The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday afternoon that would permanently fund historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions, as well as simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and eliminate paperwork for income-driven student loan repayment plans.
The so-called FUTURE Act passed the House in September but was amended by the U.S. Senate education committee to include elements beyond its original scope, which was limited to making permanent $255 million in annual funding for HBCUs. This latest attempt at compromise by Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the education committee, quickly passed through the Senate last week.
The legislation would eliminate up to 22 questions on the FAFSA and allow the Internal Revenue Service to share applicants' tax information directly with the U.S. Department of Education. It would also automate income recertification for federal student loan borrows who use income-based repayment plans.
Having gotten enough votes to pass the House, the bill will now go back to the Senate for approval of any changes and then to the White House before it can become law.