Higher Ed

House Approves Student-Loan Overhaul

Sunday’s other piece of reform: Attached to the sweeping health-care legislation approved by the House Sunday night was a huge overhaul of student loans. The amendments completely cut a $60 billion program subsidizing private loans, eliminating banks as the middleman, and put in its place direct lending from the government. The bill will save $61 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and much of that, $36 billion, would finance Pell grants. Without the bill, the aid from Pell program would have dwindled, cutting the maximum grant to $2,150 and kicking half a million students out of the program. The program had shrunk to cover just a third of costs at a public university, instead of two-thirds as originally intended when it was started in 1973. The bill now goes to the Senate.