Postings

Protect the Pell Grant during and after the COVID-19 crisis
As lawmakers work on providing economic relief to American families amid the COVID-19 crisis and move forward with the FY21 appropriations process, it is critical that they invest in and protect the Pell Grant program - the nation's cornerstone investment in higher education - to ensure students have the funds to pursue postsecondary education during this emergency and in its aftermath.

U.S. Dept. of Education urged to protect students as higher education programs move online
COVID-19 has made it more important than ever to maintain strong oversight of distance education programs and their use of taxpayer dollars. Significantly changing or weakening government regulations presents a serious risk to students. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, coalition advocates urged the Department to maintain basic safeguards in distance education and innovation regulations, which is particularly critical given the number of schools that have recently moved to online offerings as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Congress: Pass a clean budget for FY2021
Advocates called on Congress to pass an upcoming federal budget that funds the things that Americans care about, not undo essential consumer and environmental safeguards through policy riders. Policy riders are attached to legislation and rarely have anything to do with the bill. In fact, most riders are handouts to big corporations and special favors for interest groups that could not become law on their own merits. As Congress prepares the federal budget for fiscal year 2021, no appropriations titles, package of bills, or continuing resolutions should pass if they contain poison pill policy riders that go against the public interest, including policies that ensure safe and healthy food, restrain Wall Street abuses, provide access to justice and fair housing, and guarantee access to safe healthcare.

Congress steps in to overturn DeVos borrower defense rule
In September, the Department of Education released a new version of the "Borrower Defense to Repayment" rule that would make it virtually impossible for students cheated by their college to cancel their student loans. Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Susie Lee have introduced a Congressional Review Act challenge to repeal this rule and restore stronger student protections put in place in a 2016 Borrower Defense rule.

The sale of .org a big concern for non-profit organizations
A private equity firm will soon run the internet’s top domain name extension for non-profits after purchasing the non-profit organization that runs it. Millions of non-profits around the world rely on .org domain. Yet, the Internet Society, the American nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in internet-related standards, decided to sell it, causing concern that fees to renew domain names will drastically increase in order for the firm to recoup its billion-dollar investment. Proponents of the deal reasoned that competition will keep renewal prices in check, but non-profit associations with established web addresses are wary to risk changing their web address and losing their online identity—in doing so, organizations may not be found by clients and donors under a new web address.

A new bill aimed at helping students lacks robust borrower protections
Consumer Action joined over 40 organizations in a letter to Senator Lamar Alexander to express concerns regarding his recently introduced bill, the Student Aid Improvement Act. Unfortunately, the bill fails to include any provisions that hold low-quality and sometimes predatory colleges accountable, and better protect students and taxpayers. Any reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) must include robust consumer protections.

Further cuts to Pell will put college out of reach for many low-income families
Consumer Action joined a letter to Senate appropriators urging them to oppose the overall Labor-HHS-Education spending allocation and the accompanying proposed $1.3 billion rescission from the Pell grant reserve fund. Instead, advocates urged the Senate to fully retain all current Pell funds where they belong - in the Pell Grant program.

New College Affordability Coalition releases new principles for the Higher Education Act
As Congress plans to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), a new coalition has formed to advocate for needed federal investments and protections in order to promote more equitable outcomes within our higher education system.

DeVos clears the way for more fraudulent schools at taxpayers’ expense
The Trump administration proposed an overhaul of federal standards for college accreditors, arguing that the current rules stifle innovation. Advocates are warning that the proposed changes weaken existing oversight and give low-performing schools even more leeway to defraud students and taxpayers.

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