Senate Approves Compromise Measure to Extend MSI Funding, Simplify FAFSA
December 09, 2019

​The Senate last week approved an amendment to the House-passed FUTURE Act that would permanently restore the annual appropriation of $255 million for minority serving institutions that expired Sept. 30, as well as streamline both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the process borrowers use to repay income-driven student loans.

The amendment also provides for a small increase in the maximum Pell Grant award.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, unveiled the compromise solution Dec. 3. The House approved the FUTURE Act in September before the expiration deadline, but it had been stalled in the Senate over efforts to wrap it into a larger Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill. 

ACE and the higher education community strongly support all of the provisions in the amendment, which restores a vital funding stream for MSIs and make the process of paying for college significantly easier for students and their families.

However, the path forward in the House is not entirely clear—there may be objections from members of the Ways and Means Committee, who are concerned the FAFSA provisions could put students' data and privacy at risk. ACE is in the process of preparing a letter to the House, urging swift approval of the amended bill.

ACE Webinar on HEA reauthorization: FAFSA and income-based repayment are just two of the issues in play as Congress considers how to move forward on HEA reauthorization. Campus staff charged with understanding and complying with federal statutes and regulations can tune in tomorrow to a webinar on the topic featuring ACE Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle and Director of Government Relations Jon Fansmith.

Hartle and Fansmith also will hold a 30-minute question and answer session on HEA Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET exclusively on ACE Engage®, ACE's peer-to-peer online community and learning platform (click here to create a complimentary account).