E-Update for July 14, 2017
- On July 13, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) held a markup of the FY2018 LHHS Appropriations bill, during which the Subcommittee reported out its draft bill by a party line vote of 9-6.
- On July 13, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Opportunities for State Leadership of Early Childhood Programs” to discuss the effectiveness of federal and state investments in early childhood programs.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Provides Feedback on Massachusetts ESSA Plan: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) provided feedback to Massachusetts regarding their ESSA consolidated state plan. Feedback has already been provided to Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon, Delaware, New Mexico, Nevada, and Tennessee. USED will continue to release feedback on the remaining state plans submitted in May in the coming weeks.
July 7, 2017
Democratic Members Send Letter to USED on Student Loan Debt Collection: A group of Democratic members, including Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos, stating their concerns about the impact of a court case regarding the Department’s student loan debt collection contracts. The members argue that, “After a federal court barred the Department from assigning newly defaulted borrowers to PCAs [private collection agencies], hundreds of thousands of borrowers become trapped in limbo without a clear option for curing their default.” The members ask the Department to provide information about how it is assisting borrowers during this time.
July 13, 2017
Democratic Members Raise Concerns About USED’s Civil Rights Enforcement: A group of Democratic members, led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Judy Chu (D-CA), sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding their concerns about the Trump Administration’s enforcement of civil rights laws at the Department. In the letter, the members specifically raise concerns about the repeal of guidance on transgender students’ rights as well as the funding cuts to the Office for Civil Rights’ budget in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 President’s budget request.
July 7, 2017
House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up FY2018 LHHS Appropriations Bill: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) held a markup of the FY2018 LHHS Appropriations bill, during which the Subcommittee reported out its draft bill by a party line vote of 9-6. The bill will now move to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration. LHHS Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said that House Democrats plan to offer amendments at the full Appropriations Committee markup.. The bill can be found here and a webcast of the markup here.
- The FY2018 House LHHS Appropriations bill would fund USED at an estimated $66 billion, which is $2.4 billion or 3.3% below the FY2017 levels. In the bill, some programs see increases compared to current funding levels, such as IDEA with an increase of $200 million, TRIO with an increase of $60 million, and Head Start with an increase of $22 million. Other funding levels are maintained including those for Title I, State Assessments, Preschool Development Grants, and the Office of Civil Rights. Program eliminations appear to include Title II-Part A and Education, Innovation, and Research Grants in ESSA, and Title II Teacher Quality Partnership Grants in the Higher Education Act. Additionally, the bill includes a $3.27 billion rescission of funding from the Pell Grant surplus.
- On Friday July 14, House Republican leadership noted that all 12 appropriations bills will be completed in committee by the end of next week, and that leadership is testing with the Republican conference the strategy of combining all bills into an $1 trillion omnibus funding bill for floor passage by August recess.
July 13, 2017
House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Early Childhood Programs: The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Opportunities for State Leadership of Early Childhood Programs.” During the hearing, Chairman of the Subcommittee Todd Rokita (R-IN) stated that Republicans will continue to work with Democrats on improving early childhood education programs, while Ranking Member of the Subcommittee Jared Polis (D-CO) noted that eliminating duplicative programs should be done with caution. A webcast of the hearing can be found here and Chairman Todd Rokita’s statement here.
- In advance of the hearing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on federal investments in early learning and child care. The report finds that USED and the Department of Health and Human Services have increased their coordination and communication efforts regarding early childhood programs and that while duplication of services still exists, some of this overlap is necessary to ensure that all children have access to early childhood education. The report is available here.
July 13, 2017
House Democrats Introduce H.R. 3199, the “Improving Access to Higher Education Act” Regarding Students with Disabilities: House Democrats, including Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), introduced H.R. 3199, the “Improving Access to Higher Education Act.” The bill would amend the Higher Education Act to increase college access and completion for students with disabilities. The bill text can be found here.
July 12, 2017
Senate Releases Revised Health Care Bill: Senate Republicans released a revised health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Vice President Mike Pence’s statement is available here, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) statement here, and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray’s (D-WA) statement here.
July 13, 2017
Ranking Member Murray Sends Letter to USED on Campus Sexual Assault Guidance: Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos regarding her concerns that the Department may change guidance on campus sexual assault. In the letter, Ranking Member Murray asked USED Secretary DeVos to listen to survivors of sexual assault and protect students’ civil rights.
July 13, 2017
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Hosts Discussions on Title IX Sexual Assault Guidance: USED Secretary DeVos hosted a series of roundtable discussions with stakeholders, including students and parents, to discuss the Department’s Title IX sexual assault guidance, which directs colleges and universities to prevent sexual harassment.
July 13, 2017
USED Holds Public Hearings on Higher Education Regulations: USED held public hearings to discuss the gainful employment and borrower defense regulations developed under the Obama Administration. At the opening of the first meeting, Kathleen Smith, USED’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education spoke about the importance of offering students more options, including through career and trade education, and USED’s commitment to ensuring that higher education institutions serve their students well. Meanwhile, consumer advocates asked the Department to maintain some pieces of the regulations, including the ban on mandatory arbitration clauses in enrollment agreements. Career college advocates, on the other hand, asked that the gainful employment regulations apply to all higher education institutions and that the regulations provide for more nuance regarding the metrics and programs included.
July 10 & 12, 2017
- On July 18, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled, “ESSA Implementation: Exploring State and Local Reform Efforts” at 10:00 am. More information can be found here.
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reduce the interest rate caps for Federal Direct student loans, to eliminate loan origination fees on all Federal Direct student loans, and to provide for refinancing of Federal Direct student loans and Federal family education loans.
Sponsor: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
A bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to review and score TRIO applications with minor budgeting errors.
Sponsor: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
A bill to require reporting by the Secretary of Education on the implementation of recent Government Accountability Office recommendations.
Sponsor: Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the administration of Post-9/11 Educational Assistance by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
A bill to support the preparation and retention of outstanding educators in all fields to ensure a bright future for children in under-resourced, under-served communities in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Improving Access to Higher Education Act
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve accessibility to, and completion of, postsecondary education for students, including students with disabilities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)