E-Update for August 18, 2017
- Congress is currently on recess until September 5.
- On August 15, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Connecticut and Louisiana’s ESSA consolidated state plans.
- On August 17, USED announced that the Department has set a new deadline of October 6 for higher education institutions to file appeals of graduates’ earning data under the gainful employment rule. The submission date is now February 1.
- On August 17, USED Secretary DeVos sent an internal memo to Department staff regarding the events in Charlottesville, VA. In the memo, USED Secretary DeVos reiterated the Department’s commitment to ensuring all students have a safe and high-quality learning environment free from discrimination.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Takes Action on ESSA Consolidated State Plans: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Connecticut and Louisiana’s ESSA consolidated state plans. The press release is available here. Also this week, USED Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Jason Botel provided feedback on Colorado’s ESSA state plan. In the feedback letter, USED Acting Secretary Botel noted that the state needs to make revisions to its plan for measuring academic achievement, setting long-term goals, and addressing students who have opted out of state tests. The feedback is available here. USED also posted a webinar presentation this week on “Consolidated State Plans,” which focuses on how states can avoid completion issues when submitting their final ESSA consolidated state plans to the Department. The webinar also discussed lessons learned from USED’s review of the first set of state plans submitted earlier this year. The presentation is available here.
August 15, 2017
President Trump Signs Veterans Education Bill: President Donald Trump signed H.R. 3218, the “Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017” into law. The bill removes the 15-year limit for the use of GI bill education benefits and restores benefits for those affected by the closure of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. In response, USED Secretary DeVos and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin released a joint statement in which they praised the bill and stated, “This important legislation will give countless veterans and their families greater access to the education and workforce training they deserve.”
August 16, 2017
President Trump Speaks on Workforce Training and Apprenticeships: President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Labor Acosta, and USED Secretary DeVos held a workforce and apprenticeship discussion to discuss efforts to expand apprenticeship and workforce training programs in a number of industries. During the discussion, President Trump highlighted the importance of apprenticeship programs, especially those focused on STEM fields.
August 11, 2017
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Announces Changes to Gainful Employment Appeals Deadline and Process: USED announced in the Federal Register that the Department has set a new deadline for higher education institutions to file appeals of graduates’ earning data under the gainful employment rule. The date to file an intent to appeal is now October 6 and the submission date is now February 1. The Department also made changes to the appeals process.
August 17, 2017
- On August 17, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement in response to the notice. Regarding the decision to delay, Ranking Member Murray stated, “I strongly urge Secretary DeVos to stop skirting federal rules and start holding career training programs accountable when they fail their students and leave them with debt they cannot repay.” The statement is available here.
USED Secretary DeVos Sends Memo to Staff Regarding Events in Charlottesville: USED Secretary DeVos sent an internal memo to Department staff regarding the events in Charlottesville, VA. In the memo, USED Secretary DeVos writes, “Last weekend’s tragic and unthinkable events in Charlottesville, which stole three innocent lives and injured many more, were wholly unacceptable… We all have a role to play in rejecting views that pit one group of people against another.” USED Secretary DeVos also reiterated the Department’s commitment to ensuring all students have a safe and high-quality learning environment free from discrimination.
August 17, 2017
USED Assistant General Counsel Releases Letter Regarding Appointment of Robert Eitel: This week, a June 21 letter from USED Assistant General Counsel Marcella Goodridge-Keiller to Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) was released concerning the appointment of Robert Eitel as Senior Counselor to USED Secretary DeVos. The Senators had previously raised concerns about Mr. Eitel’s connections to for-profit colleges and his involvement in USED’s work on debt relief and fraud claims. In the letter, USED Assistant General Counsel Goodridge-Keiller states that Mr. Eitel has been recused from borrower defense claims filed by students under the current borrower defense regulation and from claims filed under the previous regulation.
- On August 15, in response to the USED letter, Senator Warren released a letter requesting additional information about Mr. Eitel’s position to ensure that he has not violated federal ethics law while he was working as an adviser to the Secretary earlier this year and remained in his previous job. The letter is available here.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):
CFPB Releases Reports on Student Debt Growth and Student Loan Repayment Process: CFPB released a report on how student debt impacts older adults, which finds that student debt has grown among the older population in each state. The report is available here. On August 16, CFPB released a report titled, “CFPB Data Point: Student Loan Repayment,” which focuses on trends in the repayment process for student loans over a 14-year period. The report is available here. CFPB also released a report titled, “Innovation Highlights: Emerging student loan repayment assistance,” which highlights employer-based student loan repayment programs as a promising option for some borrowers. The report is available here.
August 18, 2017
CFPB Reaches Settlement on Debt Relief for Students: CFPB and a group of state attorneys general reached settlements in a case concerning an investment firm that holds the private loan debt of students who attended the now-closed Corinthian Colleges. According to the settlement, many of these students will be eligible for debt relief.
August 17, 2017
- On August 25, USED’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center will host a webinar at 2:00 pm to provide information on how K-12 schools and districts can be prepared for emergency events. More information is available here.
- On August 17, USED released a Homeroom blog post titled, “How Do Schools Calculate Your Financial Aid?” which provides detailed information and resources to explain how financial aid is calculated. The blog post is available here.
- On August 16, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Evaluation and Reginal Assistance released a report titled, “An Exploration of Instructional Practices that Foster Language Development and Comprehension: Evidence from Prekindergarten through Grade 3 in Title I Schools.” The report focuses on initial evaluation of practices related to students’ growth in language skills and comprehension in listening and reading in the early grades. The report is available here.
- On August 15, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report titled, “Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2015-16 Private School Universe Survey.” The report analyzes data from the 2015-16 Private School Universe Survey, including school size, level, religious orientation, program emphasis, etc. The report is available here.
- On August 15, NCES published a First Look report titled, “Characteristics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2015–16 National Teacher and Principal Survey.” The report finds that the majority of public school teachers were both female (77%) and White (80%). The report is available here.