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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published August 04, 2021

American Association of College of Nursing - Washington Weekly - Your Inside Track to Federal Policy

All Eyes on Education: Updates from the Policy and Legislative Arenas

  • Department of Education Seeks Input on Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program:
    On July 26, the Department of Education issued a request for information (RFI) about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program asking the public and stakeholders to provide information on their experience and ways that PSLF may be improved. To submit information by the September 24 deadline, or for more information on this RFI, click here.
  • House Education and Labor Subcommittee Hosts Hearing Discussing Pell Grants:
    On July 29, the House Education and Labor Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee hosted a hearing titled, “Keeping the Pell Grant Promise: Increasing Enrollment, Supporting Success,” to discuss the role Pell grants have in assisting lower-income students to afford a higher education. Witnesses highlighted the need to increase funding and expand eligibility for the federal Pell grant program to increase access to higher education. To watch the full subcommittee hearing, click here.
  • AACN Endorses Bill to Help Graduate Nursing Students:
    On July 29, AACN sent a letter to Representative Judy Chu (D-CA-27) expressing our support for the reintroduction of the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt (POST GRAD) Act (H.R. 4631). This legislation would allow graduate students to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, which would help to make post-baccalaureate education more attainable and affordable. A longtime supporter of this legislation, AACN recognizes the need for graduate students to have access to Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. In fact, according to the AACN report, The Numbers Behind the Degree: Financing Graduate Nursing Education, 69% of graduate nursing students take out Federal loans. AACN will continue to monitor this legislation as it advances this Congress.

House Passed Minibus Spending Package, Which Includes Title VIII and NINR Funding

On July 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a seven-bill minibus package (H.R. 4502) by a vote of 219-208. This minibus includes key funding priorities for academic nursing, including:

  • $314.472 million for the Title VIII Nursing Workforce and Development Programs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, a historic increase of $50 million over FY 2021;
  • $200.782 million for the National Institute of Nursing Research for FY 2022, an increase of $25.825 million over FY 2021; and
  • $49 billion for the National Institutions of Health for FY 2022, an increase of $6.5 billion over FY 2021.

AACN sent out a press release expressing support for this historic increase and thanked our House Champions. We look forward to working with the Senate as the appropriation process continues. For an updated funding chart, click here and for more information on AACN’s policy and advocacy efforts, click here.