E-Update for September 29, 2017
- Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price offered his resignation earlier today, and President Trump has accepted.
- On September 27, the Trump Administration, House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee released a unified framework for tax reform.
- On September 25, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum on Creating Pathways to Jobs by Increasing Access to High-Quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, directing the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to establish promotion of high-quality STEM education as one of the Department’s priorities.
Unified Framework for Tax Reform Released: The Trump Administration, House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee released a unified framework for tax reform. According to House Speaker Ryan (R-WI), the framework aims to, “deliver a 21st century tax code that is built for growth, supports middle-class families, defends our workers, protects our jobs, and puts America first.” A summary of the tax plan can be found here and the full framework can be found here.
While specific details of the plan related to changes to education tax policies have yet to be released, a summary states, “The framework retains tax benefits that encourage work, higher education and retirement security. The committees are encouraged to simplify these benefits to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Tax reform will aim to maintain or raise retirement plan participation of workers and the resources available for retirement.” Additionally, the framework outlines increases to the Child Tax credit.
September 27, 2017
Senate Budget Committee Releases FY2018 Budget Resolution: The Senate Budget Committee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget Resolution, which includes instructions aimed at reforming the tax code. The resolution instructs the Senate Finance Committee to find savings of $1.5 trillion over 10 years to partially offset the cost of tax reform. Additionally, the resolution identifies legislative priorities that the Committee would like to see enacted in the upcoming fiscal year but that are not required to move forward, including legislation related to amending the Higher Education Act; ensuring State flexibility in education; consolidating and streamlining of overlapping early learning and child care programs; educational programs for individuals with disabilities; and child nutrition programs.
The Senate Budget Committee will consider the budget resolution next week with the full Senate to follow. A summary of the FY2018 Senate Budget Resolution can be found here and the text of the budget resolution here. The House will also consider its FY2018 House Budget Resolution next week. Text of the FY2018 House Budget Resolution can be found here and the report accompanying the budget resolution here.
September 29, 2017
Perkins Loans Program Authorization Set to Expire: The authorization for the Perkins Loans program, which provides low-interest federal student loans to undergraduate and graduate students, is set to expire on September 30. On September 27, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to the Senate HELP Committee requesting that the Committee act to extend the Perkins Loan program before its expiration. In the letter, the Senators noted the history of bipartisan support for the program and its importance for students’ postsecondary success. A press release and the letter are available here. On September 28, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN) objected to passing S. 1808, the “Perkins Loans Extension Act,” to extend the program by unanimous consent. He objected due to concerns with the cost of an extension and as he prefers to streamline and consolidate existing student financial aid programs. The statement is available here.
This week, Representatives Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) also called for a vote on the House version of a bill to extend the Perkins Loan program (H.R. 2482), which has the support of 223 cosponsors from both parties. A vote on the bill has not been scheduled and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has also indicated opposition to an extension. A press release is available here.
September 26-28, 2017
Congress Passes Bill Allowing Colleges to Waive Federal Requirements in Response to Hurricanes: This week, the House and Senate passed S. 1866, the “Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Education Relief Act of 2017,” which waves some federal requirements for colleges affected by the recent hurricanes and provides them with additional funding. The bill also allows private schools to access grants under the Project School Emergency Response to Violence program, which supports school districts or colleges affected by traumatic events.
House Action on Home Visiting and CHIP Programs: Regarding the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, the House passed H.R. 2824, the “Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act,” on September 26 to reauthorize the MIECHV program through FY2022. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) statement is available here. The Senate has yet to act on its version of a bill that has been introduced to reauthorize the program, S.1829, the “Strong Families Act of 2017.” On the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced on September 28 that it will markup a bill to extend federal funding for the program and additional public health programs next week at a time to be determined. A press release is available here. The authorizations for these programs will expire on September 30, but discussions regarding an extension are ongoing.
September 26 & 28, 2017
House Oversight Committee Holds Hearing on Evidence-Based Policymaking: The House Oversight Committee held a hearing titled, “Recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking” to discuss ways in which Congress can work to improve data access, protect privacy, and promote evidence-based policies. During the hearing, both Democrats and Republicans emphasized the importance of evidence and data in informing the policymaking process and increasing efficacy, effectiveness, and accountability in program implementation. Webcast and witness testimony here.
September 26, 2017
President Trump Signs Memorandum Prioritizing STEM Education: President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum on Creating Pathways to Jobs by Increasing Access to High-Quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. The memorandum directs the USED Secretary to make the promotion of high-quality STEM and computer science education a top priority. Specifically, the memorandum directs USED to include a competitive priority related to STEM education in grant competitions starting in FY2018 and to establish a goal of devoting at least $200 million per to the promotion of high-quality STEM education, among other initiatives. An overview of the memorandum is available here, the memorandum here, and President Trump’s remarks here.
