E-Update for May 19, 2017

E-Update for May 19, 2017

Highlights:

  • On May 17, the House Education and the Workforce Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.”
  • On May 15, Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Susan Davis (D-CA) launched the “Aim Higher” campaign to put forth higher education policy solutions to better support all students.
  • On May 17, the Washington Post reported that it had received a leaked copy of the full Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal for U.S. Department of Education (USED) that is set to be officially released next week on May 23rd. The leaked budget proposal includes new information that was not included in the FY2018 “Skinny” budget proposal that was released in March 2017.

Congress:

Democratic Members Introduce “Pell Grant Preservation & Expansion Act:” Rep. Susan Davis, Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray introduced H.R. 2451 and S. 1136, the “Pell Grant Preservation & Expansion Act” to expand and protect the Pell Grant program which helps students pay for college. The bill would improve the purchasing power of Pell Grants, shift the program to fully mandatory funding, and restore eligibility for defrauded students, among other changes. The bill can be found here, and the fact sheet here.
May 16, 2017

Senate:

Members Introduce Bipartisan “College Transparency Act of 2017:” Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), along with Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Paul Mitchell (R-MI), introduced H.R. 2434 and S.1121, the “College Transparency Act of 2017” to modernize the college reporting system for higher education data with the goal of providing increased transparency to students, families, and other stakeholders. The bill would ensure more accurate reporting of student outcomes, including enrollment, completion, and post-college outcomes, while ensuring the protection of student privacy. The Senate bill can be found here, and the fact sheet here. The House press release can be found here, and the bill here.
May 15, 2017

Democratic Senators Send Letter to Secretary DeVos Regarding Students Defrauded by For-Profit Institutions: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos to request an update on the Department’s processing of borrower defense claims for students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges and universities, including Corinthian Colleges, Inc. In the letter, the Senators note that under the Obama Administration, USED committed to carrying out debt-forgiveness claims for these students, but has yet to fulfill this commitment.
May 17, 2017

House:

House Education and the Workforce Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Strengthen CTE: The House Education and the Workforce Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.” Among other things, the bill would strengthen career and technical education (CTE) by delivering more flexibility to states to use federal resources, ensure CTE prepares all students, including historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students, and improve alignment of CTE programs with in-demand jobs. The fact sheet can be found here, and the detailed bill summary here. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s (R-PA) statement can be found here and Chairwoman of the Committee Virginia Foxx’s statement here.
May 17, 2017

  • On May 16, Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Virginia Foxx spoke at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss reforms to career and technical education and highlight the bipartisan efforts in Congress to improve CTE. The press release can be found here.

House Democrats Launch “Aim Higher” Campaign: Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott and Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Susan Davis launched the “Aim Higher” campaign to put forth higher education policy solutions to better support all students. The policy solutions will focus on higher education access, affordability, and completion.
May 15, 2017

Bill to Address Racial Inequities in Public Education Introduced in the House: Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced H.R.2486, the “Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act” to support parents and communities in addressing racial inequities in public education through robust enforcement. The bill can be found here.
May 17, 2017

House Democrats Introduce Legislation to Invest in Schools and Create Jobs: House Democrats, including Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott, introduced H.R. 2475, the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2017” to highlight the need for greater investment in school infrastructure to advance educational equity. The bill is also intended to create new jobs and revitalize communities with poor school facility conditions. The bill can be found here.
May 17, 2017

House Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing to Help Youth Break the Cycle of Poverty: The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on “Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults to Break the Cycle of Poverty.” The hearing focused on innovative methods to help vulnerable youth and young adults transition into adulthood and achieve economic success. The webcast can be found here. Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources Adrian Smith’s (R-NE) opening statement can be found here and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee Danny Davis’s statement (D-IL) here.
May 17, 2017

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Full Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposal for USED Leaked: The Washington Post reported that it had received a leaked copy of the full Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal for USED that is set to be officially released next week on May 23rd. The leaked budget proposal includes new information that was not included in the FY2018 “Skinny” budget proposal that was released in March 2017. This new information includes: elimination of the Title IV student support and academic enrichment block grant and arts in education program; a roughly 50% cut to Work Study; and cuts to CTE and the Promise Neighborhoods program, among other cuts. According to the Washington Post article, the budget proposal would also devote $1 billion in Title I funding to a grant program for school districts that allow funding to follow students to a public school of their choice, including those beyond their neighborhood attendance zone.
May 17, 2017

  • On May 18, in response to the leaked budget, Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray released a statement criticizing the proposed cuts. In her statement, Ranking Member Murray said, “I sincerely hope the Trump Administration reverses course and sends us a budget request that invests in our students, teachers, and public schools.” Senator Murray’s statement can be found here.

