to 
start a small business or they may put off saving for retirement.
  That is why we need to help current and future students understand 
their rights and obligations as borrowers, and we need to help them 
forecast their obligations in the years after college so they can make 
informed decisions now for the years ahead.
  One of the frustrations I have heard from former students in Oregon 
is that they didn't understand all of the jumble of terms in their loan 
agreement or all of the differences between Federal and private student 
loans. With this bill, students, whether they are sophomores or 
seniors, will have information about how much they have borrowed, what 
they are expected to borrow, how their loans will accrue interest, and 
what they can expect their monthly payment to be when they leave 
college. They will be better able to see their road to repayment.

  Importantly, this bill provides annual counseling, so borrowers who 
don't graduate will still receive information about what to expect when 
they leave school and have to start repayment.
  Borrowers will have more clarity about their monthly payments under 
two repayment plans: income-based repayment and the standard 10-year 
option. That is critical for students to see what those differences 
will be, and they will with this bill. Clarifying and streamlining this 
information will simplify the repayment process for borrowers and 
reduce default.
  Borrowers will be reminded each year they don't have to borrow the 
full amount made available to them. They should consider grants, work 
study, and Federal loans before turning to private lenders.
  Unlike current practice, borrowers will receive financial counseling 
before signing their master promissory notes, and they will be reminded 
that they can repay interest before it capitalizes.
  For the first time, parent borrowers of student loans will be given 
virtually the same information about their loans that the students 
receive.
  Additionally, this bill will extend counseling to Pell grant 
recipients so they understand the limits on eligibility for the grants 
and the circumstances under which they would be asked to repay their 
grants, helping students to avoid expensive surprises.
  Finally, this bill does not interrupt the disbursement of financial 
aid, and it delivers enhanced student loan information in consumer-
tested formats that check for students' understanding. It will make 
sure we provide personalized borrower information in a way that 
borrowers understand.
  Mr. Chair, again, I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle for their support, and I encourage all my colleagues to support 
the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
North Carolina (Ms. Foxx), the chairwoman of the full committee.
  Ms. FOXX. Mr. Chair, I thank the gentleman from Kentucky for yielding 
time.
  Mr. Chair, the 115th Congress has been a landmark time for the 
Committee on Education and the Workforce. Committee members have come 
together to build the case for historic postsecondary education 
reforms.
  With more than $1.4 trillion in student debt and a skills gap that 
has resulted in more than 6 million unfilled jobs, we have recognized 
that restoring the promise of postsecondary education isn't simply a 
good idea; it is our responsibility.
  The Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act 
recognizes that students and families are the most important players in 
reforming postsecondary education. Giving them all the information they 
need to make wise Federal financial aid decisions can put a dent in all 
this debt. Better financial education before a borrower signs on the 
dotted line will help students and protect taxpayer dollars.
  Knowledge really is power, especially in how we make practical 
financial decisions. Student borrowers and parents, if they are trying 
to help, should understand and control their financial situation; their 
financial situation should not control them.
  As chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development 
Subcommittee, Representative Brett Guthrie has been a champion for 
commonsense reforms, and this legislation is the result of his 
leadership. I commend his work, as well as Representative Bonamici and 
her many Democrat colleagues for joining in this effort.
  Mr. Chair, I urge every Member of this body to support this 
legislation and make sure students and families in their districts know 
about it.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairwoman for her remarks.
  This bill we are considering today is an important step to protect 
students and borrowers, but it is not a substitute for an update to the 
Higher Education Act.
  We still have more work to do to invest in our Nation's students, our 
future leaders. We especially need to do more to keep higher education 
within reach for low-income students and working families.
  We need to strengthen the Pell Grant Program, which has served as a 
foundation of support and opportunity for many Americans and helped 
them afford college.
  We need to do more to address State disinvestment and partner with 
States. State disinvestment in higher education has also led to a rise 
in college costs, and we need to do more to make sure student loan 
borrowers have access to affordable repayment plans.
  The Democratic proposal to update the Higher Education Act, the Aim 
Higher Act, will do all of this and more.
  I am glad we are considering this bipartisan proposal today instead 
of the PROSPER Act, which would actually make college less affordable 
and accessible by cutting student aid by billions of dollars.
  The Aim Higher Act, on the other hand, invests in students and makes 
higher education more affordable through robust funding in financial 
aid programs. It also addresses the rising cost of college through the 
creation of a Federal-State partnership to reduce

[[Page H7852]]

the student debt burden on families. It is a thoughtful package that 
deserves to be considered on the House floor.
  The legislation we are considering today, though not a comprehensive 
reauthorization, will protect students and families and make a real, 
positive difference for grant recipients and student loan borrowers.
  Mr. Chair, I do urge all of my colleagues to support this bill, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Kansas (Mr. Estes).
  Mr. ESTES of Kansas. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 1635, 
the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act.
  As a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce and a 
father of three, I value the importance of higher education and making 
sure everyone has a way to pay for it.
  For the last decade, a generation of students have graduated college 
with massive debt and little prospects for a job.
  Thankfully, today, unemployment is at a historic low, and for the 
first time ever, we have more job openings than job seekers. Our 
economy is finally on the move, but the burden of student debt remains. 
In fact, Americans currently have more than $1.4 trillion in student 
debt. Unfortunately, much of this aid was received without adequate 
information about how to make the best financial choices.
  Currently, individuals receiving student financial loans must 
complete a one-time entrance counseling session, but this counseling 
can occur after the students have already signed up to take out the 
loan and is not required for those who receive Pell grants.
  Before completing classes, students must complete exit counseling. 
However, this information is very general, rather than being specific 
to the individual's specific situation.
  These generic counseling sessions have failed our country and not 
helped students to put themselves on financially sound footing. That is 
why I am proud to support H.R. 1635.
  This bill ensures borrowers who participate in a Federal loan program 
or receive a Pell grant get targeted counseling every year and not just 
once they enter and exit the program.
  It also provides awareness about financial obligation borrowers are 
accumulating by requiring the borrower's consent each year before 
receiving Federal student loans.
  These steps give students the tools they need to be financially 
responsible, while having the opportunities to get the education they 
deserve.
  Mr. Chair, I want to thank my colleagues on the Committee on 
Education and the Workforce for recognizing the importance of financial 
literacy and bringing forth this legislation that will help families in 
Kansas and throughout the country.
  Mr. Chair, I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

                              {time}  1445

  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Tennessee (Mr. Roe), my good friend from the eastern part of the great 
State of Tennessee and the chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of H.R. 1635, the Empowering 
Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. I am a proud 
cosponsor of the bill and believe it will take a step forward in 
improving student financial literacy today.
  Student loan debt has risen at an alarming rate over the last dozen 
years, from roughly $480 billion in 2006 to over $1.4 trillion this 
year. The American Government is the guarantor of more than 90 percent 
of that debt. Today's graduates, on average, leave campus with more 
than $35,000 in debt.
  Mr. Chairman, let me give an example. I was raised in a middle-class 
family. My mother was a bank teller. My dad was a factory worker. I was 
able to go to college and medical school in 7 years and graduate with 
no debt.
  The medical students who I taught in medical school at our medical 
school in east Tennessee had an average debt of over $175,000 when they 
left school, an enormous debt. Many of them had upward of $300,000 in 
debt and will spend many years paying their way out of that.
  Today's graduates, as I said, graduate with more than $35,000 in 
debt, and, currently, only students receiving Federal loans are 
required to complete a financial counseling session.
  This counseling is provided only twice and only to students. 
Counseling is offered the first time the student takes out a Federal 
loan and again upon graduation, which is way too late, and does not 
apply to a large pool of students receiving Federal aid, those 
receiving the Pell grant.
  H.R. 1635 requires students to receive annual counseling about their 
Federal loan and Pell grants. In other words, you don't have to take 
out the maximum loan. Just take out what you need. Additionally, 
parents who apply for a parent PLUS loan would also have to receive 
financial counseling.
  While no solution is perfect, these counseling sessions will give 
borrowers important information about their Federal financial aid and, 
hopefully, leave them with a better understanding of their repayment 
options and recommendations about grants, work study, and scholarship 
opportunities.
  In our State of Tennessee, as my good friend was mentioning a minute 
ago, we provide community college and technical school for free. This 
fall, we are beginning a program that is called Tennessee Reconnect, 
where you can go back to school if you have lost your job and you are 
middle-aged and you need to be retrained. You can go do that for free 
in our State.
  We believe that we need to retrain a workforce in our country for the 
jobs of tomorrow, and without this onerous debt, which a lot of people 
won't go to school because they realize it costs so much money that 
they can never pay it back.
  H.R. 1635 will encourage a better-informed decisionmaking on the part 
of borrowers and increase financial literacy.
  Mr. Chair, I encourage my colleagues to support this commonsense 
bill.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Ferguson).
  Mr. FERGUSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 1635 
because our country is facing a student debt crisis.
  In fact, nearly 580,000 student borrowers defaulted on their loans in 
just the last year. This debt crisis has been created, in part, because 
students and their parents aren't given the full information they need 
to make informed decisions about paying for college.
  Right now, only students receiving Federal loans are required to 
receive financial counseling. Even then, they only receive counseling 
when they take out their first loan and upon graduation. That means 
that countless students are signing up for thousands of dollars in 
loans and arriving on campus before they have received any advice about 
these major financial choices.
  This is just wrong. Our young people should not be left in the dark 
as they make decisions that will impact their lives for years after 
graduation.
  That is why I am supporting H.R. 1635, the Empowering Students 
Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, which would make sure that 
students know all of their funding options, including grants, work 
study, and scholarship assistance, before taking out loans.
  The legislation would also ensure students and parents receive 
financial aid counseling before they sign on the dotted line.
  Higher education should be a stepping-stone to success, not a 
financial drag on our students' futures. By giving students and their 
parents the best information possible to make financial decisions, we 
can ensure students are prepared for a bright future.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Walberg), my good friend.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of the 
Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act.
  For families in Michigan who are struggling to make ends meet, 
figuring out how to pay for college is a big challenge. Young people 
today who are graduating and entering the workforce face overwhelming 
college student loan

