There was supposed to be a new student lending bill this year. Remember that? The bill, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) of 2009 was supposed to improve the student loan industry and expand the federal Pell Grant program. According to an article in Education Week SAFRA was supposed to work like this:

Early-childhood-education programs and school facilities would get major new federal aid under a bill approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives that would cover the cost of that spending by revamping the way the federal student-lending program operates.

The House legislation, which passed Sept. 17 by a vote of 253-171, would scrap the Federal Family Education Loan Program, under which the government subsidizes private lenders to make federal loans.

But the bill, introduced by Rep. George Miller never got beyond the House. It is now the end of 2009 and the Senate has not drafted a parallel bill and, as College Guide pointed out earlier, colleges are not expecting U.S. Education Department to actually convert all higher education lending to the Direct Loan plan any time soon.

The reason for the delay? Blame it on the health care bill, which is taking up all of Capitol Hill’s time.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer