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AACOM Statement on House Proposal to Reauthorize HEA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 5, 2017

Contact:
Christine DeCarlo
Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
(202) 603-1026
cdecarlo@aacom.org

(Washington, DC) – On Friday, Republican members of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce released comprehensive legislation, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, to overhaul the Higher Education Act (HEA).  Since the prior law’s reauthorization took place in 2008, we are encouraged to see that Congress is taking the first step to start negotiations on this long overdue reauthorization. 

Introduced by Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), this wide-ranging measure has serious ramifications for our country’s higher education and federal financial aid systems. Of particular concern to osteopathic medical students and schools, the bill would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program for new borrowers; replace the Direct Loan Program—including Grad PLUS loans—with a new Federal ONE Loan Program with borrowing capped for graduate students at $28,500 per year; fail to reinstate Perkins Loans for graduate students; and threaten federal subsidized loans for undergraduate students. Of note, in 2011, Congress eliminated subsidized loans for graduate students, further exacerbating their student loan debt. 

AACOM is pleased that the committee addresses many of the regulatory barriers that have created an undue burden for our schools by rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach to medical education such as repealing the state authorization, borrower defense, and gainful employment rules.   

We remain committed to protecting federal financial aid and loan repayment programs for osteopathic medical students and will work through our ED to MED campaign to present a unified voice to protect these vital programs. As Congress negotiates HEA reauthorization, AACOM urges policymakers to support our future physician workforce as a component of a strong health care system for the country.

About AACOM

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 34 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 49 teaching locations in 32 states. In the current academic year, these colleges are educating nearly 29,000 future physicians—more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 28 are private institutions.

AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.

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