Republican leaders of the House and Senate education committees want Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to extend the comment period on the proposed changes to income-driven repayment regulations.
The 30-day comment period will close Friday, Feb. 10, but the lawmakers want a 30-day extension. More than 8,500 comments have been submitted so far.
“By extending the public comment period by at least 30 days, the American public has time to review what could very well be the most costly regulation in our nation’s history,” North Carolina representative Virginia Foxx and Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy wrote in a Feb. 2 letter to Cardona.
Foxx chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Cassidy is the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Last month, the Education Department unveiled its plan to overhaul income-driven repayment, making the program simpler and more generous for borrowers. The proposed changes would cut payments in half for undergraduates, with a cap of 5 percent on a borrower’s discretionary income, and protect more of borrowers’ discretionary income from the payment calculations.
Foxx and Cassidy wrote that the proposed change “would fundamentally break our higher education financing system.”
The department estimated that the changes would cost $137.9 billion over the next 10 years, but other analysts put the price tag at $333 to $361 billion, depending on how many people opt in to the program.
“Putting aside the galling overreach in the proposal, more time to comment is necessary to address the proposed rule because the Department’s impact analysis does not add up,” the letter says.