Important Education Legislation
On June 30th, the President signed into law the temporary extension of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The articles included in the act have been extended through July 31st. This extension marks the second short-term extension this year. The fate of the act remains uncertain; however, it is highly unlikely the legislation will not continue to be reauthorized.
The "Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008" was approved by the House with a strong bipartisan majority of 382-27. Subsequently the bill was approved by the Senate via unanimous consent. On May 7th, the President signed the legislation into law. The Act outlines emergency measures that could be implemented if evidence shows that the student loan market is seizing up. The White House has indicated that it supports key provisions of the bill and is willing to work with Congress to craft a law both branches of government could accept.
The bill authorizes the federal government to designate, and even provide capital to, lenders as a last resort to students who are unable to get loans from other firms participating in the government's loan program. It provides for up to 35 government-sponsored entities to begin lending to students as an interim measure if insufficient capital is deemed to be in the marketplace. The legislation also instructs the Secretary of Education to increase lending directly to students.
The bill also provides financial assistance directly to students and their families by extending the amount that students are allowed to borrow from the federal government by $2,000 per year. Parents of dependent children would be given six months after their children graduate to start paying the borrowed money back. The bill allows parents who have fallen delinquent on their mortgages to qualify for financial assistance.
Ray Quintero (firstname.lastname@example.org)