Washington Wrap Up – September 26, 2017

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


Congressional Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to reinstate ED’s information sharing agreements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in connection with oversight of Federal student loans, which ED ended earlier this month, as well as requesting relevant communications between ED and CFPB.

Congressional Democrats sent a letter to ED Secretary DeVos opposing ED’s recent decisions to delay implementation of certain provisions in the gainful employment rule.

Former House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Bill Goodling (R-PA) died at the age of 89.


Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter encouraging CFPB to maintain active oversight of loan servicers and other participants in the student loan industry, as well as requesting relevant communications between ED and CFPB and additional information.

The Senate HELP Committee will hold an Executive Session to vote on Carlos Muñiz’s nomination to serve as General Counsel for ED on Wednesday, September 27.

Senate Republican leadership is aiming to release details on the tax changes that will be called for under their fiscal year 2018 budget resolution this week.

Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) drafted a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, making substantial changes to funding and coverage. Senate Republican leadership is aiming to vote on the bill this week.


ED Secretary DeVos announced that ED is rescinding the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance and will release a question-and-answer document while they work to release new guidance.

ED’s Office of Inspector General released a final audit report finding that Western Governors University was operating correspondence courses rather than a distance education program and therefore, should be required to return to ED $712 million in previously awarded Title IV funding.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled “Education Should Address Oversight and Communication Gaps in Its Monitoring of the Financial Condition of Schools.” The report recommends that ED (1) update the financial composite score, (2) improve its guidance to schools on how it calculates the composite score and (3) provide public data on final composite scores for schools. ED disagreed with the first recommendation, agreed with the second and will further evaluate the third.

The Trump Administration held its strategy meeting with a small number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities leaders, where the White House announced the appointment of Johnathan Holifield as executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

ED has preliminarily concluded that Purdue University’s acquisition of Kaplan University can move forward.

ED Secretary DeVos held an interview with Education Week. Read the questions and answers here.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with a summary of the following event next week:

  • September 27: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Executive Session Nominations, including Carlos G. Muniz nominated to be General Counsel Department of Education”

Education News Headlines

Session takes an early look at results from FAFSA filing changes [Inside Higher Ed]

Op-Ed: Colleges, close the skills gap by opening doors to adult learners [The Hill]

Student loan companies reach $21.6 million settlement over dubious debt collection lawsuits [The Washington Post]

What DACA’s end could mean for colleges [The Atlantic]

Abroad and online — beyond Title IX’s reach? [Inside Higher Ed]

Community college’s job market study highlights need for middle skills despite low unemployment [Inside Higher Ed]

Hundreds of Advocates Tell Betsy DeVos: Don’t Toss Civil Rights Regulations [Education Week]

Department of Ed rejects calls to update oversight measures [Inside Higher Ed]

Trump, And Most Black College Presidents, Absent From Annual Meeting [National Public Radio]

What You Need to Know About the Inspector General’s Audit of Western Governors U. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor

House Education and the Workforce Committee
Press Release: Scott Statement on Death of Bill Goodling, Former Chair of Ed & Workforce Committee

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration

ED Blog: Education Opportunity Migrates to Nation’s Farmworkers

DOL Press Release: U.S. Department of Labor Awards Nearly $1.5 Million For Women In Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations


Legislative Movement in Congress

S.Amdt.1050 — Purpose: To increase funding for research, development, test, and evaluation for historically Black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions of higher education. Amends Bill: H.R.2810
Sponsor: Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC] (Submitted 09/13/2017) (Proposed 09/18/2017)
Latest Action: 09/18/17 Amendment SA 1050 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.

S.1841 — A bill to amend the National Apprenticeship Act to provide that applications relating to apprenticeship programs shall be processed in a fair and timely manner, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS] (Introduced 09/19/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action: 09/19/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.3695 — Protect DREAMer Confidentiality Act of 2017
Sponsor: Rep. O’Rourke, Beto [D-TX-16] (Introduced 09/07/2017) Cosponsors: (24)
Committees: House – Judiciary
Latest Action: 09/21/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices

DHS Notice of availability: Memorandum on Rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

ICE Comment Request: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS); Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved Collection. Comments due November 17, 2017.

ED Comment Request: Study of Higher Education Articulation Agreements Covering the Early Care and Education Workforce. Comments due November 20, 2017.