E-Update for June 23, 2017

Highlights:

On June 22, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” to reauthorize career and technical education programs.
On June 22, Senate Republicans unveiled their health care overhaul proposal.
On June 19, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Year Round Pell grants will be available to students beginning July 1, 2017.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Releases FAQ on State ESSA Plans: U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on ESSA Consolidated State plans.  The release of the document follows the Department’s posting initial feedback on ESSA state plans to New Mexico, Delaware, and Nevada. Some questions answered in the FAQ include information on how the Department is determining what to include in the initial feedback it is providing to each state and what are the common requests for clarification that the Department has made to states, among other questions. The FAQ document is available here.
June 16, 2017
Congress:
Democratic Members Raise Concerns With AMC Sale of For-Profit Colleges: A group of House and Senate […]

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E-Update for June 16, 2017

Highlights:

This week, Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico received feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) on their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans.
On June 15, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to promote apprenticeships and effective workforce development programs and reduce regulatory burdens for these programs.
On June 14, USED Secretary DeVos announced that the Department will establish rulemaking committees on Borrower Defense to Repayment and Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking regulations. The Department is also postponing the effective date of the Obama Administration’s borrower defense regulations due to pending litigation.

Every Student Succeeds Act
USED Provides Feedback on Three ESSA Consolidated State Plans: This week, Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico received feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) on their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans. USED plans to provide feedback on the remaining 14 state plans in the coming weeks. Delaware feedback is available here, Nevada feedback here, and New Mexico feedback here.
Congress:
Members Send Letter Regarding Student Loan Servicing Contract Process to USED Secretary DeVos: Over 150 members, led by Reps. Bobby Scott […]

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E-Update for June 9, 2017

Highlights:

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on the FY2018 U.S. Department of Education’s budget request.
The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on the FY2018 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ budget request.
The U.S. Department of Education announced that it is seeking comments on a Weighted Student Funding and School-Based systems study.

Congress:
House:
House Ways and Means Committee Holds a Hearing on the FY2018 HHS Budget Request: The House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on the Fiscal Year (FY)  2018 President’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Committee members questioned HHS Secretary Tom Price about his commitment to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and the budget’s proposed cuts to social service programs that benefit children, such as Medicaid, the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), the Community Services Block Grant, and childcare support programs. […]

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E-Update for June 2, 2017

Highlights:

Congress was out of session this past week and will return on June 5th.
A group of Democratic Senators sent a letter to Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee regarding Title II funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 LHHS appropriations bill.
USED announced the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is now available for borrowers applying for an income-driven repayment plan.

Congress:
Democratic Members Send Letter to USED Secretary DeVos Regarding ESSA State Plan Peer Review Process: A group of Democratic members, led by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plan peer review process. In the letter, the members expressed concerns that the Department’s peer review process is not the robust quality control process that Congress intended. The members requested an explanation for how USED will ensure that the process improves the quality of states’ plans.
May 25, 2017
Senate:
Ranking Member Murray Sends Letter Regarding USED Secretary DeVos’ Speech at American Federation for Children Event: […]

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E-Update for May 26, 2017

Highlights:

On May 24, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing entitled, “Empowering Students and Families to Make Informed Decisions on Higher Education.”
On May 24, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) held a hearing to examine the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 full budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) during which USED Secretary Betsy DeVos testified.
On May 23, President Trump released his full budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which builds off the “skinny” budget proposal that was released in March 2017.

Congress:
House:
House Oversight Subcommittees Hold a Joint Hearing on Improper Student Aid Payments: The House Oversight Subcommittees on Government Operations and Intergovernmental Affairs held a joint hearing entitled, “Improper Payments in the Federal Government: Student Aid” to discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) process for accurately estimating improper payments and preventing future improper payments. Prior to the hearing, USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer James Runcie announced his resignation due to his concerns with […]

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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 […]

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E-Update for May 12, 2017

Highlights

On May 12, it was announced that all of seventeen Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for the spring deadline are ready for peer review.
On May 8, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced H.R. 2401 and S. 1064, the “Anti-Lunch Shaming Act,” to prevent schools from discriminating against children who cannot pay for their school meals or have outstanding debt.
On May 10, USED Secretary DeVos gave the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a HBCU.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Announcement of State ESSA Plans Ready for Peer Review: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that all of seventeen ESSA consolidated state plans submitted to the Department for the spring deadline were determined to be complete and ready for peer review. The District of Columbia and the following 16 states submitted their plans by the spring deadline: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont.
May 12, 2017
Congress:
Lawmakers Introduce “Anti-Lunch Shaming Act:” A bipartisan group of […]

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E-Update for May 5, 2017

Highlights

On May 4, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations bill by a vote of 79-18, after the bill was passed on May 3 by the House of Representatives by a vote of 309-118.
On May 4, the House passed the American Health Care Act by a vote of 217-213. The bill will now be considered in the Senate. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s statement regarding the bill can be found here.
On May 4, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act” to create pathways to education and training for students interested in pursuing careers in high-demand industries and technical fields.

Congress:
Budget and Appropriations:
Congress Passes FY 2017 Omnibus Bill: The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations bill passed the Senate by a vote of 79-18, after being passed by the House on May 3 by a vote of 309-118. The Omnibus bill provides discretionary funding for the federal government through September 30, 2017 and includes the following funding levels:

$180 million […]

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E-Update for April 28, 2017

Highlights:

Today, the House and Senate passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 until May 5, 2017. An omnibus appropriations bill is expected to be introduced early next week.
On April 27, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Strengthening Accreditation to Better Protect Students and Taxpayers.” The hearing focused on ways in which the accreditation process can be improved to ensure strong accountability for students and taxpayers.
On April 26, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled, “Enforcing Statutory Prohibitions on Federal Control of Education,” which requires the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to review the Department’s K-12 regulatory policies over the next 300 days and ensure “strict compliance” with legislation passed by Congress relating to K-12 education and state and local control.

Congress:
Members of Congress Send Letter Urging USED Secretary DeVos to Reinstate Student Loan Protections: Over 130 members of Congress, including Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee […]

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E-Update for April 21, 2017

Highlights

Congress is on Easter recess until April 23 and will reconvene on April 24. When Congress returns, members will need to consider a bill to provide funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 as the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on April 28. A short-term CR may be required to allow time to consider a bill to continue funding.
On April 19, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for a case concerning a preschool learning center owned by the Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri. The case is said to have significant implications for school voucher programs.
On April 20, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos visited an early childhood center, elementary school, and high school in Van Wert, Ohio, with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Holds Trainings for ESSA Peer Reviewers: USED held two trainings for peer reviewers who will be reviewing Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans. The trainings were used to present the peer review criteria and provide information on the peer review process. The presentations […]

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