[[Page H7853]]

debt. When considering financial aid options, we need to empower 
students to make the best, fully informed decisions about their 
futures.
  This bipartisan bill will promote access to financial counseling so 
students better understand the process and receive personalized advice 
that speaks to their personal situations.

  It also will provide counseling assistance for the first time to low-
income students who participate in the Pell Grant Program.
  I am grateful to Chairman Guthrie, Ranking Member Bonamici, and my 
colleagues on the Education and the Workforce Committee for their work 
on this legislation.
  Encouraging financial literacy is an important step to help prepare 
students for successful futures. I urge passage of this bipartisan 
bill.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Allen), my good friend.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank Chairman Guthrie for his work on 
this important legislation.
  I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1635, the Empowering Students 
Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act.
  As the father of 4 and grandfather of 12, with 1 on the way, I 
understand the anxiety that rising education costs can have on our 
American families.
  Students go to school to get a job, not to wrangle with the Federal 
Government over student loans. With student loan debt climbing to over 
$1.5 trillion nationwide, we must do more to ensure students are aware 
of the financial obligations of accepting a Federal student loan.
  With over 40 years of business experience, I have applied for loans. 
I have provided a business plan and proof of performance, showing that 
I can repay those loans. And, over time, I have done just that.
  However, in education, many students and families are not receiving 
the necessary information about their loans and grants in order to make 
responsible financial choices. I want students and families to clearly 
understand that just because the Federal Government will give you a 
loan, you do not have to take the full amount. The less in loans you 
take out, the less you have to pay back.
  H.R. 1635 addresses the lack of information provided for those taking 
out student loans. Students and families will now receive counseling 
every year and detailed loan information so that students have sound 
decisionmaking tools when it comes to borrowing and repaying student 
loans.
  As cosponsor of H.R. 1635, I was also proud to introduce an amendment 
that will allow any eligible institution to provide additional 
information and counseling services to Federal student aid recipients.
  In my district, hardly a day goes by that I don't run into a former 
student who asks me: What am I going to do about this student loan 
debt? And once I discover the consequences of their decisions, it makes 
me more supportive of this legislation, so that these young people can 
understand exactly what they are getting into.
  We owe it to these American students to pass the legislation before 
us today, and I hope that my colleagues will join me in supporting H.R. 
1635.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire as to how much time is 
remaining.
  The CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Oregon has 23 minutes remaining.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chair, I want to again thank Mr. Guthrie for cosponsoring this 
legislation with me, and thank the leadership, both Chairwoman Foxx and 
Ranking Member Scott, for their support, and all of the staff. I want 
to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support for 
this legislation.
  Mr. Roe from Tennessee mentioned his story, and it is not unlike 
mine, from a middle-class family, went through 7 years of higher 
education on my own, working my way through. I ended up with a very 
modest amount of student debt.
  As I say, that is not what I am hearing from families today in 
Oregon, and I know my colleagues are not hearing that from their 
constituents across the country.
  I also want to point out how the student loan debt crisis is 
affecting the workforce issues that we all talk about and care about.
  An example is that there are many people who wanted to go into 
primary care. They are going through medical school. They wanted to go 
into primary care. I just had a conversation with one last week. Too 
many medical students are choosing higher paying specialties, not 
because that is where their passion or interest is, but because their 
student loan debt is so high.
  I just had a great conversation on Labor Day with some firefighters 
in the district I am honored to represent. I thanked them for working, 
keeping our communities safe. They are concerned about student debt, 
and they are very concerned about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness 
Program, which, of course, is threatened under the PROSPER Act.
  We need to come back to the table and talk about how we can preserve 
the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
  Today, however, I urge all of my colleagues to take this important 
step forward on this bipartisan legislation, the Empowering Students 
Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. I encourage broad support 
for the bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, this is important. It is a first step, but it is a big 
step and an important step as we look at what is going on in the cost 
of our higher education.
  Mr. Chairman, I know that, in our beloved Commonwealth, our Governor 
and our legislators are trying to deal with the demands on the budget, 
and they are working hard on it. But in the meantime, the costs to go 
to school in our Commonwealth and across the country have increased. 
Students have to rely more on Federal subsidized loans and Pell grants.
  We hear stories, like the one that Dr. Roe talked about, of people 
leaving professional school with a six-figure debt. But we hear about 
an awful lot of people who have $6,000, $7,000, and $10,000 worth of 
debt. They have to drop out, and they have no degree, and they have a 
hard time paying it back.

  This bill lays out, through the course of their time in school, for 
each year, what their payments will be, and it walks them through what 
they really need. Do they need to take out the full loan?
  Back when colleges weren't that expensive, I remember people saying: 
Take out the full loan; that is the cheapest money you will ever have. 
Well, it becomes the most expensive money you have ever had over time, 
as interest rates build up and other things move forward.
  This bill is to make sure students are aware. It is something we 
agree on. We do it bipartisan. I expect a big bipartisan vote, and we 
do work together. There are issues that we have differences of opinion 
on, and there are issues that we have similar opinions on.
  When I was home in my State in August, people would say: Can't you 
find things to work together on? And we do, as a matter of fact, on 
most of the things we do. It is just not what tends to get out into the 
news.
  So I appreciate the hard work of my friend from Oregon, and I 
appreciate the hard work of our committee.
  Mr. Chair, I urge the passage of this bill, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule.
  The bill shall be considered as read.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 1635

       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 ``Empowering Students Through 
     Enhanced Financial Counseling Act''.

     SEC. 2. ANNUAL COUNSELING.

