Spending bill agreement could bring changes to student loans

With just hours to spare before the deadline, House Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement on a $1.1 trillion budget spending bill on Thursday night, avoiding a repeat of last year's government shutdown. On Friday, the bill moved to the Senate, where the expectation is that it should pass somewhat more easily.

U.S. News & World Report looked at the changes that could be in store for student lending as a result of the passage of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution. The total amount of education spending remains largely the same as it was in 2014, but there are three notable takeaways:

  • The return of ATB: Ability to benefit is a provision by which students without a high school diploma or GED can obtain federal financial aid for higher education by proving their aptitude through other means, such as a specific test. After being eliminated in 2012, ATB is included in the new resolution.
  • Specific program adjustments: Funding for most federal aid programs remains close to 2014 levels, with some exceptions. The $4 billion Pell Grant fund loses $300 million, which goes to, among others, the Federal Work-Study Program and new funds for disabled students and veterans.
  • Major changes remain on ice: The sweeping changes of the bill's early drafts fell by the wayside. The Pay as You Earn (PAYE) plan and college ratings system, therefore, remain in place at least for one more year.

Personal loan software helps lenders track student loan payments and keep up with changes to educational finance rules. Graveco Software's Contract Collector is designed to meet the accounting, collection management and reporting needs of financial aid lenders.