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Current Legislative Priorities
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Legislative Priorities for the 115th Congress (2017-2018)

The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) and its members assist students and families
develop, pay for, and attain their educational goals so they can pursue meaningful and rewarding work and
become contributing members of society. As the nation’s largest higher education finance trade
association, NCHER helps shape policies governing federal and private student aid programs on behalf of
students and families. The following are NCHER’s priorities for the 115th Congress:


Assisting Students and Families in Making Smart Postsecondary Education Decisions

  • Encouraging states and/or institutions to provide face-to-face financial education and counseling services to students, borrowers, and families to help them make smart decisions.
  • Strengthening existing entrance and exit counseling requirements.
  • Promoting the use of 529 Plans.

Improving Federal Student Aid Programs

  • Simplifying and streamlining the myriad of student loan repayment plans.
  • Dramatically reducing the number of questions on the FAFSA.
  • Providing authority to financial aid administrators to lower annual and aggregate student loan limits.
  • Capping the amount parents can borrow under the PLUS program.

Expanding Access to Loan Rehabilitation

  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) believes defaulted borrowers need additional help to repay their student loans.
  • The Higher Education Act provides all defaulted borrowers with the opportunity to rehabilitate their federal student loans, so they can repay their financial obligations and repair their tarnished credit histories.
  • Congress should recognize that some individuals need additional help and allow defaulted borrowers to rehabilitate their loans twice in order to help struggling borrowers.

Preserving Account Maintenance Fees

  • We urge Congress to oppose any effort to eliminate the payment of Account Maintenance Fees for student loan guaranty agencies as part of a budget agreement, and authorize the continued payment of AMF.
  • State and nonprofit agencies must be allowed to continue to provide critical services to students and families to help them repay their student loans and promote college access and success in postsecondary education.

Providing for an Orderly WindDown of the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program

  • Providing just-in-time reinsurance payments to facilitate cash flow into the Federal Fund.
  • Removing the 45 percent cap on Federal Direct Consolidation Loans.
  • Developing a specific process for those guaranty agencies interested in relinquishing their FFELP portfolios.

Promoting Better Loan Servicing for Student and Parent Borrowers

  • Ensuring that the upcoming student loan servicing procurement includes the participation of multiple service providers and has meaningful and sustainable opportunities for state and nonprofit organizations to help struggling borrowers.
  • Creating a Common Manual to improve the consistency of servicing for borrowers.
  • Ensuring federal law and contractual requirements preempt state and local rules that impact federal student loan servicing.
  • Allowing servicers to have access to the NDNH.

Protecting Students and Families by Combatting Debt Relief Scams

  • Designating a single federal agency to coordinate efforts against student loan debt relief scams.
  • Maintaining a list of all third-party debt relief companies, including a list of commonly-used tactics, and work with technology providers to eliminate fraudulent advertisers.
  • Requiring federal student loan servicers to identify and track student loan debt relief scams and promptly report them to the designated federal agency.

Promoting the Availability of Private Education Loans

  • Removing preferred lender list restrictions.
  • Mandating that Direct Loan borrowers receive accurate disclosure of the cost of their loans.
  • Permitting private education loan lenders to remove the default record upon the rehabilitation of a private education loan.


Promoting TaxExempt Financing of Education Loans to Reduce Costs for Students and Families

  • Supporting H.R. 480, the “Student Loan Opportunity Act,” which allows 150(d) organizations to issue tax-exempt qualified student loan bonds to finance private education loans.
  • Clarifying tax-exempt bonds used to make private loans that refinance existing tax-exempt private loans are not advance refunding bonds.
  • Eliminating the state volume cap on private activity bonds while preserving tax-exempt financing of education loans.


Using Technology to Help Struggling Borrowers

  • Congress should urge the FCC to reconsider its final rules and strike a more appropriate balance between protecting consumers and allowing reasonable and responsible use of dialer technology to reach borrowers on their cell phones to provide them with needed assistance.
  • In its place, the FCC should allow at least 12 call attempts or three live contacts over a 30-day period by federal student loan servicers and collectors. It should also rescind the one-call attempt limit for calls to reassigned wireless numbers.
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