       Section 485(l) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
     U.S.C. 1092(l)) is amended to read as follows:
       ``(l) Annual Financial Aid Counseling.--
       ``(1) Annual disclosure required.--
       ``(A) In general.--Each eligible institution shall ensure 
     that each individual who receives a Federal Pell Grant or a 
     loan made

[[Page H7854]]

     under part D (other than a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan) 
     receives comprehensive information on the terms and 
     conditions of such Federal Pell Grant or loan and the 
     responsibilities the individual has with respect to such 
     Federal Pell Grant or loan. Such information shall be 
     provided, for each award year for which the individual 
     receives such Federal Pell Grant or loan, in a simple and 
     understandable manner--
       ``(i) during a counseling session conducted in person;
       ``(ii) online, with the individual acknowledging receipt of 
     the information; or
       ``(iii) through the use of the online counseling tool 
     described in subsection (n)(1)(B).
       ``(B) Use of interactive programs.--In the case of 
     institutions not using the online counseling tool described 
     in subsection (n)(1)(B), the Secretary shall require such 
     institutions to carry out the requirements of subparagraph 
     (A) through the use of interactive programs, during an annual 
     counseling session that is in-person or online, that test the 
     individual's understanding of the terms and conditions of the 
     Federal Pell Grant or loan awarded to the individual, using 
     simple and understandable language and clear formatting.
       ``(2) All individuals.--The information to be provided 
     under paragraph (1)(A) to each individual receiving 
     counseling under this subsection shall include the following:
       ``(A) An explanation of how the individual may budget for 
     typical educational expenses and a sample budget based on the 
     cost of attendance for the institution.
       ``(B) An explanation that an individual has a right to 
     annually request a disclosure of information collected by a 
     consumer reporting agency pursuant to section 612(a) of the 
     Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681j(a)).
       ``(C) Based on the most recent data available from the 
     American Community Survey available from the Department of 
     Commerce, the estimated average income and percentage of 
     employment in the State of domicile of the individual for 
     individuals with--
       ``(i) a high school diploma or equivalent;
       ``(ii) some post-secondary education without completion of 
     a degree or certificate; and
       ``(iii) a bachelor's degree.
       ``(D) An introduction to the financial management resources 
     provided by the Financial Literacy and Education Commission.
       ``(3) Students receiving federal pell grants.--The 
     information to be provided under paragraph (1)(A) to each 
     student receiving a Federal Pell Grant shall include the 
     following:
       ``(A) An explanation of the terms and conditions of the 
     Federal Pell Grant.
       ``(B) An explanation of approved educational expenses for 
     which the student may use the Federal Pell Grant.
       ``(C) An explanation of why the student may have to repay 
     the Federal Pell Grant.
       ``(D) An explanation of the maximum number of semesters or 
     equivalent for which the student may be eligible to receive a 
     Federal Pell Grant, and a statement of the amount of time 
     remaining for which the student may be eligible to receive a 
     Federal Pell Grant.
       ``(E) An explanation that if the student transfers to 
     another institution not all of the student's courses may be 
     acceptable in transfer toward meeting specific degree or 
     program requirements at such institution, but the amount of 
     time remaining for which a student may be eligible to receive 
     a Federal Pell Grant, as provided under subparagraph (D), 
     will not change.
       ``(F) An explanation of how the student may seek additional 
     financial assistance from the institution's financial aid 
     office due to a change in the student's financial 
     circumstances, and the contact information for such office.
       ``(4) Borrowers receiving loans made under part d (other 
     than parent plus loans).--The information to be provided 
     under paragraph (1)(A) to a borrower of a loan made under 
     part D (other than a Federal Direct PLUS Loan made on behalf 
     of a dependent student) shall include the following:
       ``(A) To the extent practicable, the effect of accepting 
     the loan to be disbursed on the eligibility of the borrower 
     for other forms of student financial assistance.
       ``(B) An explanation of the use of the master promissory 
     note.
       ``(C) An explanation that the borrower is not required to 
     accept the full amount of the loan offered to the borrower.
       ``(D) An explanation that the borrower should consider 
     accepting any grant, scholarship, or State or Federal work-
     study jobs for which the borrower is eligible prior to 
     accepting Federal student loans.
       ``(E) A recommendation to the borrower to exhaust the 
     borrower's Federal student loan options prior to taking out 
     private education loans, an explanation that Federal student 
     loans typically offer better terms and conditions than 
     private education loans, an explanation of treatment of loans 
     made under part D and private education loans in bankruptcy, 
     and an explanation that if a borrower decides to take out a 
     private education loan--
       ``(i) the borrower has the ability to select a private 
     educational lender of the borrower's choice;
       ``(ii) the proposed private education loan may impact the 
     borrower's potential eligibility for other financial 
     assistance, including Federal financial assistance under this 
     title; and
       ``(iii) the borrower has a right--

       ``(I) to accept the terms of the private education loan 
     within 30 calendar days following the date on which the 
     application for such loan is approved and the borrower 
     receives the required disclosure documents, pursuant to 
     section 128(e) of the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 
     1638(e)); and
       ``(II) to cancel such loan within 3 business days of the 
     date on which the loan is consummated, pursuant to section 
     128(e)(7) of such Act (15 U.S.C. 1638(e)(7)).

       ``(F) An explanation of the approved educational expenses 
     for which the borrower may use a loan made under part D.
       ``(G) Information on the annual and aggregate loan limits 
     for Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct 
     Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
       ``(H) Information on how interest accrues and is 
     capitalized during periods when the interest is not paid by 
     either the borrower or the Secretary.
       ``(I) In the case of a Federal Direct PLUS Loan or a 
     Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, the option of the 
     borrower to pay the interest while the borrower is in school.
       ``(J) The definition of half-time enrollment at the 
     institution, during regular terms and summer school, if 
     applicable, and the consequences of not maintaining at least 
     half-time enrollment.
       ``(K) An explanation of the importance of contacting the 
     appropriate offices at the institution of higher education if 
     the borrower withdraws prior to completing the borrower's 
     program of study so that the institution can provide exit 
     counseling, including information regarding the borrower's 
     repayment options and loan consolidation.
       ``(L) For a first-time borrower--
       ``(i) a statement of the anticipated balance on the loan 
     for which the borrower is receiving counseling under this 
     subsection;
       ``(ii) based on such anticipated balance, the anticipated 
     monthly payment amount under, at minimum--

       ``(I) the standard repayment plan; and
       ``(II) an income-based repayment plan under section 493C, 
     as determined using regionally available data from the Bureau 
     of Labor Statistics of the average starting salary for the 
     occupation in which the borrower has an interest in or 
     intends to be employed; and

       ``(iii) an estimate of the projected monthly payment amount 
     under each repayment plan described in clause (ii), based on 
     the average cumulative indebtedness at graduation for 
     borrowers of loans made under part D who are in the same 
     program of study as the borrower.
       ``(M) For a borrower with an outstanding balance of 
     principal or interest due on a loan made under this title--
       ``(i) a current statement of the amount of such outstanding 
     balance and interest accrued;
       ``(ii) based on such outstanding balance, the anticipated 
     monthly payment amount under, at minimum, the standard 
     repayment plan and, using regionally available data from the 
     Bureau of Labor Statistics of the average starting salary for 
     the occupation the borrower intends to be employed, an 
     income-based repayment plan under section 493C; and
       ``(iii) an estimate of the projected monthly payment amount 
     under each repayment plan described in clause (ii), based 
     on--

       ``(I) the outstanding balance described in clause (i);
       ``(II) the anticipated outstanding balance on the loan for 
     which the student is receiving counseling under this 
     subsection; and
       ``(III) a projection for any other loans made under part D 
     that the borrower is reasonably expected to accept during the 
     borrower's program of study based on at least the expected 
     increase in the cost of attendance of such program.

       ``(N) The obligation of the borrower to repay the full 
     amount of the loan, regardless of whether the borrower 
     completes or does not complete the program in which the 
     borrower is enrolled within the regular time for program 
     completion.
       ``(O) The likely consequences of default on the loan, 
     including adverse credit reports, delinquent debt collection 
     procedures under Federal law, and litigation, and a notice of 
     the institution's most recent cohort default rate (defined in 
     section 435(m)), an explanation of the cohort default rate, 
     the most recent national average cohort default rate, and the 
     most recent national average cohort default rate for the 
     category of institution described in section 435(m)(4) to 
     which the institution belongs.
       ``(P) Information on the National Student Loan Data System 
     and how the borrower can access the borrower's records.
       ``(Q) The contact information for the institution's 
     financial aid office or other appropriate office at the 
     institution the borrower may contact if the borrower has any 
     questions about the borrower's rights and responsibilities or 
     the terms and conditions of the loan.
       ``(5) Borrowers receiving parent plus loans for dependent 
     students.--The information to be provided under paragraph 
     (1)(A) to a borrower of a Federal Direct PLUS Loan made on 
     behalf of a dependent student shall include the following:
       ``(A) The information described in subparagraphs (A) 
     through (C) and (N) through (Q) of paragraph (4).
       ``(B) The option of the borrower to pay the interest on the 
     loan while the loan is in deferment.
       ``(C) For a first-time borrower of such loan--

