Washington Wrap Up – February 6, 2018

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

February 6, 2018

The House could vote as early as today on a stopgap bill to fund the government through March 22, 2018. The current Continuing Resolution (CR) would keep the Federal government operating through February 8, 2018.

Last Tuesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on protecting privacy and promoting evidence based policy-making.

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx released a statement on President Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address.

Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Scott released a statement on the SOTU Address.

Last Tuesday, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held one in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing focused on accountability and risk to taxpayers in the context of reauthorizing the HEA.

Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released a statement on the need for a bipartisan agreement on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending.

The HELP Committee will hold a hearing on improving college affordability in the context of reauthorizing the HEA on Tuesday, February 6.

Democrats on the HELP Committee wrote a letter to Secretary DeVos asking her to provide them with information about her agency’s efforts to prevent workplace harassment. They sent similar inquiries to the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.

HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) released a staff white paper on accountability measures in higher education and is seeking public input on the HEA reauthorization process.. Chairman Alexander requested this input be submitted to accountability@help.senate.gov no later than 5:00 pm on February 15, 2018.

On Tuesday, President Trump delivered the SOTU.

Secretary of Education DeVos released a statement on President Trump’s SOTU.

Press reports have indicated that President Trump has asked the Senate to vote on an immigration bill that matches the four-part framework for immigration his Administration released last week.

On Wednesday, the Department of Education (ED) announced that Frank Brogan, the former Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, has been delegated the duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education where he will supervise Higher Education Programs, the Office of International and Foreign Language Education and the Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation. He will continue to also serve as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, overseeing the Department’s planning, evaluation, policy development, and budget activities.

ED also announced that Kathleen Smith is now Deputy Chief Operating Officer and will be responsible for managing, under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer, the daily operations of Federal Student Aid (FSA). Most recently, Smith served as Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Postsecondary Education. In addition, ED named Dr. Andrea Ramirez as Acting Director of Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Most she recently served as the Executive Director of the Faith and Education Coalition for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Lastly, ED announced Holly Ham as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She has been at ED since January and previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Management.

ED launched a new interactive web page dedicated to data on English Learner students (ELs).

ED’s second round of Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking is scheduled for next week. In preparation for the four-day meeting, ED released its initial regulatory proposals on each of the eight topics covered under this effort.

ED announced the agency will begin to receive applications for the Weighted Student Funding Pilot created through the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. ED will receive applications from school districts starting February 7.

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

  • February 6: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Improving College Affordability”


Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]

House GOP scrambles to avoid shutdown [Politico]

Alexander White Paper Lays Out Framework for Higher Ed Accountability [Inside Higher Ed]

Senate Democrats Issue Principles for Higher Ed Act [Inside Higher Ed]

Trump calls for converting community colleges to vocational schools [Inside Higher Ed]

Community colleges emphasize their missions beyond career training and including transfer [Inside Higher Ed]

Federal Student-Loan Program Is Rapidly Losing Money, and Income-Based Repayment Is to Blame, Report Says [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General Report: “The Department’s Communication Regarding the Costs of Income-Driven Repayment Plans and Loan Forgiveness Program”

In West Virginia, Free Community College Would Come With a Drug Test [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Monitor raises questions about successor to Corinthian Colleges [The Washington Post]

Is It a Big Deal That Trump Barely Mentioned Education in State of the Union? [Education Week]

Former Pennsylvania and Florida higher ed leader to fill in as assistant secretary [Inside Higher Ed]

Students With Disabilities Are Largely Ignored by Colleges’ Assault Prevention, Study Finds [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Gainful-Employment Rule Without Sanctions? [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Murray, Stabenow, and Peters to DeVos: Nassar Case Shows Need for Systemic Investigations of Campus Sexual Assault

Press Release: Murray: Higher Education Reauthorization, Including Accountability, “Should Put Students And Taxpayers First”

Press Release: Alexander Seeks Input on Higher Education Accountability Measures to Ensure Students Receive Degrees Worth Their Time and Money

Press Release: Alexander: Colleges Should Be More Accountable For Students Not Repaying Loans

House Education and the Workforce Committee
Press Release: At Hearing, Democrats Highlight Importance of Investments in Education Research

Press Release: Chairwoman Foxx Statement on President Trump’s SOTU Address

Press Release: Ranking Member Scott on the SOTU and the Reality for America’s Students and Workers

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
Press Release: Committee Announces Hearing to Examine Data Security and Bug Bounty Programs

Senate Committee on Appropriations
Press Release: Statement Of Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Need For A Bipartisan Agreement

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
White House Press Release: President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union Address

ED Press Release: Statement from Secretary DeVos on President Trump’s State of the Union Address

DOL Press Release: Statement By U.S. Secretary of Labor Acosta on the State of Union Address

ED Press Release: U.S. Department of Education Personnel Announcement

White House Press Release: Remarks by President Trump at Swearing – In Ceremony of Alex Azar as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services

DOL Blog: An Education to Grow With

IES Report: 2015–16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:16): Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2015–16

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
S.534 — Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017
Sponsor: Sen. Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA] (Introduced 03/06/2017) Cosponsors: (29)
Committees: Senate – Judiciary
Latest Action:  Senate – 01/30/2018 Message on Senate action sent to the House.

S.2351 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide that an individual may remain eligible to participate in the teacher loan forgiveness program under title IV of such Act if the individual’s period of consecutive years of employment as a full-time teacher is interrupted because the individual is the spouse of a member of the Armed Forces who is relocated during the school year pursuant to military orders for a permanent change of duty station, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD] (Introduced 01/29/2018) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 01/29/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Comment Request: Campus Safety and Security Survey. Comments due by April 3, 2018.

DOL Comment Request: Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program Reporting Requirements. Comments due by April 3, 2018.

ED Comment Request: Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program (TEACH Grant Program) Agreement to Serve. Comments due by April 6, 2018.

ED Comment Request: Fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP). Applications due by March 19, 2018.