USED Announces Federal Student Loan Servicing Changes: USED announced that the Trump Administration plans to hire one company to collect monthly payments from all federal direct student loan borrowers. Under this plan, the loan servicing company will be allowed to subcontract work out to other loan servicers, but will be held responsible for these subcontractors. This decision is intended to reduce costs and simply USED’s oversight process.
May 19, 2017

USED Secretary Betsy DeVos’s schedule for this past week and next week:

  • On May 22, USED Secretary DeVos will speak at a conference hosted by the American Federation of Children where she is expected to provide details on a federal investment in school choice.
  • On May 17, USED Secretary DeVos met with Johnny Taylor Jr., the head of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund which represents publicly funded historically black colleges and universities, and with Robert Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America which provides college scholarships to students based on financial need.
  • On May 16, USED Secretary DeVos met with former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and former Governor Mike Castle (R-DE), the co-chairs of the National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education, the Indiana Leadership Forum, and the United Way of Miami-Dade Women’s Leadership Group.
  • On May 15, USED Secretary DeVos met with the Home School Legal Defense Association to discuss the needs of homeschool children.

Events:

  • On May 22, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will hold a briefing on “Clearing the Path: Ensuring a Successful Transfer from a Two- to Four-Year Institution for Latino Students” at 11:30 am. More information can be found here.
  • On May 23, the FY2018 full budget proposal is expected to be released.
  • On May 24, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on the President’s FY2018 Budget Proposal for USED at 11:00 am. USED Secretary DeVos will testify at the hearing. More information can be found here.
  • On May 24, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on “Empowering Students and Families to Make Informed Decisions on Higher Education” at 10:30 am. More information can be found here.
  • On May 24, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s FY2018 Budget at 9:30 am, during which Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney will testify. More information can be found here.
  • On May 25, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s FY2018 Budget at 9:45 am, during which OMB Director Mick Mulvaney will testify. More information can be found here.
  • On May 25, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Improper Payments in the Federal Government: Student Aid” at 10:00 am. More information can be found here.

Publications:

  • On May 18, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report entitled, “Discretionary Grants: Education Needs to Improve Its Oversight of Grants Monitoring.” The report finds that in a number of instances, grant monitoring activities, and documentation of grantee performance were not properly documented and completed. The report also indicates that some offices within USED do not have detailed procedures for the oversight of grant files. The report can be found here.
  • On May 16, CFPB released a report regarding data that shows that nine in ten of the highest-risk student loan borrowers were not enrolled in federal affordable repayment plans based on a sample of student loan industry data. The report also finds that a higher rate of highest risk borrowers who are not enrolled in an affordable repayment plan redefault on their loans in comparison to those who are enrolled. The press release can be found here and the report here.
  • On May 16, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics released a report entitled “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016.” The report analyzes data on crime in schools and colleges and includes information on bullying, school conditions, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at higher education institutions, among other topics. The report can be found here.

Legislation:

S.1121
“College Transparency Act”
A bill to establish a postsecondary student data system.
Sponsor: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

S.1125
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide Federal Pell Grants to Iraq and Afghanistan veteran’s dependents.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

S.1135
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to clarify the Federal Pell Grant duration limits of borrowers who attend an institution of higher education that closes or commits fraud or other misconduct, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

S.1136
“Pell Grant Preservation & Expansion Act”
A bill to improve the structure of the Federal Pell Grant program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI)

S.1138
A bill to rescind $500,000 a week from the Office of the Secretary of Education until the Secretary of Education reconsiders Upward Bound applications that were rejected due to arbitrary formatting issues.
Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

S.1143
“Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act of 2017”
A bill to amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit discrimination on account of sexual orientation or gender identity when extending credit.
Sponsor: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

S.1155
A bill to amend title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 in order to increase the amount of financial support available for working students.
Sponsor: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

S.1162
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for the refinancing of certain Federal student loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

H.Res.332
A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

H.R.2434
“College Transparency Act”
A bill to establish a postsecondary student data system.
Sponsor: Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)

H.R.2451
“Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act”
A bill to improve the structure of the Federal Pell Grant program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-CA)

H.R.2475
“Build America’s Schools Act of 2017”
A bill to provide for the long-term improvement of public school facilities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

H.R.2477
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for the refinancing of certain Federal student loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)

H.R.2482
A bill to extend temporarily the Federal Perkins Loan program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

H.R.2486
“Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act”
A bill to amend title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to restore the right to individual civil actions in cases involving disparate impact, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

H.R.2490
A bill to amend title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 in order to increase the amount of financial support available for working students.
Sponsor: Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)

H.R.2498
“Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act of 2017”
A bill to amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit discrimination on account of sexual orientation or gender identity when extending credit.
Sponsor: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)

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