[[Page H7855]]

       ``(i) a statement of the anticipated balance on the loan 
     for which the borrower is receiving counseling under this 
     subsection;
       ``(ii) based on such anticipated balance, the anticipated 
     monthly payment amount under the standard repayment plan; and
       ``(iii) an estimate of the projected monthly payment amount 
     under the standard repayment plan, based on the average 
     cumulative indebtedness of other borrowers of Federal Direct 
     PLUS Loans made on behalf of dependent students who are in 
     the same program of study as the student on whose behalf the 
     borrower borrowed the loan.
       ``(D) For a borrower with an outstanding balance of 
     principal or interest due on such loan--
       ``(i) a statement of the amount of such outstanding 
     balance;
       ``(ii) based on such outstanding balance, the anticipated 
     monthly payment amount under the standard repayment plan; and
       ``(iii) an estimate of the projected monthly payment amount 
     under the standard repayment plan, based on--

       ``(I) the outstanding balance described in clause (i);
       ``(II) the anticipated outstanding balance on the loan for 
     which the borrower is receiving counseling under this 
     subsection; and
       ``(III) a projection for any other Federal Direct PLUS Loan 
     made on behalf of the dependent student that the borrower is 
     reasonably expected to accept during the program of study of 
     such student based on at least the expected increase in the 
     cost of attendance of such program.

       ``(E) Debt management strategies that are designed to 
     facilitate the repayment of such indebtedness.
       ``(F) An explanation that the borrower has the options to 
     prepay each loan, pay each loan on a shorter schedule, and 
     change repayment plans.
       ``(G) For each Federal Direct PLUS Loan made on behalf of a 
     dependent student for which the borrower is receiving 
     counseling under this subsection, the contact information for 
     the loan servicer of the loan and a link to such servicer's 
     Website.
       ``(6) Annual loan acceptance.--Prior to making the first 
     disbursement of a loan made under part D (other than a 
     Federal Direct Consolidation Loan) to a borrower for an award 
     year, an eligible institution, shall, as part of carrying out 
     the counseling requirements of this subsection for the loan, 
     ensure that after receiving the applicable counseling under 
     paragraphs (2), (4), and (5) for the loan the borrower 
     accepts the loan for such award year by--
       ``(A) signing the master promissory note for the loan;
       ``(B) signing and returning to the institution a separate 
     written statement that affirmatively states that the borrower 
     accepts the loan; or
       ``(C) electronically signing an electronic version of the 
     statement described in subparagraph (B).''.

     SEC. 3. EXIT COUNSELING.

       Section 485(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
     U.S.C. 1092(b)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1)(A)--
       (A) in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking 
     ``through financial aid offices or otherwise'' and inserting 
     ``through the use of an interactive program, during an exit 
     counseling session that is in-person or online, or through 
     the use of the online counseling tool described in subsection 
     (n)(1)(A)'';
       (B) by redesignating clauses (i) through (ix) as clauses 
     (iv) through (xii), respectively;
       (C) by inserting before clause (iv), as so redesignated, 
     the following:
       ``(i) a summary of the outstanding balance of principal and 
     interest due on the loans made to the borrower under part B, 
     D, or E;
       ``(ii) an explanation of the grace period preceding 
     repayment and the expected date that the borrower will enter 
     repayment;
       ``(iii) an explanation that the borrower has the option to 
     pay any interest that has accrued while the borrower was in 
     school or that may accrue during the grace period preceding 
     repayment or during an authorized period of deferment or 
     forbearance, prior to the capitalization of the interest;'';
       (D) in clause (iv), as so redesignated--
       (i) by striking ``sample information showing the average'' 
     and inserting ``information, based on the borrower's 
     outstanding balance described in clause (i), showing the 
     borrower's''; and
       (ii) by striking ``of each plan'' and inserting ``of at 
     least the standard repayment plan and the income-based 
     repayment plan under section 493C'';
       (E) in clause (ix), as so redesignated--
       (i) by inserting ``decreased credit score,'' after ``credit 
     reports,''; and
       (ii) by inserting ``reduced ability to rent or purchase a 
     home or car, potential difficulty in securing employment,'' 
     after ``Federal law,'';
       (F) in clause (x), as so redesignated, by striking 
     ``consolidation loan under section 428C or a'';
       (G) in clauses (xi) and (xii), as so redesignated, by 
     striking ``and'' at the end; and
       (H) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(xiii) for each of the borrower's loans made under part 
     B, D, or E for which the borrower is receiving counseling 
     under this subsection, the contact information for the loan 
     servicer of the loan and a link to such servicer's Website; 
     and
       ``(xiv) an explanation that an individual has a right to 
     annually request a disclosure of information collected by a 
     consumer reporting agency pursuant to section 612(a) of the 
     Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681j(a)).'';
       (2) in paragraph (1)(B)--
       (A) by inserting ``online or'' before ``in writing''; and
       (B) by adding before the period at the end the following: 
     ``, except that in the case of an institution using the 
     online counseling tool described in subsection (n)(1)(A), the 
     Secretary shall attempt to provide such information to the 
     student in the manner described in subsection (n)(3)(C)''; 
     and
       (3) in paragraph (2)(C), by inserting ``, such as the 
     online counseling tool described in subsection (n)(1)(A),'' 
     after ``electronic means''.

     SEC. 4. ONLINE COUNSELING TOOLS.

       Section 485 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     1092) is further amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(n) Online Counseling Tools.--
       ``(1) In general.--Beginning not later than 1 year after 
     the date of enactment of the Empowering Students Through 
     Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, the Secretary shall 
     maintain--
       ``(A) an online counseling tool that provides the exit 
     counseling required under subsection (b) and meets the 
     applicable requirements of this subsection; and
       ``(B) an online counseling tool that provides the annual 
     counseling required under subsection (l) and meets the 
     applicable requirements of this subsection.
       ``(2) Requirements of tools.--In maintaining the online 
     counseling tools described in paragraph (1), the Secretary 
     shall ensure that each such tool is--
       ``(A) consumer tested, in consultation with other relevant 
     Federal agencies, to ensure that the tool is effective in 
     helping individuals understand their rights and obligations 
     with respect to borrowing a loan made under part D or 
     receiving a Federal Pell Grant;
       ``(B) understandable to students receiving Federal Pell 
     Grants and borrowers of loans made under part D; and
       ``(C) freely available to all eligible institutions.
       ``(3) Record of counseling completion.--The Secretary 
     shall--
       ``(A) use each online counseling tool described in 
     paragraph (1) to keep a record of which individuals have 
     received counseling using the tool, and notify the applicable 
     institutions of the individual's completion of such 
     counseling;
       ``(B) in the case of a borrower who receives annual 
     counseling for a loan made under part D using the tool 
     described in paragraph (1)(B), notify the borrower by when 
     the borrower should accept, in a manner described in 
     subsection (l)(6), the loan for which the borrower has 
     received such counseling; and
       ``(C) in the case of a borrower described in subsection 
     (b)(1)(B) at an institution that uses the online counseling 
     tool described in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection, the 
     Secretary shall attempt to provide the information described 
     in subsection (b)(1)(A) to the borrower through such tool.''.

     SEC. 5. LONGITUDINAL STUDY ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF STUDENT 
                   LOAN COUNSELING.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Education, acting 
     through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, 
     shall begin conducting a rigorous, longitudinal study of the 
     impact and effectiveness of the student loan counseling--
       (1) provided under subsections (b), (l), and (n) of section 
     485 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1092), as 
     amended by this Act; and
       (2) provided through such other means as the Secretary of 
     Education may determine.
       (b) Contents.--
       (1) Borrower information.--The longitudinal study carried 
     out under subsection (a) shall include borrower information, 
     in the aggregate and disaggregated by race, ethnicity, 
     gender, income, and status as an individual with a 
     disability, on--
       (A) student persistence;
       (B) degree attainment;
       (C) program completion;
       (D) successful entry into student loan repayment;
       (E) cumulative borrowing levels; and
       (F) such other factors as the Secretary of Education may 
     determine.
       (2) Exception.--The disaggregation under paragraph (1) 
     shall not be required in a case in which the number of 
     borrowers in a category is insufficient to yield 
     statistically reliable information or the results would 
     reveal personally identifiable information about an 
     individual borrower.
       (c) Interim Reports.--Not later than 18 months after the 
     commencement of the study under subsection (a), and annually 
     thereafter, the Secretary of Education shall evaluate the 
     progress of the study and report any short-term findings to 
     the appropriate committees of Congress.

