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The Coalition promotes policies that enable students to pursue their educational goals and that enable educational institutions to improve their operations for administering financial aid for students. Until 2010, when Congress passed the Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010, the Coalition’s policy efforts focused primarily on advocating for and promoting the benefits of the Federal Direct Loan Program for both students and schools. The Act established the Direct Loan Program as the single federal loan delivery system as of July 1, 2010. The Coalition worked closely with the U.S. Department of Education (Federal Student Aid division) to help schools make the transition to Direct Lending, with Coalition members mentoring more than 1,000 institutions in the process.Today the Coalition continues to work closely with Federal Student Aid (FSA) to support the efficient delivery of federal student loans. In regular meetings with FSA staff, members of the HELC Executive Council present issues identified by schools and discuss options for issue resolution and suggestions for operational procedures that support efficient loan delivery. Since the implementation of Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010, the Coalition has directed its policy and advocacy efforts more broadly toward improving student financial aid. HELC goals include:
- Educating public officials, the financial aid community, professional associations, the media, and the general public on student lending
- Promoting policies that minimize the use of student borrowing and improve loan terms for those who borrow
- Advocating high standards in the delivery of direct student loans by all participants in the process
- Providing support to students in understanding and securing students loans and in managing student loan debt
HELC Executive Board members make at least three trips to Washington, D.C., each year to meet with Department of Education and congressional staff. Board members are frequently called upon to provide testimony at congressional hearings and other forums where issues related to student loans and student debt are discussed. In addition, the Coalition issues news releases and policy statements regarding its positions with respect to student loans and Direct Lending.See the Resources page for a listing of recent congressional testimonies, policy statements, and news releases.
Past accomplishments include, but are not limited to:
- Meeting with over 100 members of the U.S. Congress, including House and Senate leaders on the Education and Appropriations Committees.
- Providing comment at two separate Department of Education hearings for negotiated rule making.
- Providing testimony at three Congressional Hearings on student loans and financial aid.
- Participating in a joint task force with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, NASFAA, on loan servicing.
- Providing comments on proposed student loan legislation from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.