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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published April 24, 2019

April Congressional Recess – Higher Education Edition

Protect Student Financial Aid - Take the Federal Student Loan Survey

As Congress works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) for the first time since 2008, we need to ensure that they support higher education policy that is sustainable, inclusive, and innovative. As the collective voice for academic nursing, AACN recognizes how higher education is critical to the success of the nursing student, their family, the community, the economy, and the health of our nation’s patients.

Specifically, we must sustain and preserve federal student loan programs, such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and the Graduate PLUS Loan, and include all nursing students, particularly master’s and doctoral students, when considering aggregate borrowing limits.

To be effective advocates for protecting student loan programs, we need your help in collecting supportive data! 

Please complete our brief Federal Student Loan Survey to help AACN understand your experience with federal student loans and/or grants.

Pentagon to Remove Barriers to Eliminate Student Loan Interest for Servicemembers

Today, more than 28,500 nurses serve in the Military Health System. They provide care on the frontlines and serve as nursing educators, researchers, and clinical leaders. Many of the nation’s servicemembers who have graduated with student loans face obstacles with their student loan servicing. Although Congress created a student loan benefit designed to eliminate interest for military servicemembers in 2008, relatively few have received it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimated that servicemembers eligible for the no-interest student loan benefit had already paid more than $100 million in interest by 2015.

Last week, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a policy to automatically provide military servicemembers serving in war zones with a benefit to help them eliminate interest on their student loans. A new agreement between the DoD and the Education Department will use data-sharing to enable the agencies to compare information on military borrowers in existing government databases and determine who qualifies. Find CFPB’s resources for financing college education at

Proposal to Repeal Gainful Employment Rule in Final Stage

In the coming weeks, the Office of Management and Budget is scheduled to discuss the final stages of the Department of Education’s proposal to remove the Gainful Employment rule. The Gainful Employment rule cuts off federal funding to career colleges where students end up with higher debt-to-earnings rates. Although much of this  rule has taken effect, this proposal, if approved by OMB, would restore this federal funding to vocational programs at certain for-profit colleges and some non-profit colleges. Parallel to this rulemaking, the Department of Education is planning to expand the program-level data on its College Scorecard website to include median debt and earnings for all colleges and universities. AACN will continue to monitor this rulemaking process and additional activity around higher education funding.


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