September 25, 2017
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Announces Grant Awards: On September 28, USED Secretary DeVos announced the awarding of $253 million in grants under the Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Program. The program supports the creation and expansion of public charter schools. A press release is available here. On September 29, USED announced the first round of awards under the new Education, Innovation, and Research Grants program. The Department awarded 16 grants, totaling more than $95 million. Awardee information can be found here.
September 28 & 29, 2017
USED and Administration Announce Appointments, New Hires, and Nominations: On September 28, USED Secretary DeVos announced the appointment of six members to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board, which helps to set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). More information is available here. This week, USED Secretary DeVos also announced the hiring of Dr. Michael Wooten to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education and Dr. Leonard Haynes to serve as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary. Dr. Wooten previously worked as deputy chief procurement officer for the District of Columbia and Dr. Haynes worked as a distinguished adjunct professor for Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. A press release can be found here. Additionally, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate James Blew to serve as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development for USED. Mr. Blew currently serves as the director of Student Success of California. A press release is available here.
USED Releases Updated College Scorecard: USED released an update of the College Scorecard which tracks data on post-secondary institutions, including post-graduation earnings and loan repayment rates. The scorecard also now includes a function to compare schools side by side.
September 27, 2017
U.S. Supreme Court:
Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Union Member Case: The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will consider Janus v. AFSCME, a case challenging whether union fees can be made mandatory for non-union members. This question was taken up by the Court in 2016 and resulted in a 4-4 split among justices. The case involves Illinois state employee Mark Janus, who says his free-speech rights were violated when he was obligated to pay fair share fees to AFSCME.
September 28, 2017
- On October 3, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Every Student Succeeds Act: Unleashing State Innovation” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On October 3, the Senate HELP Committee will hold an executive session to vote on the nomination of Carlos G. Muniz to serve as General Counsel of USED. A time for the vote has yet to be announced. More information is available here.
- On October 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Administration’s Decision to End Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On October 3, the House Rules Committee will meet on the FY2018 House Budget Resolution at 3:00 pm. More information is available here.
- On October 4, USED will conduct its second public hearing on Department regulations related to postsecondary education that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification at USED from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. More information is available is available here.
- On October 4 at 2:30 pm and October 5 at 10:30 am, the Senate Budget Committee will convene to markup the FY2018 Senate Budget Resolution. More information is available here and here.
- On September 28, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)’ National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report titled, “Projections of Education Statistics to 2025,” which provides data projections on enrollment, graduation rates, teachers, and expenditures at the K-12 and higher education levels. One such projection is that public school enrollment between 2013 and 2025 will increase nationally by 3%. The report is available here.
- On September 26, the NCES released a Statistics in Brief titled, “First-Generation and Continuing-Generation College Students: A Comparison of High School and Postsecondary Experiences.” The brief provides information on student characteristics, college plans, and postsecondary enrollment and completion. Among other findings, the report notes that fewer first-generation college students obtained a bachelor’s degree within ten years after their sophomore year in high school than students who were not first-generation. The report is available here.
- On September 26, NCES released a report titled, “Early Childhood Program Participation, Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016,” which presents findings on children’s participation in different types of child care. The report finds that about 60% of children age 5 and younger were in at least one non-parental care arrangement, in addition to other findings. The report is available here.
- On September 26, NCES released a report titled, “Parent and Family Involvement in Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016.” The report presents information on family involvement in education, including helping with homework and participating in school activities. The report is available here.
- On September 26, IES’s What Works Clearinghouse released a practice guide titled, “Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools.” The guide provides four evidence-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and high school and is meant as a tool for teachers and school administrators. The guide is available here.
A bill to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain aliens who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
A bill to expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students.
Sponsor: Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Education Relief Act of 2017
A bill to provide the Secretary of Education with waiver authority for the reallocation rules and authority to extend the deadline by which funds have to be reallocated in the campus–based aid programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965 due to Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, to provide equitable services to children and teachers in private schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
S. Res. 541
A resolution recognizing the achievements of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions on the 10th anniversary of their establishment.
Sponsor: Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act of 2017
A bill to support educational entities in fully implementing title IX and reducing and preventing sex discrimination in all areas of education.
Sponsor: Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand eligibility for participation in the Federal Pell Grant program to certain trade schools.
Sponsor: Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA)
Eliminating the Hidden Student Loan Tax Act
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to eliminate origination fees for Federal Direct Loans.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
Student Loan Fair Prepayment Act
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Truth in Lending Act to clarify the application of prepayment amounts on student loans.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
Affordable College Textbook Act
A bill to expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students.
Sponsor: Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)