Washington Wrap Up – August 22, 2017

Below is an abridged version of RAMC’s weekly Washington Wrap Up. Find out more about Wrap Up and other RAMC resources here.



The House and Senate will be in recess until after the September 4th Labor Day Holiday.

The House Rules Committee posted the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 3354), which is the legislative vehicle for the remaining appropriations bills not yet passed by the House. The posting is in anticipation of the full House considering this legislation after Labor Day. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies section of the bill is identical to the House Appropriations Committee passed version of this legislation. The Rules Committee announced that Members seeking to offer amendments must submit by Friday, August 25.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos, asking for information on senior counsel Robert Eitel’s involvement in ED’s decisions regarding the Gainful Employment (GE) and Borrower Defense to Repayment regulations.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement opposing ED’s decision to extend the deadline for alternative earnings appeals for GE programs.

Former House Education and the Workforce Committee Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) died at 83. The Washington Post’s obituary on Ehlers can be found here.


ED published a notice establishing new dates for alternative earnings appeals for GE programs in response to a recent decision in a court case involving some California for-profit colleges and universities. The new dates are October 6, 2017 for filing an intent to file an earnings appeal and February 1, 2018 for filing the earnings appeal. In addition, the notice states that institutions no longer need to achieve a 50 percent response rate on their surveys of the earnings of graduates and did not establish a new minimum threshold.

ED Secretary DeVos released a statement on the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA.

President Trump met with ED Secretary DeVos and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Alexander Acosta to discuss DOL’s progress implementing Trump’s Executive Order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” Acosta released a statement on the meeting.

ED announced that, to enhance the security and privacy of the transfer of sensitive personal data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, ED will begin encrypting the information for the 2018—2019 cycle and hide it from view on both the IRS and FAFSA web pages.

President Trump signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which expands the GI bill to offer a lifetime window for college tuition assistance. ED Secretary DeVos and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin released a statement supporting the bill.

In a case involving a University of Virginia law school graduate suing ED over Title IX guidance issued under the Obama Administration, ED asked a Federal court to put the lawsuit on hold for 90 days while ED’s Office for Civil Rights reviews the guidance. The court granted ED’s request.

Education News Headlines

U.S. Continues to Delay, Soften Gainful-Employment Rules [Inside Higher Ed]

Percentage of Borrowers Owing $20,000 or More Doubled Since 2002 [Inside Higher Ed]

New data explain Republican loss of confidence in higher education [Inside Higher Ed]

After Charlottesville Violence, Colleges Brace for More Clashes [The New York Times]

Public universities are on solid ground to cancel Richard Spencer events, legal experts say [Inside Higher Ed]

Five Years In, What’s Next For DACA? [National Public Radio]

Lawsuits From Students Accused of Sex Assault Cost Many Colleges More Than $200,000 [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Here’s What Betsy DeVos Told the Associated Press About Higher Ed [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Survey: Adults See College as Path to Better Career [Inside Higher Ed]

Survey sheds light on how cost, earnings information influences decisions over higher ed [Inside Higher Ed]

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration

ED Blog: How Do Schools Calculate Your Financial Aid?

DOL Blog: Inclusion and Innovation: Expanding the American Apprenticeship Model

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities

ED Notice: Interest rates for the period July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, for certain loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

ED Notice: Interest rates for loans made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan.

ED Comment Request: Program Integrity: Gainful Employment. Comments due September 18, 2017.

ED Comment Request: Request for Title IV Reimbursement or Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 (HCM2). Comments due September 18, 2017.