The PROSPER Act: What People Are Really Saying (Continued)

Under the so-called “PROSPER Act” (H.R. 4508), for-profit colleges and corporate interests are the clear winners. Students and working families are the clear losers. Don’t just take our word for it, we have received more than fifty letters from organizations who oppose H.R. 4508.

Association of American Universities: “As drafted, the House plan is seriously flawed. It seeks to eliminate subsidized loans, on which nearly six million undergraduate students depend each year. It would eliminate the supplemental education opportunity grant – a program that requires universities to have “skin-in-the-game” by supplementing federal dollars, and is proven to boost completion rates for America’s neediest students. Perhaps most alarming, this plan would get rid of student loan programs that put graduate and professional studies within reach for many, conflicting with our country’s long-term interest of producing highly-skilled and educated talent, particularly in areas of national need.”

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education: “We are disappointed with the elimination of Title II of current law focused on Teacher Quality Enhancement, the TEACH grants, and key loan forgiveness programs. At a time when the profession is facing declining enrollments, a diversity gap between teachers and students, recruitment and retention challenges, as well as teacher shortages across the nation, the removal of federal supports hinders the profession’s ability to address these challenges.”

American Council on Education: “The primary goal of any reauthorization should be improving federal programs that support students. However, by any metric, this bill is worse for students. If enacted, students would need to borrow more, pay more to borrow and pay still more to repay their loans.”

Americans for Financial Reform: “The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act should be a real opportunity to help students; instead, the PROSPER Act makes their lives worse in nearly every aspect. It raises repayment costs for struggling borrowers, lets institutions that scam students off the hook, and narrows relief for defrauded students.”

CAST: “The proposed Title II cuts in the PROSPER Act would severely weaken teacher training and ultimately, negatively impact students with diverse learning needs.”

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates: “COPAA cannot support the bill because it both eliminates vital programs essential to the success of students with disabilities and lacks key provisions which COPAA views as essential to a reauthorized HEA.”

CLASP: “The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act would move backward on equity, affordability, and connections to work and careers. Moreover, the PROSPER Act reverses policies to remedy fraud and abuse by bad actors. Indeed, the act could even set off a new wave of such behavior among institutions that harm low-income students and students of color who are seeking the credentials they need to advance their careers.”

The Education Trust: “The proposed bill would move our nation’s higher education system backward — creating more barriers for students of color and students from low-income families to succeed. The bill limits access for low-income students and makes college less affordable. It also fails to protect our most vulnerable students from predatory, fraudulent institutions.”

National Association for College Admission Counseling: “it’s clear that proposed reductions and modifications to student assistance programs will reduce supports for those seeking federal assistance to pay for college. In addition, the legislation ignores prior instances of fraud and abuse within federal student aid programs—incidents that have cost taxpayers billions in lost federal aid funding over the last two decades and resulted in substantial harm to students.”

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators: “Graduate students also stand to lose in this bill. We are concerned about the reduction in available loan funds for graduate students and seek to better understand to what extent the proposed loan limits would meet the needs of graduate students. Perplexingly, the bill proposes an increase for work-study, but then cuts graduate students out of the program.”

Human Rights Campaign: “HRC strongly opposes provisions that would allow discrimination as well as provisions that undermine protections against sexual harassment and assault on campus. The PROSPER Act contains several provisions that would allow for the use of religion to justify otherwise prohibited discrimination that could negatively impact LGBTQ students.”

National Consumer Law Center: “If passed, this Act would make it more difficult and more expensive for millions of Americans to repay their student loans. It would also demolish safeguards that prevent low-quality schools from using abusive and predatory tactics to line their pockets with taxpayer dollars at the expense of students who are working to build a better life for their families.”

National Disability Rights Network: “NDRN is alarmed that H.R. 4508 walks back access to and necessary supports for higher education for students with disabilities in a number of crucial ways. Specifically, the bill eliminates several programs that are critical to the success of students with disabilities and the educators who instruct them in K-12 and postsecondary programs.”

The Institute for College Access & Success: “Simply put, this bill will make it both harder and costlier for students to earn a high-quality certificate or degree.”

Young Invincibles: “The PROSPER Act puts forward several proposals that will make it harder, not easier, for students to access affordable higher education. First, it does nothing to meaningfully address the cost of college, like increasing the value of the Pell Grant or incentivizing states to invest more in their public higher education systems. On top of that, it severely limits debt relief for student loan borrowers.”

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