E-Update for the Week of June 7, 2019

Highlights: 

On June 5, the House Appropriations Committee announced the full House will be considering a five-bill minibus (a collection of multiple bills) beginning on June 12. The minibus will contain appropriations bills for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State and Foreign Operations, Energy, Water Development, and the Legislative Branch. While some amendments may be considered on the House floor, it is unlikely any amendments will pass that will reduce funding overall for the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
On June 5, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S.1732, the “College Admissions Fairness Act.” The bill, which is in response to the recent college admission scandals, would strengthen tax code quid pro quo protections and would require that institutions establish a policy that prevents the consideration of a family’s donation into admission decisions. Without such a policy, colleges and universities would be limited to family donations of $100,000 over a six-year period.
On June 5, POLITICO published a series of documents related to USED’s deliberations in advance of proposing a regulation regarding […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 3, 2019

Highlights:

On May 31, POLITICO reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been holding a series of meetings with advocacy groups related to the Obama era gainful employment rule. The rule, which USED is planning on rescinding, would limit or cease federal funding to career colleges and for-profit schools that cannot demonstrate their graduates are able to attain “gainful employment” based on their ability to pay back student loans with the salaries of their new employment.
On May 30, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) posted a floor update for the week of June 10. In the update, the Majority Leader announced that the House would begin consideration of fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills starting June 12. The order in which the bills would be considered was not included.
On May 30, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the Committee’s attempts to investigate the Department’s previous attempt to remove Acting Inspector General Sandra Bruce. The Members argue that […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 28, 2019

Highlights:

On May 23, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published in the Federal Register its Unified Agenda for Spring 2019. The publication included multiple proposed regulation changes, including a proposed rulemaking for the Obama era significant disproportionality rule. This was previously delayed by the Department, until a federal court ordered USED to immediately implement the rule ensuring that students of color are not under- or over-identified for special education services.
On May 21, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met with Trump administration officials to discuss a potential deal on overall spending levels. Congressional leaders met with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and acting Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought. After a day full of negotiations, no budget deal was reached but it is expected the group will meet again to continue discussions.
On May 20, USED published in the Federal Register a notice that the […]

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The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion

The Mindset Scholars Network in cooperation with
EducationCounsel and the Raikes Foundation invite you to a briefing on:
The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Russell Senate Office Building, SR-385
With only about half of all students who enroll in postsecondary education completing a degree, institutions and policymakers are seeking evidence-based ways to improve college completion and advance equity. Leading researchers Claude Steele, Stanford professor and author of Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, Mary Murphy of Indiana University, Greg Walton of Stanford University, and Lisa Quay of the Mindset Scholars Network are engaged in efforts to better understand how students’ experiences impacts their persistence and completion and are developing evidence-based actions institutions can take to support postsecondary completion.
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E-Update for the Week of May 20, 2019

Highlights:

On May 17, the House passed H.R. 5, the “Equality Act.” The 236-173 vote was largely partisan, with eight Republicans voting in favor of the bill. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by including “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the law’s protections from discrimination based on sex.
On May 16, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director, Kathy Kraninger, sent a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in which the CFPB director stated “student loan servicers have declined to produce” any documents that the CFPB requested to supervise the actions of the servicers
On May 13, President Donald Trump sent a letter to Congress requesting that his fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request be amended. Included in his amendments are a restoration of approximately $18 million in funding for the Special Olympics and a rescission to the Pell Grant surplus of $3.87 billion.

Budget and Appropriations:
New CBO director announced: The Chairs of the Senate Budget Committee and House Budget Committee, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) respectively, announced that Phillip L. Swagel […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 13, 2019

Highlights:

On May 8, the House Appropriations Committee held a markup of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The bill was favorably voted out of the Committee on a partisan vote of 30-23.
On May 8, the House Education and Labor Committee held a markup of H.R.2480, the “Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act” (CAPTA). The bill was unanimously approved out of Committee. The bill is intended to strengthen federal efforts to prevent and treat child abuse, with special considerations for the impact of the opioids epidemic.
On May 6, USED filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the court’s earlier decision that the Department illegally delayed the implementation of the significant disproportionality rule on the basis of the Administrative Procedures Act. The Department is appealing the decision, but no explanation was provided in the filing.

Budget and Appropriations:
House appropriators advance FY2020 Labor/HHS spending bill, still no Senate movement: The House Appropriations Committee held a markup […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 6, 2019

Highlights:

On May 1, POLITICO reported that USED has hired FI Consulting, an economic consulting firm, to analyze the “economic value” of the federal government’s student loan portfolio. The Department currently has a $1.5 trillion student loan portfolio, and the Department has allegedly considered selling off some of the debt to private investors.
On April 30, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) held a markup of its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor/HHS appropriations bill. The bill was reported out from the Subcommittee on a partisan voice vote. The bill includes an allocation of $75.9 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (USED), an increase of $4.4 billion over FY2019 levels. The House Appropriations Committee will consider the bill on May 8.
On April 29, CQ reported that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) will be waiting to move forward on FY2020 appropriations bills until there is an agreement on overall spending levels also known as spending caps.

Budget and Appropriations:
House Labor/HHS Subcommittee advances FY2020 spending bill, full Committee to consider May […]

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E-Update for the Week of April 29, 2019

Highlights:

On April 30 at 4:00pm, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee is holding a markup of the FY2020 Labor/HHS appropriations bill. The text of the draft bill is expected to be released on Monday, April 29.
On April 23, POLITICO reported that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) is not currently processing any borrower defense claims made by student loan borrowers, at least not those that will unlikely result in a student’s full loan being forgiven. There is currently a backlog of over 158,000 claims.
On April 22, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding a recent publication by the National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL). The Senator raised concerns with NCIL’s recent publication titled, “Screening for Dyslexia” in which he was concerned with the level of scholarship contained within the publication.

Budget and Appropriations:
House Labor/HHS Subcommittee to markup on FY2020 appropriations bill on Tuesday: On April 30 at 4:00pm, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee is holding […]

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How rising teacher pension costs hurt school districts

by SARAH BUTRYMOWICZ
Originally posted at www.hechingerreport.org on April 22, 2019.
States try to rescue their pension systems from bankruptcy, leaving less money for classrooms and teacher pay
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Glenn Gustafson was already bracing for a rough Valentine’s Day. Looming on his calendar was a sure-to-be-wrenching meeting to cut $10 million in spending from the Colorado Springs School District’s budget, a move largely forced by rapidly declining enrollment as families moved out of the district and singles moved in. Gustafson, the district’s CFO and — according to his wife — the “world’s only extroverted accountant,” had dubbed the meeting the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
And then, the week before the scheduled budget bloodshed, he attended a presentation by the director of the state’s pension system and got some unpleasant news. Gustafson learned that his district might have to slash an additional $890,000 next year, as part of the state’s latest attempt to make the system solvent by 2049.
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E-Update for the Week of April 22, 2019

Highlights:

On April 15, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The letter, addressed to Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), requesting the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Labor/HHS appropriations bill include language that directs the U.S. Department of Education (USED) as it relates to the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (TEPSLF).
On April 15, USED published draft consensus language from the negotiated rulemaking committees regarding various rules for the Higher Education Act. The public will be given an opportunity to comment on the notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs); any final regulations published before November 1, 2019 will become effective July 1, 2020 and any final regulations published on or after November 1, 2019 will become effective July 1, 2021.
On April 15, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Office released a set of recommendations for what colleges and universities should and should not do when issuing financial aid […]

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