Congress has passed and President Obama has signed a bill that provides "technical corrections" to the Higher Education Act, which Congress renewed last year. In addition to offering clarification on several points and correcting minor errors, the Technical Corrections bill also makes some useful changes to federal student financial aid.
Minor clarifications include:
- Updating the list of veteran's benefits not counted as financial aid to include benefits from the new GI Bill that goes into effect this year
- Stating that lenders can provide both entrance and exit loan counseling to students
- Setting 2010-2011 as the year in which the EZ FAFSA will need to be implemented
More substantial changes include:
- Authorizing the Department of Education to buy up rehabilitated student loans (loans that have gone into default and since had consistent payments made on them) under the provisions outlined in ECASLA--previously students who had defaulted on loans and since resumed payments would find their loans stuck in default status due to the credit crunch.
- Creating a new grant program for dependents of soldiers killed in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001
- Making Pell-eligible dependents of soldiers killed in Afghanistan or Iraq after September 11, 2001 eligible for an automatic 0 expected family contribution on the FAFSA
- Changing the information schools must provide to lenders when students apply for private loans
The Chronicle of Higher Education has more information on the HEA Technical Corrections legislation here.