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Analysis: Federal higher ed proposal saves taxpayers $185B by 2033

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Taxpayers could save $185 billion over the next decade through a federal college education proposal from a North Carolina congresswoman.

The analysis released this month is from the Congressional Budget Office and measures the impact of the College Cost Reduction Act authored by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and filed in January. The proposal notably reins in policies of President Joe Biden and his administration; strengthens and simplifies the student loan program; and reduces college costs for students and their families.

Foxx is chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the House of Representatives. She says the bill ensures clear, personalized information for return on investment to students and families; holds institutions financially responsible for overpriced degrees that leave students and taxpayers with unaffordable debt; and funds colleges based on student outcomes rather than “excessive regulations that further increase costs to families.”

The document says if enacted near the middle of this year, direct spending would be reduced by $91.7 billion in 2024-28. The $185.5 billion reduction is between 2024 and 2033.

In a release, Foxx said, “The state of postsecondary education in America is one of pure dilapidation – the time for serious, meaningful reform is now. CBO’s estimate for the College Cost Reduction Act is a testament to the commonsense solutions embedded in this landmark legislation that will bring much-needed accountability, transparency, and affordability measures and deliver the kind of education students need and our economy demands.

“Lowering the costs and ensuring value for students and taxpayers is not an option – it’s a mandate that must be upheld.”

Federal student aid programs would be amended through change to the Higher Education Act of 1965. Repayment terms, loan limits and requirements of institutional eligibility in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program would be modified.

The summary from the Congressional Budget Office also says the bill “would limit the administrative authority of the Department of Education, repeal certain regulations, create a new institutional grant program funded through payments from postsecondary institutions, and increase data collection and reporting requirements for postsecondary institutions that receive federal aid.”

Biden’s plans to cancel student debt for some borrowers could cost taxpayers up to $1.4 trillion, depending on how the plans are implemented, one report estimates. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated all Biden’s recent debt cancellation efforts would cost a combined $870 billion to $1.4 trillion.

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, wrote on social media, “Biden’s $1 trillion illegal student debt relief incentivizes colleges to continue raising tuition costs. The College Cost Reduction Act takes a different path – saving taxpayers more than $185 billion while focusing on outcomes from our universities.”

The nonprofit American Action Forum, which bills itself as center-right on fiscal policy, noted the Biden administration has not worked with Congress to “put the student loan system on a safer path.” It called Foxx’s proposal “a notable contrast.”

The legislation is in the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Foxx is hopeful to move it to a House floor vote.