Congress Approves FUTURE Act
December 13, 2019

More than two months after the funding expired, Congress gave final approval Dec. 10 to the FUTURE Act, a bill that will restore and make permanent a $255 million per year funding stream for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority serving institutions (MSIs).

The House voted 319-96 to pass the bill Tuesday, and the Senate followed suit by unanimous consent a few hours later. The compromise bill hammered out in the Senate also streamlines the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by making it easier for the Department of Education to gather information directly from the IRS, cutting at least 22 questions from the form. The FAFSA simplifications are estimated to save $2.8 billion over a decade, which will go toward paying for the bill.

In addition, the measure simplifies the process borrowers use to repay income-driven student loans and provides for a small increase in Pell Grant funding.

Both the funding for MSIs and the simplified financial aid paperwork are significant achievements that will have tremendous benefits for students, families, and institutions, as ACE President Ted Mitchell said in a statement after the House vote. He noted that the bill “represents a bipartisan consensus that is always welcome but increasingly rare.”

The bill has been sent to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.