E-Update for December 18, 2015

E-Update for December 18, 2015


U.S. Department of Education (USED) Takes First Steps in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Implementation: USED initiated the rulemaking process by publishing a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register, seeking advice and recommendations for Title I regulations under ESSA. The Department also issued a Dear Colleague Letter to states to clarify some initial steps as states, school districts, and schools transition to the new law.
December 18, 2015

ESSA: Opportunities and Risks: On December 14, EducationCounsel Managing Partner Scott Palmer penned this LatestCounsel blog highlighting three opportunities and one risk he sees in ESSA. This is the first in a series of blogs from the EducationCounsel team unpacking ESSA and highlighting next steps for states and local school districts.  
December 14, 2015

House and Senate Approve Omnibus Appropriations Bill: The House and Senate have approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which will provide funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.  The House voted on two separate bills – the Omnibus and a Tax Extender package.  On December 17, the House approved the Tax Extender package by a vote of 318-109, and on December 18, the House approved the Omnibus bill by a vote of 316-113.  The bills were then combined into one bill before being sent to the Senate, which passed the bill by a vote of 65-33 on December 18.  The next step will be the President’s signature to sign the bill into law.  The Omnibus is available here; the accompanying statement is available here.  Detailed information is available below.
December 18, 2015


FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

The Omnibus Appropriations bill provides $162.127 billion in base discretionary funding, $5.364 billion above the FY2015 level.  USED receives $68.363 billion in discretionary funding, a $1.2 billion increase above FY2015 (excludes mandatorily appropriated funding for Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants).

Funding for Key U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services Appropriations Programs:

Program FY2016 Omnibus Funding Level FY2015 Funding Level Compared to FY2015 Funding Level
Title I $14.909 billion $14.409 billion +$500 million
Special Education Grants to States $11.913 billion $11.498 billion +$415 million
Child Care Development Block Grants $2.761 billion $2.435 billion $326 million
Head Start $9.168 billion $8.598 billion $570 million
Preschool Development Grants $250 million $250 million $0
School Improvement Grants $450 million $506 million -$56 million
State Assessments $378 million $378 million $0
Investing in Innovation $120 million $120 million $0
Charter School Grants (including funding for Charter Management Organizations) $333 million (up to $100 million for charter management competition) $253 million (up to $75 million for charter management competition) +$80 million (up to +25 million for charter management competition)
Improving Teacher Quality   State Grants (Title II) $2.35 billion $2.35 billion $0
Non-Cognitive Skills Initiative $3 million $2 million +$1 million
Career, Technical Education State Grants $1.118 billion $1.118 billion $0
Pell Grants Max Award $5,915 $5,775 +$140
Pell Grants $22.475 billion $22.475 billion $0
Federal Work-Study $990 million $990 million $0
First in the World Eliminated $60 million -$60 million
Statewide Data Systems $34.5 million $34.5 million $0
Office of Civil Rights $107 million $100 million +$7 million


U.S Congress

Senate Passes the Strengthening Education Through Research Act (SETRA): By unanimous consent, the Senate passed SETRA, which reauthorizes the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), to improve the federal research structure at USED  to better provide access to useful data that can help raise student achievement levels in the classroom.  Specifically, SETRA authorizes the Institute for Education Sciences, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.  The bill is available here.
December 17, 2015

Senate and House Pass the Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015: The Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 is a two-year extension of the Perkins Loan program with some modifications.  The extension allows current and new undergraduate borrowers to receive new Perkins Loans through September 2017 and additional disbursements of loans through the 2017-2018 award year.  Current borrowers may receive Perkins Loans after exhausting their subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan eligibility, and new borrowers may receive Perkins Loans after exhausting all their Direct Loan eligibility.  It also allows current graduate borrowers who remain in their course of study to continue receiving new Perkins Loans through September 2016 and additional disbursements of loans through the 2016-2017 school year. The bill was passed with an amendment by voice vote in the Senate on December 16, and the House agreed to the Senate amendment without objection on December 17.  Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) statement is available here. The bill is available here.
December 17, 2015


U.S Department of Education

USED Announces Increased Availability of Flexible Repayment Plans for Student Borrowers: USED announced that all Direct Loan borrowers are eligible to enroll in the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan, which allows student borrowers to limit the amount of their monthly federal student loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income.
December 18, 2015

USED Announces High School Graduation Rate Reaches Record High: According to data released by USED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the nation’s graduation rate reached 82 percent in the 2013-2014 school year, the highest level since USED adopted the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) in 2010-11.
December 15, 2015

USED Issues Guidance on How Schools Can Partner with Outside Organizations Providing Single-Sex Programs under Title IX: USED issued guidance on schools’ responsibilities under Title IX on how to partner with outside organizations that provide single-sex programs to school districts. The guidance reminds districts that they are prohibited under Title IX from providing significant assistance to any organization that discriminates on the basis of sex.
December 15, 2015


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Administration for Children and Families Proposes to Amend the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Regulations: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families pre-published a Federal Register notice proposing rule changes to the CCDF regulations related to provisions of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 in order to protect the health and safety of children in child care; help parents make informed consumer choices and access information to support child development; provide equal access to stable, high quality child care for low-income children; and enhance the overall quality of child care and the early childhood workforce.
December 18, 2015


New Legislation

H.R.4256 : Simple Income-Based Repayment Act
Sponsor: Rep Murphy, Patrick [FL-18] (introduced 12/15/2015)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce; House Ways and Means

H.R.4260 : Servicemember Higher Education Protection Act
Sponsor: Rep Sinema, Kyrsten [AZ-9] (introduced 12/15/2015)      Cosponsors (2)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce; House Veterans’ Affairs; House Armed Services

H.R.4263 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for the preparation of career and technical education teachers.
Sponsor: Rep Mooney, Alexander X. [WV-2] (introduced 12/16/2015)      Cosponsors (7)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce

H.RES.570 : Recognizing 2016 as the year of the 100th Anniversary of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Sponsor: Rep Wilson, Frederica S. [FL-24] (introduced 12/17/2015)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce

S.2419 : A bill to improve quality and accountability for educator preparation programs.
Sponsor: Sen Reed, Jack [RI] (introduced 12/17/2015)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions



Underemployment in the Early Careers of College Graduates Following the Great Recession: This report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that, though labor market conditions steadily improved following the Great Recession, underemployment among recent college graduates continued to climb, reaching highs not seen since the early 1990s. In this paper, we take a closer look at the jobs held by underemployed college graduates in the early stages of their careers during this period. We show that relatively few recent graduates were working in low-skilled service jobs, and that many of the underemployed worked in fairly well paid non-college jobs requiring some degree of knowledge and skill. We also find that the likelihood of being underemployed was lower for those with technically oriented and occupation-specific majors than it was for those with degrees in more general fields. Moreover, our analysis suggests that underemployment is a temporary phase for many recent college graduates as they transition to better jobs after spending some time in the labor market, particularly for those who start their careers in low-skilled service jobs.
December, 2015

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