Washington Wrap Up – April 3, 2018

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

April 3, 2018

On Friday, March 23, the President signed the 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill into law, which finalized appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2018, keeping the government funded through September 30. The bill includes $70.9 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Education (ED), which is an increase of $3.9 billion, or 6 percent, from the FY2017 enacted funding level. The bill includes significant increases for both K-12 and higher education programs.

The House and the Senate are in recess until the week of April 9. The Senate returns on Monday, April 9, and the House returns on Tuesday, April 10.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) wrote a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting his help to consolidate fragmented and overlapping early education programs.

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Appropriations announced a date for a public witness hearing on FY2019 appropriations. The hearing will be held on Thursday, April 26. The deadline to submit requests to testify is Friday, April 6. The deadline to submit written testimony is Thursday, April 26.

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Appropriations will accept written testimony from outside witnesses on FY2019 appropriations. The deadline to submit written testimony is Friday, June 1.

The Administration’s school safety Commission held its first meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was intended to focus on organizational matters for the four cabinet officials on the commission and their staff. According to ED’s press release, the Commission discussed staffing, the timeline for future meetings with stakeholders, coordination with State and local partners, the scope of the Commission’s work and how best to incorporate stakeholder input. The Commission also set up an email address (safety@ed.gov) to receive input.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced this week the approval of consolidated State plans for Texas, Idaho, Mississippi and Rhode Island under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Last Friday, a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Columbia ruled that ED under the prior Administration had “procedurally erred” in terminating the recognized accreditor status of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), violating the Administrative Procedure Act. The judge remanded the case to Secretary DeVos to consider the relevant evidence.

ED modified the College Scorecard this month to update existing data elements and provided additional information on retention and transfer rates, as well as listed certificate programs available on each institution’s scorecard page.

Politico is reporting that ED may be considering regulating certain higher education issues, including State authorization for institutions of higher education, requirements for education programs to ensure regular and substantive interaction with faculty, and accreditation.

The National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics released their annual Indicators of School Crime and Safety report. Secretary DeVos released a statement in response to the report.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has requested comments on the Request for Restoration of Educational Assistance, VA Form 22-0989, which are the forms necessary to restore veterans’ education benefits used at a school that closed or had its approval to receive veterans benefits withdrawn. The VA has asked OMB for emergency clearance for these forms so applications for such restoration can be accepted in the very near future. The VA is required by law to begin accepting these applications. Comments are due April 26.


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

Venting on Immigration, Trump Vows ‘No More DACA Deal’ and Threatens Nafta [The New York Times]

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Community Colleges [The Atlanta]

Deep-Rooted Grievances Prompt Sit-In at Howard U.: ‘We’ll Be Here as Long as It Takes’ [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

FCC Chair Moves to Block E-Rate Funds for Companies Deemed ‘Security Risk’ [Education Week]

3 Key Takeaways From New Federal Data on Campus Crime [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Obamacare has led to fewer uninsured students, study finds [Inside Higher Ed]

McDonald’s cites GOP tax bill in move to raise worker tuition aid [The Hill]

As DeVos School Safety Panel Meets, Educators Blast Exclusion of School Voices [Education Week]

Here’s How Changes to the U.S. Census Could Impact Education Funding [Education Week]

Arming Teachers Not a Great Idea, Says Top Republican Senator for Education [Education Week]

Dept. Of Education Fail: Teachers Lose Grants, Forced To Repay Thousands In Loans [National Public Radio]

OER gains momentum with federal push in 2018 budget [Inside Higher Ed]

Social science groups condemn new U.S. Census question about citizenship [Inside Higher Ed]

Christian Colleges Are Tangled In Their Own LGBT Policies [National Public Radio]

New Leader for Gates Foundation’s Postsecondary Work [Inside Higher Ed]

Federal judge rules Arizona’s Prop. 123 education funding plan illegal [Arizona Daily Star]

President Trump Signs Spending Bill That Includes Billions More for Education [Education Week]

Tension Between DeVos and a GOP Congress Reflects a Beltway Tradition [Education Week]

Why Republicans are now bragging about their investments in education [The Washington Post]

Federal Judge Hands a Victory to Embattled Accreditor [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Budget bill partially fixes financial aid data-sharing problem [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
The House and the Senate are in recess until the week of April 9.

House Education and the Workforce Committee
Press Release: Ranking Member Scott Statement on the Eighth Anniversary of SAFRA

Press Release: Scott, Pallone Urge HHS Secretary Azar to Protect, Not Undermine, Civil Rights in Health Care

House Committee on the Budget
Press Release: Yarmuth Responds to House GOP’s Push for Balanced Budget Amendment

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
Presidential Proclamation: Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., 2018

White House Press Release: ICYMI: Secretary Of Education Betsy DeVos: “How The Omnibus Spending Law Makes Schools Safer”

ED Press Release: U.S. Department of Education Announces 2018 Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program Grant Competition

ED Press Release: Statement from Secretary DeVos on the 2017 Annual Report on Crime and School Safety

ED Press Release: Secretary DeVos Convenes Organizational Meeting for Federal Commission on School Safety

ED Blog: Educators: Add “Adaptable Skills” to the Educational Mix; Advice From Advanced Placement Capstone Students

DOL Press Release: Omnibus Appropriations Bill Supports Important Priorities for the American Workforce

IES WWC Report: Summer Counseling

IES Report: Degree and Nondegree Credentials Held by Labor Force Participants

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
H.R.5416 — To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish a student loan forgiveness program for women who are small business owners.
Sponsor: Rep. Adams, Alma S. [D-NC-12] (Introduced 03/29/2018) Cosponsors: (4)
Committees: House – Education and the Workforce, Ways and Means
Latest Action:  House – 03/29/2018 Referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction
Press Release: Adams Introduces the Women Small Business Growth Act

H.R.5411 — To amend the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 with respect to grants for certain areawide integrated pest management projects, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2] (Introduced 03/26/2018) Cosponsors: (8)
Committees: House – Agriculture
Latest Action:  House – 03/26/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

S.943 — Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act
Sponsor: Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND] (Introduced 04/26/2017) Cosponsors: (4)
Committees: Senate – Indian Affairs | House – Education and the Workforce Committee Reports: S. Rept. 115-201
Latest Action:  House – 03/26/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Comment Request: Federal Student Loan Program Deferment Request Forms. Comments due June 1, 2018.

ED Comment Request: Federal Student Loan Program: Internship/Residency and Loan Debt Burden Forbearance Forms. Comments due June 1, 2018.

ED Comment Request Extension: Higher Education Hurricane and Wildfire Relief Program Application. Comments due April 5, 2018.

ED Comment Request: Income Driven Repayment Plan Request for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loan Programs. Comments due June 1, 2018.

ED Comment Request: U.S. Department of Education Grant Performance Report Form (ED 524B). Comments due June 1, 2018.

ED Correction: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Information to be Verified for the 2019-2020 Award Year.

BIA Comment Request: Bureau of Indian Education Adult Education Program. Comments due April 30, 2018.

VA Comment Request: Request for Restoration of Educational Assistance, VA Form 22-0989. Comments due April 26, 2018.

DOL Comment Request: Workforce Flexibility (Workflex) Plan Submission and Reporting Requirements. Comments due April 25, 2018.