     SEC. 6. AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS.

       (a) Use of Existing Funds.--Of the amount authorized to be 
     appropriated for maintaining the Department of Education's 
     Financial Awareness Counseling Tool, $2,000,000 shall be 
     available to carry out this Act and the amendments made by 
     this Act.
       (b) No Additional Funds Authorized.--No funds are 
     authorized to be appropriated by this Act to carry out this 
     Act or the amendments made by this Act.

  The CHAIR. No amendment to the bill shall be in order except those

[[Page H7856]]

printed in part A of House Report 115-919. Each such amendment may be 
offered only in the order printed in the report, by a Member designated 
in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the 
time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the 
proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall 
not be subject to a demand for division of the question.


                Amendment No. 1 Offered by Ms. Stefanik

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 printed in 
part A of House Report 115-919.
  Ms. STEFANIK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 4, after line 11, insert the following:
       ``(E) An explanation of how the student may seek additional 
     financial assistance from the institution's financial aid 
     office due to a change in the student's financial 
     circumstances, and the contact information for such office.
       Page 5, strike lines 12 through 16.
       Page 15, line 15, insert ``and for such amount as is 
     specified by the borrower'' after ``such award year''.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentlewoman from 
New York (Ms. Stefanik) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from New York.
  Ms. STEFANIK. Mr. Chairman, I thank Chairwoman Foxx.
  Today, young Americans are burdened with more than $1.4 trillion in 
student debt. As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, we know 
that students who do not complete their degrees and graduate bear the 
heaviest burden when paying back loans.

                              {time}  1500

  This is why we must ensure that borrowing is done wisely and that we 
provide students with information so they don't feel compelled to drop 
out because of a change in finances.
  Financial literacy is the foundation needed for students to make 
informed decisions, yet over 40 percent of students carrying high debt 
loads cannot remember ever receiving financial counseling.
  Many students work very hard to line up savings, scholarships, 
grants, and loans to pay for their education only to have something 
change in their personal life. This could be the death or an illness of 
a family member, the loss of a parent's or student's job, an investment 
that didn't work out, or any number of situations resulting in a 
significant change to the student's financial circumstances.
  When students are faced with these hardships, some rush into a loan 
that may not be in their best interest, and some may even decide to 
drop out of school. We should not accept either of those outcomes, 
especially when our Nation's schools are equipped with the dedicated 
support of financial aid officers. These individuals are able to help 
guide a student through the many complexities of financing higher 
education and are also ready and willing to guide students through 
unexpected financial turbulence.
  We know that students who do receive adequate financial guidance are 
positioned to have much stronger financial health than those who do 
not. One challenge to this goal of financial literacy is ensuring 
students know who to go to when finances become an issue. This problem 
is particularly harmful to first-generation college students who may 
not have any family members or friends who can help advise on this type 
of situation or may not know where to look for additional financial 
guidance.
  My amendment adds to the important work of this underlying bill by 
ensuring all students receive an explanation of how they can seek 
additional assistance from their financial aid office should they face 
a change in personal financial circumstances.
  Since students will not be required to take out the maximum loan that 
they are eligible for, my amendment also clarifies that the loan the 
borrower receives is the amount the borrower wants to take out.
  Mr. Chairman, I ask my colleagues to support this commonsense 
amendment and the underlying bill, and I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition, although 
I am not opposed to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Duncan of Tennessee). Without objection, the 
gentlewoman from Oregon is recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend, the gentlewoman from 
New York, for her amendment. It improves the bill, and I support its 
acceptance.
  Financing a college education can be a daunting process, especially 
for first-generation students. It can seem like there are things that 
everyone else knows but no one is telling them. If we are going to 
improve student counseling, we need to recognize this fact.
  This amendment requires that as part of the annual counseling 
students receive, they be made aware, if their financial circumstances 
change, they can and should contact their financial aid office on 
campus. There they can seek someone with the professional background, 
judgment, and assistance to help them make changes to awards, or they 
may find out about other aid for which the student may be eligible.
  Additionally, students may not know that while they are eligible for 
a certain amount of Federal aid, they are not required to take the full 
amount. Many debt-conscious students may prefer to fund a smaller 
portion of their education through loans but may not know that this is 
an option. This amendment clarifies that in cases where the student 
specifies they would like to receive less aid, that is an amount that 
is discussed in their counseling.
  Again, I support the gentlewoman's amendment, and I urge a ``yes'' 
vote.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. STEFANIK. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague and friend, the 
gentlewoman from Oregon, for her support.
  As she mentioned, this is a commonsense amendment. It particularly 
helps first-generation college students access the financial counseling 
they need. This improves the bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Stefanik).
  The amendment was agreed to.


           Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mrs. Murphy of Florida

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 
printed in part A of House Report 115-919.
  Mrs. MURPHY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 5, strike lines 4 through 11 and insert the following:
       ``(E) An explanation that, in the case of a student who 
     transfers to another institution, the amount of time 
     remaining for which a student may be eligible to receive a 
     Federal Pell Grant, as provided under subparagraph (D), will 
     not change, regardless of whether all of the courses 
     completed by such student are accepted for purposes of 
     meeting specific degree or program requirements by the 
     institution to which such student transfer.''
       In section 485(l)(4) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 
     as proposed to be amended by section 2 of the bill--
       (1) redesignate subparagraphs (H) through (Q) as 
     subparagraphs (I) through (R), respectively; and
       (2) insert after subparagraph (G) the following:
       ``(H) An explanation that, in the case of a student who 
     transfers to another institution, the loan amounts such 
     student received before such transfer shall be used in 
     determining the aggregate loan amount of the student, 
     regardless of whether all of the courses completed by such 
     student are accepted for purposes of meeting specific degree 
     or program requirements by the institution to which such 
     student transfers.''
       Page 12, beginning on line 17, strike ``(N) through (Q)'' 
     and insert ``(O) through (R)''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentlewoman 
from Florida (Mrs. Murphy) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida.
  Mrs. MURPHY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of my amendment to H.R. 1635, the 
Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. This 
amendment would ensure that student borrowers who are considering 
whether to

[[Page H7857]]

transfer to another academic institution are provided with the guidance 
necessary to make fully informed decisions related to their student 
loan debt and academic credit transfers.
  Currently, students who take out Federal loans to finance their 
education are limited to borrowing up to a certain aggregate amount, 
with the precise amount depending on the type of loan they have, their 
financial status, and whether they are enrolled in an undergraduate or 
graduate program.
  My amendment would ensure that a student borrower who wishes to 
transfer to another institution is provided with a clear and concise 
explanation that the loans he or she has received up to that point will 
count towards their aggregate loan limit, regardless of whether all the 
course credits they have completed are accepted by the school they seek 
to transfer to. Students will benefit from learning this important 
information because it will help them more effectively plan their 
educational and financial futures. Students who know the facts before 
they transfer will be in a better position to decide whether 
transferring is, in fact, the right decision for them.
  Those students who do decide to transfer will be more likely to 
carefully research all their transfer options, and they will likely 
give preference to those schools that will accept the credits they 
earned at their current school and that otherwise provide students with 
a smooth and seamless transition process. Fewer students will be in the 
position of having transferred only to find out that very few of the 
credits they worked so hard to earn and had paid for will actually 
count towards their degree.
  I believe my amendment will be particularly helpful to students who 
are enrolled in community or State colleges and are seeking to transfer 
to a 4-year program. Many students who live in my central Florida 
district are in precisely this position.
  Notably, the University of Central Florida, which I am proud to 
represent, has established a strong transfer program in partnership 
with six State and community colleges throughout Florida, including 
Valencia College and Seminole State College in my district.
  The program is called DirectConnect to UCF. In general, it guarantees 
students admission to UCF if they have earned an associate degree from 
a partner college, and the credits earned by the student at the partner 
college typically transfer. This is exactly the sort of transfer 
program that my amendment will encourage students to utilize.
  Collectively, Americans owe a crushing $1.4 trillion in student debt. 
As someone who is still paying off her own student loans, I know there 
is far more we can and should do to ensure that students are not 
saddled with excessive debt and are prepared to succeed after 
graduation.
  Nevertheless, I am encouraged that we are taking a step in the right 
direction today by considering this important legislation. By 
increasing transparency in the student loan process as it relates to 
credit transfers, we will provide our students with the information 
they need to make the best educational and financial decisions for 
themselves.
  I thank the Rules Committee for allowing the House to consider this 
amendment, and I respectfully ask my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle to support it.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to this 
amendment, but I do not intend to oppose it.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman from Kentucky is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, this amendment will provide borrowers with 
critical information on aggregate loan limits, which is particularly 
important for transfer students, as my friend just explained. This 
disclosure will encourage borrowers to thoughtfully plan their college 
expenses and will help students make informed decisions when 
transferring schools.
  I thank my colleague for offering this amendment, and I urge my 
colleagues to support it and the underlying bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. MURPHY of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I would just reiterate my hope 
that my colleagues will accept this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Mrs. Murphy).
  The amendment was agreed to.


               Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. O'Halleran

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 
printed in part A of House Report 115-919.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 9, line 10, strike ``an income-based repayment plan 
     under section 493C'' and insert ``the income-driven repayment 
     plans the borrower is eligible for''.
       Page 10, beginning on line 14, strike ``an income-based 
     repayment plan under section 493C'' and insert ``the income-
     driven repayment plans the borrower is eligible for''.
       Page 17, beginning on line 11, strike ``the income-based 
     repayment plan under section 493C'' and insert ``the income-
     driven repayment plans the borrower is eligible for''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentleman 
from Arizona (Mr. O'Halleran) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, college affordability and the student 
loan crisis affect every community across our Nation. The decisions 
that young people are forced to make in order to get a degree--
decisions involving tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of 
dollars--can affect the rest of their lives.
  Over 44 million Americans have a total of $1.5 trillion in student 
loan debt. In Arizona, borrowers owe an average of just under $24,000, 
annually, in student loan debt.
  That is why I am pleased that the underlying bill before us today 
takes an important step towards making sure students and borrowers have 
more tools and information about their options, including income-driven 
repayment plans. Income-driven repayment plans like PAYE, REPAYE, and 
IBR have increased in enrollment in recent years and can offer 
borrowers more predictability and manageability on their student loan 
payments.
  A lot of borrowers don't know about all the income-driven repayment 
options they are eligible for, making it harder to figure out which one 
might be the best fit. My commonsense amendment helps to fix that by 
simply requiring the annual counseling mandated by the underlying bill 
to disclose the anticipated monthly payment to a borrower for any 
income-driven repayment plan they are eligible for.
  Increasing awareness about all income-driven repayment options and 
what a borrower could expect to pay under each program they are 
eligible for will help equip them and their families with more 
resources to make important decisions.
  My amendment, like the underlying bill, is an important step forward 
to support our hardworking students and workers in our communities at a 
time when many are still struggling. We have an obligation to increase 
transparency to borrowers and ensure they have the tools to thrive.
  I want to thank Congressman Bera for his support of this amendment, 
as well as Congresswoman Foxx and Ranking Member Scott for their work 
on this bipartisan bill before us today.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support my amendment, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to this 
amendment, but I do not intend to oppose it.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman from Kentucky is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Chairman, this amendment will help students see an 
estimated monthly student loan payment broken down by all income-driven 
repayment plans for which the student is eligible.
  I support this amendment because students need to see the full range 
of possibilities available to them so they can make informed choices 
about what they borrow and how they will repay the funds.
  I thank my colleague for offering the amendment, and I urge my 
colleagues to support it and the underlying bill.

[[Page H7858]]

  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Bera).
  Mr. BERA. Mr. Chairman, I thank my good friend from Arizona (Mr. 
O'Halleran) for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of our amendment to H.R. 1635. 
Our amendment is simple. It would ensure that student borrowers are 
provided information about the full range of income-based repayment 
options. This will help students get a full picture of what college is 
going to look like and give an estimate of what they might owe on a 
monthly basis over their anticipated career. This additional 
transparency will make sure students are not caught off guard about 
their student debt after graduation.
  As the co-chair of the California Public Higher Education Caucus, one 
of my priorities here in Congress has been working to improve the 
affordability, accessibility, and quality of higher education.
  Think about it. I paid $393 a quarter to go to medical school. That 
meant I could go to 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical 
school, get some help from my folks, work part time, a few 
scholarships, and graduate with less than $10,000 of debt. That is 
amazing.

                              {time}  1515

  Now, I am not that old. We might not be able to get to that place, 
but the truth is that education has allowed me to do what I have done 
throughout my life, and that is an investment that pays off.
  Let's make sure we make higher education affordable and accessible to 
our students in that next generation. Let's make sure we keep making 
those investments, and, again, let's make sure that those students have 
that transparency and the information that they need to make reasonable 
decisions.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. O'Halleran).
  The amendment was agreed to.


           Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Lewis of Minnesota

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 
printed in part A of House Report 115-919.
  Mr. LEWIS of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 12, strike lines 19 through 21 and insert the 
     following:
       ``(B) A notification that some students may qualify for 
     other financial aid and an explanation that the student for 
     whom the borrower is taking out the loan should consider 
     accepting any grant, scholarship, or State or Federal work-
     study jobs for which such student is eligible prior to 
     borrowing Parent PLUS Loans.
       Page 14, line 23, insert ``pay each loan while the 
     dependent child is still in school, pay the interest on the 
     loan while the loan is in deferment,'' after ``a shorter 
     schedule,''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentleman 
from Minnesota (Mr. Lewis) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. LEWIS of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, we currently have over $1.4 
trillion in student debt, a burden that too many carry with them well 
after their time on campus, delaying critical milestones, such as 
buying a house or starting a family.
  At the core of this problem is insufficient financial literacy at the 
time of borrowing, things like understanding that the amount you will 
have to pay back is going to be greater than the loan you took out, the 
magic of compound interest; learning how to budget for typical 
educational expenses and recognizing that paying loans back faster, not 
just hitting the minimum amount due, will make the loan less expensive.
  When borrowers do not receive this critical information up front, 
they are prone to over-borrowing and inefficient repayment, costing our 
students, families, and taxpayers far more than it should for access to 
a great higher education.
  So I applaud Representative Guthrie and Representative Bonamici for 
their hard work as this underlying legislation is an essential step 
towards enhancing financial awareness and empowering smart decisions.
  While right now only about half of all students even remember 
receiving the limited counseling they did receive, this bill ensures 
students will receive comprehensive counseling each year and before 
they agree to take out the loans.
  For the first time, low-income students receiving Pell grants will be 
included in the counseling, allowing them to maximize this opportunity 
for education vouchers.
  My amendment builds on the power of this legislation and is 
specifically aimed at parents who want to provide the best education 
for their child and must navigate the confusing maze of student aid 
options currently on the books.
  With my amendment, parents will be notified that their child may 
qualify for and should consider scholarships, grants, and Federal 
workstudy jobs prior to taking out any PLUS loans. These debt-free 
alternatives to borrowing exist, yet lack of awareness can lead to a 
costly missed opportunity.
  A workstudy program provides not only a source of income to cover the 
costs of college, but it can be a powerful educational experience and a 
complement to learning that takes place in the classroom.
  Additionally, my amendment ensures parent borrowers are aware that 
they can start paying off the loan while their child is still in school 
and can pay interest on the loan while it is in deferment.
  Student loan programs should encourage a quick and responsible path 
towards becoming debt-free and not incentivize borrowers to pay back as 
slowly as possible.
  My amendment in this legislation will equip students and families 
with greater financial awareness around the true cost of paying back 
their loans, protecting them from over-borrowing and improving loan 
repayment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition, although 
I am not opposed to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentlewoman from Oregon is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the gentleman from 
Minnesota for his amendment. It improves the bill, and I support its 
acceptance.
  Students may be eligible for many different forms of financial aid, 
and in our effort to improve financial counseling, we should make sure 
that appropriate disclosures and information are being shared with the 
borrowers based on the type of aid they are receiving.
  This amendment addresses Parent PLUS loans, loans that parents or 
guardians can take out to pay for the education of a dependent student. 
Parent PLUS loans have a higher interest rate than direct loans, and 
because they can cover unmet need up to the cost of attendance, the 
loan balance can grow rather quickly. As such, parents should be 
counseled that there may be other forms of aid that their student can 
take advantage of to help reduce the size of the Parent PLUS loan that 
is needed. A robust counseling program will also inform parents, as the 
gentleman stated, that there is no penalty to prepaying either the 
interest or the principal on these loans.
  Again, Mr. Chair, I support the gentleman's amendment because it 
improves the underlying legislation, I urge a ``yes'' vote, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Mr. LEWIS of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague as well 
for supporting this amendment.
  As students return to their classrooms this fall, parents across the 
country are wondering how they can provide the best opportunities to 
their children.
  Financing a higher education is one of the biggest financial 
decisions a family will make. It is essential they are equipped with 
the right information and meaningful counseling before they make this 
decision.
  My amendment ensures parents are able to consider all the options to 
pay for their student's education before they decide to take out a PLUS 
loan.

