S. 546: Smarter Borrowing Act

Mar 13, 2013
Referred to Committee
4% chance of being enacted
Track this bill
Thomas “Tom” Harkin
Junior Senator from Iowa
Read Text »
Last Updated
Mar 13, 2013
34 pages

This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on March 13, 2013, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole.

Introduced Mar 13, 2013
Referred to Committee Mar 13, 2013
Reported by Committee ...
Passed Senate ...
Passed House ...
Signed by the President ...

27% chance of getting past committee.
4% chance of being enacted.

Only 11% of bills made it past committee and only about 3% were enacted in 2011–2013. [show factors | methodology]

Full Title

A bill to amend entrance counseling and exit counseling for borrowers under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.


No summaries available.

Primary Source

THOMAS.gov (The Library of Congress)

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S. stands for Senate bill.

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the president to become law.

The bill’s title was written by its sponsor.

GovTrack’s Bill Summary

We don’t have a summary available yet.

Library of Congress Summary

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

Smarter Borrowing Act - Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education (IHEs) to notify their Pell Grant recipients, at least once every two years, of the remaining period they have before becoming ineligible for the Pell Grant.
Requires IHEs whose cohort default rate on federal student loans equals or exceeds 30% (the threshold percentage) to make a summary of their plan to improve student repayment rates available to their students.
Requires the exit counseling that IHEs provide to student borrowers of Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs), Direct Loans (DLs), and Perkins Loans to:
include personalized information reflecting each borrower's actual borrowing circumstances; include a statement that such loans must be repaid even if students are dissatisfied with their education; be provided in a simple and understandable manner that includes comprehension checks; and be conducted in person or online.
Requires the entrance counseling that IHEs provide to first-time student borrowers of DLs to:
(1) be provided through interactive programs that test the borrower's understanding of the terms and conditions of the loan, using simple and understandable language and clear formatting; and
(2) be provided in person or online.
Adds to the information that must be presented to students during their entrance counseling:
a disclosure that federal student loans offer generally more favorable terms and repayment options than private education loans; an explanation of the difference between fixed and variable interest rate loans; a recommendation that students examine their federal student loan options before applying for private education loans; an explanation, to be written by the Secretary of Education, of the benefits unique to DLs and the terms of private education loans that borrowers should examine carefully; an explanation, if applicable, of a student's option to refuse all or part of a DL; information regarding the IHE's cohort default rate; a statement that student loans must be repaid even if students are dissatisfied with their education; and the percentage of students at the IHE who obtain a degree or certificate within 150% of the normal time for completing their program.
Requires student borrowers to provide their school with certain contact information during that entrance counseling and ensure that the school has their correct contact information during the exit counseling.
Directs the Secretary to: (1) calculate, at least once every fiscal year, the loan repayment rate of each IHE participating in a title IV (Student Assistance) program or trying to regain eligibility to participate in that program; and (2) make that rate publicly available on the College Navigator website of the National Center for Education Statistics.
Requires IHEs, in addition to the entrance and exit counseling, to provide an annual written notification to student borrowers of FFELs or DLs of:
(1) the balance and interest on their loan, their repayment options, and the advantages federal student loans have over private loans;
(2) their remaining DL eligibility period, if they have a DL; and
(3) their remaining Pell Grant eligibility period, if they also have a Pell Grant. Requires borrowers to provide IHEs with written confirmation that they have received and understood those notifications.
Imposes additional counseling requirements on IHEs that have a cohort default rate greater than the national average cohort default rate.
Requires an IHE whose cohort default rate equals or exceeds the threshold percentage to: (1) notify students that it is at risk of losing, or has lost eligibility for, certain federal student aid programs; and (2) provide counseling to assist students in developing budgets.
Directs the Secretary, through the Institute of Education Sciences, to conduct a longitudinal study of the effectiveness of student loan counseling.
Requires: (1) the Secretary and the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to make recommendations to Congress regarding the inclusion of private student loans in the National Student Loan Data System, and (2) the Secretary of the Treasury to make recommendations to Congress about information that should be included in financial literacy counseling for first-time student loan borrowers.
Directs the Secretary to establish a process for consumer testing the master promissory note (provided to first-time DL borrowers) and online entrance, exit, and interim loan counseling tools.

House Republican Conference Summary

The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus Summary

The House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.

So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference’s summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That’s because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.

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