Members of Congress are currently working on re-election campaigns to increase support for their party's candidates. This means that several bills, including many focusing on student loan debt, have been tabled until January. The next session of Congress, which will include members elected in November, will be expected to work with the new president in several areas, including student loan debt reliefOpens a New Window..
Discussion and voting on the bills may be on an individual basis, or be combined into the Higher Education Act. This act must be renewed on a five-year cycle, but despite the scheduled renewal for 2014, it has yet to be voted on.
While waiting for a vote on the Higher Education Act, several committees have been assigned legislation related to student loans. Some of these bills will never be released from committee. The House of Representatives, though, has a few bills that are currently ready for a full House vote.
The bills include the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act. This mandates that students receive annual financial aid and loan counselingOpens a New Window. rather than the one-off counseling students receive when taking out a loan. Other bills include an act to simplify theFree Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) processOpens a New Window..
A third bill would protect borrowers and their families from taxation on any amount of student loans forgivenOpens a New Window. due to disability or death.