Republican leaders of the House and Senate education committees want Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to extend the comment period on proposed changes to the rules for income-based payments.
The 30-day comment period will close on Friday, February 10, but lawmakers want to extend it by 30 days. More than 8500 comments have been presented so far.
“By extending the public comment period for at least 30 days, the American public has time to consider what may well be the most expensive rule in our nation’s history,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. wrote in a letter dated February 2 to Cardona.
Fox chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Cassidy is the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Last month, the Department of Education promulgated its plan overhauled income-driven repayment, making the program simpler and more generous for borrowers. The proposed changes would cut student payments in half, capped at 5 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income, and protect most of a borrower’s discretionary income from payment settlements.
Fox and Cassidy wrote that the proposed change would “fundamentally break our higher education funding system.”
The department estimated the changes would cost $137.9 billion over the next 10 years, but other analysts believe price list between $333 billion and $361 billion, depending on how many people choose to participate in the program.
“Putting aside the vexing redundancy in the proposal, more comment time is needed to address the proposed rule because the Department’s impact analysis is inconsistent,” the letter said.