Newsroom

Legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law

Bipartisan legislation led by Senator Murray will permanently fund HBCUs and minority serving institutions, after funding lapsed at the end of September

Legislation amends the FUTURE Act to include FAFSA Act, legislation that would simplify FAFSA and streamline income-driven repayment 

Senator Murray: “I’m also pleased this legislation streamlines federal student aid for more than 20 million students applying on the FAFSA, and nearly 8 million borrowers”

(Washington, D.C.) – Following passage in the U.S. House of Representatives this week, the Senate passed a bipartisan deal led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, to permanently fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs), including Northwest Indian College in Washington state. The legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill, which amended the FUTURE Act, also includes the FAFSA Act, a bill that will simplify and streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 20 million American families by eliminating duplicative paperwork between the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Education. The FAFSA Act will also help nearly 8 million borrowers in income-driven repayment plans seamlessly stay in their plans each year without needing to go through complicated annual recertification.

“While this funding should never have lapsed in the first place, I’m glad that we were able to reach a deal that provides minority-serving institutions with the certainty of funding they deserve—and I truly appreciate the work done on both sides of the aisle to get us to this point,” Senator Murray said. “By permanently extending funding for these valuable institutions and streamlining our student aid system, this deal is a win-win. Now, I look forward to continuing to work with my Republican colleagues on efforts to overhaul the Higher Education Act in a comprehensive, bipartisan way that does right by all students.”

Led by Senator Murray and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), Senate Democrats have been fighting for months to secure funding for the HBCUs and MSIs by calling for passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would extend funding for HBCUs and MSIs for two years. Following months of Republican opposition, last week, Senate education leaders reached a bipartisan deal to permanently extend funding for these critical universities with the savings from the FAFSA Act, legislation which passed the Senate unanimously last year. This bill would create the first and only permanent funding outside of Pell Grants and student loans—to support students and colleges. This week, the House passed an amended version of the bill, which unanimously passed the Senate hours later, sending the final bill to the President’s desk.

Washington state is home to several MSIs, including Northwest Indian College, the only accredited tribal college serving the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, as well as several Hispanic Serving Institutions, including Columbia Basin College and Heritage University. Nearly 150,000 student loan borrowers in Washington state are enrolled in income-driven repayment, and more than 370,000 Washingtonians fill out a FAFSA each year, all of whom will benefit from the legislation’s changes to simplify financial aid paperwork.

“I’m also pleased this legislation streamlines federal student aid for more than 20 million students applying on the FAFSA, and nearly 8 million borrowers,” said Senator Murray. “Our nation’s outdated and overly complicated financial aid system is forcing students and student loan borrowers to jump through too many hoops to access federal financial aid, verify the tax returns they’ve already filled out, and to get help if they’re struggling to pay their student loans.”

###