“Funding for the minority-serving institutions had expired during a months-long standoff between Republicans and Democrats,” writes U.S. News & World Report‘s Lauren Camera.

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Senate Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement to permanently fund historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions after a months-long standoff during which federal funding for the schools expired.

“While this funding should never have lapsed in the first place, I’m glad that we were able to reach a deal that provides minority-serving institutions with the certainty of funding they deserve – and I truly appreciate the work done on both sides of the aisle to get us to this point,” Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, said in a statement.

The bipartisan proposal would make permanent $255 million in annual funding for HBCUs, simplifies the application for federal student aid, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and eliminates annual paperwork required of borrowers enrolled in income-based student loan repayment plans.

The proposal is paid for by simplifying the federal student aid form, which, among other things would eliminate up to 22 questions and require applicants to submit their tax information only once. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the changes would save taxpayers $2.8 billion over ten years, which will be used to pay for the permanent funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Read more via U.S. News and World Report.