Trump’s vision for higher education is limiting student loans and prioritizing for-profit colleges he Trump administration is also proposing forgiving all undergraduate student loans after 15 years.

Congress is already signaling that its big legislative priority for the year is reauthorizing the Higher Education Act — and the Trump White House is already complicating it.

In a recently released set of priorities, the Trump administration laid down its opening bid: It wants to set limits on the amount of loan money students can borrow and overhaul the current system to accredit colleges and universities. It’s also throwing a controversial issue like “free speech on campus” into the mix.

Overall, higher education has taken a back seat in Trump’s agenda, which has focused largely on immigration, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and cutting taxes. But with a retiring senator who was a former education secretary leading the charge, Congress has its eye on renewing the Higher Education Act for the first time since 2008. The White House is now getting more involved — with senior adviser Ivanka Trump leading the initiative.


Please join us for a webinar, Guidance on Borrower Defense Regulations

On March 15, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education released much anticipated guidance detailing how the agency would go about implementing its 2016 “borrower defense” rule. As indicated in the Department’s announcement, the 2016 version of this complex and controversial regulation was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017, but was delayed by the current administration. Following an October 2018 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the delay was set aside, and the 2016 rule took effect. This rule impacts all sectors of higher education, and has been labeled “significant guidance” under the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices.

On Wednesday, March 27, Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Practice will host a special 90-minute webinar examining the new borrower defense guidance in detail. The webinar will address each major component of the guidance, including implementation of the borrower defense framework, institutional reporting requirements under the revised financial responsibility rules, and the use of pre-dispute arbitration and class action waivers. The presentation will be led by Aaron Lacey, leader of the Firm’s Higher Education practice. In October 2017, Aaron was selected by the Department to serve as one of 17 negotiators charged with overhauling the borrower defense rule.



Finally, in November 2016, Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Practice offered four, detailed, 90-minute webinars on the 2016 borrower defense rule. The recordings of all four webinars are still available free and on demand on our website, for those who may wish to revisit the various aspects of the regulation. Individuals looking for the text of the 2016 rule can access the official version on the Federal Register website.

New York’s DREAM Act is a reality, but challenges remain for getting undocumented students to apply for financial aid

Five years after fleeing a violent militant group in Nigeria, Ifeanyi Ejiogu is on the pathway to earning asylum in the United States. Still, the Bronx high school senior’s first instinct when meeting new people is to watch every word.

That fear is a major concern for advocates, educators, and students who are celebrating the recent passage of the Jose Peralta New York State DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students to receive financial aid to attend New York colleges. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill, which comes with a recommended $27 million for tuition assistance, by April.

New York’s DREAM Act is a reality, but challenges remain for getting undocumented students to apply for financial aid

DREAM Act: NY lawmakers approve tuition aid for undocumented immigrants

State lawmakers on Wednesday passed the DREAM Act, a bill that allows undocumented immigrants to access state financial aid, including the Tuition Assistance Program, to pay for college tuition.



Shopping Sheeting News – Metrics Available – New Beta Verio Released


Posted Date: January 16, 2019

Author: Office of Postsecondary Education

Subject: 2019-2020 College Financing Plan (Shopping Sheet)

In July 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet (now the College Financing Plan) format and asked institutions to voluntarily commit to supplying financial aid information to students in a way that could be better understood and compared.

However, despite the commitment to using the standardized format, we have heard a number of concerns about elements of the template that could be improved to make it more user friendly to institutions and students.  We have also reviewed the NASFAA report No Clear Winner:  Consumer Testing of Financial Aid Award Letters as well as comments that have been submitted to  As a result, we have developed a revised format that includes the following changes:

1 We are changing the name of the template from Financial Aid Shopping Sheet to College Financing Plan to more accurately reflect that loans may be a significant part of the student’s investment, and to emphasize to students that they are making a financial transaction when enrolling in an institution.
2 We are introducing the College Financing Plan template this year as part of a beta testing protocol.  While institutions are not required to use the updated template, we hope that some will use it in their financial aid packaging in order to tell us what improvements could be made before rolling this out in final form next year.

For those institutions which choose to test the new format this year, we ask that you submit any comments or suggestions to  no later than April 1, 2019.

As we have done in the past, attached to this Electronic Announcement are all components needed by institutions to complete institutional College Financing Plans (i.e., HTML specifications and the institutional metric data file, as well as the technical guide and a set of Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs).

The format of the College Financing Plan will be updated in 2020-2021 to include additional data elements as well as a new responsive design and the ability to customize the colors of the College Financing Plan to match those of your institution. ED has made a preview of the new College Financing Plan format available this year so institutions can review the changes, provide feedback and prepare for the changes in store for the 2020-2021 College Financing Plan.  We are still working to develop a format and additional data elements that are more appropriate for graduate and professional school students, and we welcome your comments on how best to meet the needs of those students.

HTML Specifications:

Institutions and their software providers may use the attached HTML specifications to produce and populate the College Financing Plan, using the applicable fields from their existing data systems. The HTML specifications include a “download” button on the College Financing Plan to allow students to download their student aid offer information into a machine-readable format (XML). This XML layout is also attached. We encourage institutions providing students their College Financing Plan in electronic format to include this feature. Institutions that are delivering the College Financing Plan in print form may want to remove the “download” button.

For convenience, a PDF version of the College Financing Plan is also attached.

Institutional Metric Data File:

The student information on the College Financing Plan is populated using the applicable fields from institutions’ existing data systems. The data and information necessary to populate the institutional metrics section of the College Financing Plan—the graduation rate, the loan repayment rate, and the median borrowing figures — are provided in the attached files. The institutional metrics data file is updated on an annual basis. Data used to populate the metrics on the College Financing Plan comes from ED’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), through the College Scorecard. Therefore, accurate institutional reporting to IPEDS and NSLDS is necessary to ensure that correct information is populated within the College Financing Plan metric data file and, ultimately, made available to students.

We thank you for your consideration in providing feedback on and adopting the College Financing Plan. If you plan to adopt the College Financing Plan for the 2019-2020 academic year or wish to provide feedback, please contact us at


2019-2020 College Financing Plan FAQ, PDF Format, 437KB, 5 Pages


Institutional Metrics Data, Excel Format, 491KB

2019-2020 Data File Schema, Excel Format, 11KB

College Financing Plan

2019-2020 Annotated College Financing Plan, PDF Format, 1MB, 1 Page

2019-2020 College Financing Plan HTML Specification, ZIP Format, 64KB

2019-2020 College Financing Plan XML, XML Format, 1KB

2019-2020 College Financing Plan Technical Guide, PDF Format, 1.2MB, 15 Pages

2019-2020 College Financing Plan Template, PDF Format, 3.8MB, 2 Pages

Responsive Preview

2019-2020 Annotated College Financing Plan Responsive Preview, PDF Format, 1.1MB, 1 Page

2019-2020 College Financing Plan Responsive Preview HTML Specification, ZIP Format, 14KB

2019-2020 College Financing Plan Responsive Preview XML (Coming Soon)

2019-2020 College Financing Plan Responsive Preview Technical Guide, PDF Format, 1.2MB, 16 Pages

2019-2020 College Financing Plan Responsive Preview Template, PDF Format, 131KB, 2 Pages