Senate Authorizes Student Aid Funds

Bill Raises Loan and Grant Ceilings

The Senate passed a compromise version of the Higher Education Authorization Bill by an overwhelming majority Thursday--raising loan limits, interest rates and grant ceilings for both graduate and undergraduate students.

The bill--which authorizes $48.4 billion to fund student aid programs over the next five year--passed the House by a voice vote last week and was approved by the Senate 83 to 8.

Of particular significance to Harvard is a section which provides that no school shall receive less work-study money than it received in 1979-1980. Earlier in the week Harvard administrators expressed concern that they would not receive equal funding this year.

The University received a $400,000 supplemental grant in 1979-80, which put its total allocation at double that of any preceeding year.

In theory the battle which educators have waged for the last two years appears to be won, but R. Jerrold Gibson, director of fiscal services for Harvard, said that in practice there may yet be difficulties.

Although this bill authorizes funding for the next five years, the actual allocations must still be approved annually, Gibson said, adding, "This is certainly a very big step in the right direction, but obviously it's not the last one."

The bill, which will become effective in 1981-1982, raises the loan ceiling on National Direct Student Loans (NDSL) from $5,000 to $6,000 for undergraduates and from $10,000 to $12,000 for graduate students.

The bill also raises the loan limit on Guaranteed Student Loans from $7,500 to $12,500 for undergraduates and from $15,000 to $25,000 for combined undergraduate and graduate studies.

However, the interest rates on both types of loans have been increased--from 3 to 4 per cent on NDSL and 7 to 9 per cent on GSL loans.

In addition to raising student loan ceilings and interest rates, the bill institues a parent loan program and raises the maximum amount that may be received from Basic Educational Opportunity Grants.