Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a leading Democrat on the education committee, said the simplification, coupled with other technical fixes she helped negotiate, made it easier to navigate the process. financial assistance for homeless students and for formerly placed students.

“As the pandemic and economic recession have made it even more difficult for students to afford and continue with their university education,” Murray said in a statement. “I am proud that we have made significant progress in improving the way our financial aid process works. “

Democrats also pushed for historically black colleges and universities to be freed from more than $ 1.3 billion in federal loans they took out for capital improvement projects, such as new housing and university halls.

The United Negro College Fund, which helped lobby for pardon, called the victory “transformational,” saying it would help help chronically underfunded institutions, especially with accreditation renewals. and fiscal solvency.

Roderick L. Smothers, the president of Philander Smith College, in Little Rock, Ark., Said he was still in shock. The measure would wipe out $ 22 million, about 70 to 75 percent of the school’s debt, overnight, he said, and make college wish lists, like a new university center, a reality.

“It really does give a moment to reset our finances, our balance sheets, our dreams – and it gives us the lead we now need to step back and think more creatively and boldly about the things we need to serve our people. students, ”said Dr. Smothers said.

He noted that this was an extraordinary year for black colleges, which received huge increases in funding for Congress and philanthropists, and broad bipartisan support in their mission to take on the country’s most vulnerable student populations and build a strong black middle class.

“It looks like a form of redress,” Dr. Smothers said.