[[Page H7859]]

  With the right information, a great workstudy job, scholarship, or 
grant program will not be left on the table when parents make certain 
those decisions to go into debt are responsible ones.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and the 
underlying legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Lewis).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                  Amendment No. 5 Offered by Mr. Allen

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 5 
printed in part A of House Report 115-919.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 15, line 24, strike the period and quotation mark at 
     the end.
       Page 15, after line 24, insert the following:
       ``(7) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
     construed to prohibit an eligible institution from providing 
     additional information and counseling services to recipients 
     of Federal student aid under this title, provided that any 
     additional information and counseling services for recipients 
     of Federal student aid shall not preclude or be considered a 
     condition for disbursement of such aid.''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentleman 
from Georgia (Mr. Allen) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, H.R. 1635 makes important improvements to 
ensure that the Department of Education is doing its job when offering 
loans to our students for their continued education.
  Too many young people are coming out of school with a mountain of 
student loan debt without having understood the full implications of 
accepting such debt in the first place. Students receiving annual 
counseling about the obligations of Federal student loans is long 
overdue.
  However, it is imperative that institutions of higher education do 
their part to ensure that students consider Federal student loans as a 
last resort. In fact, one of the questions that I asked in a committee 
hearing is: Does anyone encourage students to work their way through 
college anymore?
  My amendment provides that nothing prohibits institutions from 
providing additional financial counseling above what is already 
included in the bill.
  When it comes to government-backed loans, the goal of every higher 
education institution should be to guarantee the success of their 
students rather than burdening them with debt they cannot repay.
  Many institutions are taking steps in the right direction to contain 
costs, but the higher education community needs to step it up to lower 
costs to ensure that our students are not graduating with an 
unreasonable amount of debt and without a plan to pay it back.
  The purpose of my amendment is to send a signal to the university 
system that it should do more than the minimum required by law to 
ensure students receive meaningful financial counseling.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge passage of my amendment, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I claim the time in opposition, although I 
am not opposed to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentlewoman from Oregon is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the gentleman from 
Georgia for his amendment. It improves the underlying bill, and I 
support its acceptance.
  I rise in support of the amendment to clarify that institutions have 
the ability to provide additional financial counseling beyond the 
requirements established in the underlying bill while making sure that 
the additional counseling will in no way preclude students from 
receiving their aid on time.
  Although the underlying bill does not prohibit institutions from 
providing this counseling, this amendment makes explicit the 
institution's ability to provide that additional support.
  Institutions know their students and the individual capacity of those 
students, and it is important to provide this flexibility so schools 
can provide more counseling as needed.
  Again, I support the gentleman's amendment, I urge a ``yes'' vote, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from Oregon for her 
support of this important amendment. I urge passage of my amendment, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Allen).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                Amendment No. 6 Offered by Mrs. Hartzler

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 6 
printed in part A of House Report 115-919.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 15, line 24, strike the period and quotation mark at 
     the end.
       Page 15, after line 24, insert the following:
       ``(7) Counseling sessions conducted in person.--
     Institutions of higher education may encourage individuals to 
     attend in-person loan counseling sessions under paragraph 
     (1)(A).''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentlewoman 
from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Missouri.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an amendment that 
would encourage colleges and universities to offer face-to-face loan 
counseling. As students arrive at colleges and university campuses this 
fall, many will soon find themselves immediately in debt. According to 
the Department of Education, a typical student borrower takes out 
roughly $6,600 in a single year and averages $22,000 in debt by 
graduation.
  Alarmingly, default rates are at an all-time high. What is worse is 
that many students report not even remembering their student loan 
counseling. We need to change that.
  I have heard from schools in my district, including many community 
colleges, about the need for more robust, personal loan counseling. 
Many students take out loans and have difficulty finding the type of 
jobs necessary to pay those loans off and become so saddled with debt 
that it causes them to delay many of life's milestones, like getting 
married or buying a house.
  The type of personalized counseling my amendment encourages should 
include a sit-down discussion about the current demands of the job 
market in relation to what the student is studying and their realistic 
ability to repay the financial obligations they are taking. Students 
should know what they are getting into and not be at an immediate 
economic disadvantage at graduation.
  Schools should do their best to educate their students about their 
obligations and guide them toward financial literacy and stability, and 
this cannot effectively be accomplished through the click of a button.
  I applaud my colleague from Kentucky for offering this important 
piece of legislation to enhance the information that students receive, 
and I thank the Rules Committee for making my amendment on personal 
loan counseling in order.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chair, I claim the time in opposition, although I 
am not opposed to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentlewoman from Oregon is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Chairman, I am supportive of this amendment because 
it simply allows institutions to encourage in-person counseling, but I 
would be remiss if I did not state that this provision is not 
necessary. The underlying bill already permits institutions to provide 
either in-person counseling or use the consumer-tested online tool that 
would be created by the Department of Education.
  H.R. 1635, the underlying bill, was written intentionally in this way 
to provide flexibility to institutions. Some institutions will be able 
to provide high quality in-person counseling, but underresourced 
institutions may find it difficult to do so.

[[Page H7860]]

  This is why the bill contains provisions to have the Department of 
Education create a standardized tool to ensure at least a base level of 
quality within and across institutions. Because the success of in-
person counseling is informed not only by the content but also by the 
individual providing the counseling, this online tool will make sure 
that students receive the same caliber of counseling regardless of 
where the counseling is provided or who provides the counseling.
  To confirm effectiveness, the tool will be tested by students, 
financial aid advisers, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders.
  Again, in-person counseling would be fine and best for some students 
when the institution can provide it, but having that flexibility is 
important as well.
  Mr. Chair, I do urge support of this amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentlewoman's support. 
With total student loan debt of over $1.3 trillion and rising and over 
44 million individuals still saddled with student debt, we must take 
action.

                              {time}  1530

  The student loan crisis looms over America's economy, and we must 
make sure that students are aware of the financial obligations they are 
agreeing to and cognizant of their ability to repay those obligations. 
Personalized, face-to-face counseling can be an effective tool to 
address this crisis.
  Mr. Chairman, I ask for support of my amendment, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 7 Offered by Ms. Jayapal

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 7 
printed in part A of House Report 115-919.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 16, line 13, strike ``(iv) through (xii), 
     respectively'' and insert ``(v) through (xiii), 
     respectively''.
       Page 16, line 14, strike ``before clause (iv)'' and insert 
     ``before clause (v)''.
       Page 17, line 2, strike the quotation mark and semicolon at 
     the end.
       Page 17, after line 2, insert the following:
       ``(iv) an explanation that the borrower may be approached 
     during the repayment process by third-party student debt 
     relief companies, that they should use caution in any such 
     dealings, and that the typical services provided by these 
     companies are already offered to borrowers free of charge 
     through servicers;'';
       Page 17, line 3, strike ``in clause (iv)'' and insert ``in 
     clause (v)''.
       Page 17, line 13, strike ``in clause (ix)'' and insert ``in 
     clause (x)''.
       Page 17, line 20, strike ``in clause (x)'' and insert ``in 
     clause (xi)''.
       Page 17, line 23, strike ``in clauses (xi) and (xii)'' and 
     insert ``in clauses (xii) and (xiii)''.
       Page 18, line 1, strike ``(xiii)'' and insert ``(xiv)''.
       Page 18, line 6, strike ``(xiv)'' and insert ``(xv)''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 1049, the gentlewoman 
from Washington (Ms. Jayapal) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Washington.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of my amendment, 
which simply adds to the requirements for student loan exit counseling 
in the underlying bill.
  I would like to thank Congressman Guthrie and Congresswoman Bonamici 
for their leadership in crafting this bill and for their consideration 
of this amendment.
  With my amendment, exit counseling would include an explicit warning 
about third-party, fraudulent companies that often call, email, text, 
send letters, and use aggressive advertising to reach students during 
the repayment process.
  These so-called debt relief companies sometimes say they can help 
settle your Federal student loans, warn borrowers that forgiveness 
programs could end soon, and sometimes even pose as being affiliated 
with the U.S. Government.
  These companies generally do not offer any relief at all and charge 
for services that are already provided for free by loan servicers. 
Often, these companies leave borrowers worse off, severely damage their 
credit scores, or make changes to loan repayment plans that they didn't 
authorize.
  I think Republicans and Democrats both agree that these are scams, 
pure and simple. These same companies who once preyed on underwater 
mortgage holders have now moved on to lure student loan borrowers 
simply trying to pay off their debts, provide for themselves or their 
families, and live a better life. It is hard enough for borrowers to 
navigate the complicated maze of repayment options and obtain sound 
guidance from their servicer without scammers coming in to blow up the 
whole thing.
  What is more, many of these companies have already had to pay massive 
settlements to our government for scamming consumers. The Federal Trade 
Commission and State attorneys general across the country, including 
from my home State of Washington, have brought cases against these 
scammers who have used deception and false promises of relief to take 
more than $95 million in illegal upfront fees from American consumers 
over the years.
  In 2014, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against a company called Student 
Loan Processing.US for deceiving consumers about its fee structure and 
misrepresenting its affiliation. It led to the distribution of hundreds 
of thousands of dollars back to defrauded consumers.
  I am very grateful for the opportunity to offer this critical 
consumer protection amendment that helps empower students to make sound 
financial decisions. I do recognize that enhancing financial literacy 
is just a small sliver of the legislation we need to chip away at our 
student debt crisis.
  Right now, I know that we need to take that next step in the crisis 
with bold policy solutions to address that $1.4 trillion in student 
loan debt that is dragging down our economy. But at this moment, Madam 
Chair, I commend my colleagues for this practical step, and I urge 
support of my amendment.
  Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Madam Chair, I rise to claim the time in opposition to 
this amendment, but I do not intend to oppose it.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mrs. Hartzler). Without objection, the gentleman 
from Kentucky is recognized for 5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Madam Chair, this proposal will make sure students are 
warned about third-party debt relief companies that prey on borrowers.
  They frequently provide inaccurate or misleading information and 
often charge excessive fees for services that can be received without 
cost through federally contracted student loan servicers. As my friend 
said, Federal student loan servicers employ dedicated professionals 
equipped to help borrowers navigate the loan repayment process and 
provide the assistance they need free of charge.
  This amendment will ensure borrowers are armed with the information 
they need to better protect their finances and help make wise decisions 
as they begin to repay their Federal student loans.
  I thank my friend from Washington for offering this amendment, and I 
urge my colleagues to support it and the underlying bill.
  Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Chair, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman 
from Oregon (Ms. Bonamici).
  Ms. BONAMICI. Madam Chair, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. As 
someone with a consumer protection background, I thank her for her 
amendment.
  It has already been stated during the debate that there is close to 
$1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. It should be no 
surprise that there are companies and individuals poised to make money 
on the backs of student borrowers through fraudulent means.
  In recent years, there has been an explosion of third-party debt 
relief scams targeting student loan borrowers. These businesses claim 
that, for a fee, they can cut through the red tape for borrowers and 
get their student loan house in order. They misrepresent services, make 
promises they can't keep, and charge for activities that cost nothing.

[[Page H7861]]

  State and Federal consumer protection groups have already started 
cracking down on these groups. State attorneys general, the Federal 
Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have 
either sounded the alarm or conducted enforcement actions targeting 
these fraudulent companies.
  We should use this opportunity in this bill when conducting loan 
counseling to remind students that their loan servicer is paid through 
the Department of Education to provide assistance with these services 
free of charge. They should be wary of any third-party company 
attempting to facilitate repayment of their Federal student loans.
  It is a commonsense addition to the bill, and I thank the gentlewoman 
for offering the amendment.
  Again, I support this amendment, and I urge a ``yes'' vote.
  Ms. JAYAPAL. Madam Chair, I wanted to again reiterate my thanks to 
both Congressman Guthrie and Congresswoman Bonamici, and urge support 
of my amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. Jayapal).
  The amendment was agreed to.
  The Acting CHAIR. There being no further amendments, under the rule, 
the Committee rises.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Duncan of Tennessee) having assumed the chair, Mrs. Hartzler, Acting 
Chair of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, 
reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill 
(H.R. 1635) to amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher 
Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes, and, pursuant to House 
Resolution 1049, she reported the bill back to the House with sundry 
amendments adopted in the Committee of the Whole.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the rule, the previous question is 
ordered.
  Is a separate vote demanded on any amendment reported from the 
Committee of the Whole? If not, the Chair will put them en gros.
  The amendments were agreed to.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the engrossment and third 
reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.


                           Motion to Recommit

  Mr. LAMB. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?
  Mr. LAMB. I am opposed in its current form.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to 
recommit.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Mr. Lamb moves to recommit the bill H.R. 1635 to the 
     Committee on Education and the Workforce with instructions to 
     report the same back to the House forthwith with the 
     following amendment:
       Page 21, line 22, insert ``status as a recipient of 
     assistance under a tuition assistance program conducted by 
     the Department of Defense under section 1784a or 2007 of 
     title 10, United States Code, or other authorities available 
     to the Department of Defense or veterans' education benefits 
     (as defined in section 480),'' after ``income,''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is 
recognized for 5 minutes on his motion.
  Mr. LAMB. Mr. Speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill, which 
will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the 
bill will immediately proceed to final passage, as amended.
  Mr. Speaker, I have been here for 5 months now. I have met a lot of 
people who still want to work hard, do the right thing, and, most 
importantly, get things done. This is true on both sides of the aisle. 
But the problem is that, even when we work together and we are close to 
finally getting something done, the leadership of this House can deny 
us a vote on bills that are already written, on bills that are 
supported by both sides, and on bills that are good for the American 
people. They deny us a vote.
  Mr. Speaker, this amendment is a perfect example. I offered an 
amendment to this bill. The amendment would help make sure that 
veterans are getting the information they need about student loans. 
This bill does not recognize veterans. It does say that, down the road, 
we have to study its effects and that we should look at race; we should 
look at ethnicity; we should look at gender; we should look at income; 
and we should look at people with disabilities. I agree with all of 
that. But we should also look at the effect on veterans.
  Veterans are different from other students. Many students rely on 
their parents, but many veterans are parents. Many students are taking 
out their first loans, but many veterans already have mortgages. Many 
students are leaving home for the first time, while many veterans are 
coming home from tours of service all over the world.
  We need to know if veterans are getting the information they need 
about their student loans, in addition to these other groups.
  I know that Members of both parties agree with that. I met with 
several Republicans yesterday, and not a single one raised a single 
objection to this amendment. But then we find out that leadership will 
not allow a vote on this amendment. Why is that?
  Well, Mr. Speaker, this motion to recommit will allow us a vote. It 
will allow us to vote for veterans.
  Our student loan system is stacked against veterans, just like it is 
stacked against so many of our fellow Americans. We thank our veterans 
for their service all the time, using words. Today, let's thank them 
with action. Let's thank them with the force of law. Let's thank them 
by doing our jobs.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge support of this motion to recommit, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the motion to 
recommit.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Kentucky is recognized 
for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to be here. We 
all support veterans.
  Under this bill, every veteran receives the same enhanced counseling 
provided to all borrowers. Looking at the study and before we determine 
the right elements of a new study to ensure we are providing the best 
service, we should pause and, I suggest, work with our Veterans' 
Affairs Committee to make sure we address the totality of the issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge the underlying bill's support. I urge my 
colleagues to vote ``no'' on the motion to recommit and support the 
final bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the previous question is 
ordered on the motion to recommit.
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to recommit.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. LAMB. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

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