Washington Wrap Up – January 21, 2020

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


January 21, 2020

The House passed a Congressional Review Act resolution (H.J.Res.76) that would repeal the Administration’s recently finalized Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) rule, leaving the Obama-era BDR rule in place, by a 231 to 180 vote.

House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) invited U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to testify before the Committee on the Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 U.S. Department of Education (ED) budget request, which has yet to be released, on either March 24 or April 1.

Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ) was appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee, replacing Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX).

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance exempting student loan borrowers from having to pay Federal taxes on the amount of loan forgiveness they receive from a successful BDR claim or closed-school loan discharge. The guidance applies to loans discharged after January 1, 2016.

ED published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the eligibility of faith-based institutions of higher education (IHEs) to participate in Direct Grant programs, State-Administered Formula Grant programs and discretionary grant programs authorized under Titles III and V of HEA. The NPRM also seeks to encourage compliance at IHEs with the First Amendment and “stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech,” in response to the President’s executive order on campus free speech signed last year. The deadline for public comments on the NPRM is February 18, 2020.

ED released new guidance on prayer and religious expression in public elementary and secondary schools.

ED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a new report finding that, in 2017, black 18- to 24-year-olds completed high school at a rate “not measurably different” than their white peers. From 1977 to 2016, white students completed high school at a consistently higher rate than black students.

Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]
Rethinking Remedial Education: New Study Shows College Students Did Better in ‘Corequisite’ Courses Built Around Extra Instruction and Support [The74million.org]

Community College Research Center Report: “The Effects of Corequisite Remediation: Evidence From a Statewide Reform in Tennessee”

Health Benefits From Community College Accessibility [Inside Higher Ed]
National Bureau of Economic Research Report: “College Access and Adult Health”

New book says students are more supportive of affirmative action than is believed [Inside Higher Ed]

Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative. [The Washington Post]

Moody’s: Slow Student Loan Repayment Driving High Balances, Bringing Social, Credit Implications [Inside Higher Ed]

Leaders selected in California’s unprecedented searches will help shape future of higher education [EdSource]

IRS provides tax relief for those with discharged student loans [The Hill]

The Gloves Are Off: What a Deal Between a Mega-University and a Community-College System Says About the Fight for Students [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Poll Points to Education as Key 2020 Issue, Especially for Democrats. But Hang On [Education Week]

Canceling Student Debt Is Easier Than It Sounds [National Public Radio]

College Pays Off, College Board Finds [Inside Higher Ed]

Enrollment nudges with incentives create better results, report finds [Inside Higher Ed]

Long-term look at return on investment reveals positive indicators for liberal arts [Inside Higher Ed]

Market for rights to college athletes’ name, image, likeness is emerging [Inside Higher Ed]

President of California’s online community college to step down [EdSource]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
House Education and Labor Committee 
Press Release: Chairman Scott Stands Up for Students, and Votes to Reverse Devos’ Harmful Borrower Defense Rule

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions  
Press Release: Following Requests from Murray, Wyden, Durbin: IRS, Treasury Expand Tax Relief for Defrauded Student Loan Borrowers

U.S. Department of Education and the Administration:
White House Press Release: President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Designate Individuals to Key Administration Posts

DOL Press Release: U.S. Department Of Labor Announces Proposed Rule Regarding Equal Treatment Of Faith-Based Organizations In U.S. Department Of Labor-Supported Social Service Programs

ED Press Release: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces Proposed Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Education Institutions, Provides Updated School Prayer Guidance

IES Report: “High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09): A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts and Student Financial Aid Records of Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders”

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:
H.R.5654 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants to institutions of higher education for the establishment of schools of medicine (or branch campuses) in underserved areas, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Costa, Jim [D-CA-16] (Introduced 01/17/2020) Cosponsors: (2)
Committees: House – Energy and Commerce
Latest Action:  House – 01/17/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R.5647 — To authorize the Secretary of Education to make grants to support fire safety education programs on college campuses.
Sponsor: Rep. Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [D-NJ-9] (Introduced 01/16/2020) Cosponsors: (5)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 01/16/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

H.J.Res.76 — Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to “Borrower Defense Institutional Accountability”.
Sponsor: Rep. Lee, Susie [D-NV-3] (Introduced 09/26/2019) Cosponsors: (162)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 01/16/2020 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
Press Release: ***VIDEO FILE INCLUDED*** House Passes Rep. Susie Lee’s Bipartisan Bill to Overturn 2019 Borrower Defense Rule

H.R.5613 — To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow qualified entrepreneurs to temporarily defer Federal student loan payments after starting a new business.
Sponsor: Rep. Gallego, Ruben [D-AZ-7] (Introduced 01/15/2020) Cosponsors: (2)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 01/15/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Press Release: Gallego, Swalwell Introduce Bill to Provide Student Debt Relief for Young Entrepreneurs

H.R.5618 — To make supplemental appropriations to provide additional funds to Americorps for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020.
Sponsor: Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large] (Introduced 01/15/2020) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House – Appropriations
Latest Action:  House – 01/15/2020 Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.
Press Release: Norton Introduces Bill to Expand AmeriCorps, Reduce Youth Unemployment

H.J.Res.76 — Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to “Borrower Defense Institutional Accountability”.
Sponsor: Rep. Lee, Susie [D-NV-3] (Introduced 09/26/2019) Cosponsors: (148)
Committees: House – Education and Labor
Latest Action:  House – 01/13/2020 Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 790 Reported to House. Rule provides for consideration of H.R. 1230 and H.J. Res. 76 with 1 hour of general debate. Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or…
Press Release: ***VIDEO FILE INCLUDED*** Rep. Lee Addresses Rules Committee in Support of Her Bill to Overturn Sec. DeVos’s Harmful Borrower Defense Rule

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Comment Request: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Direct Grant Programs, State-Administered Formula Grant Programs, Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, and Strengthening Institutions Program. Comments due on or before February 18, 2020. 

ED Comment Request: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program Repayment Plan Selection Form. Comments due on or before February 18, 2020. 

ED Notice: Annual Notice of Interest Rates for Variable-Rate Federal Student Loans Made Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

ED Grant Notice: Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) program. Pre-Application Webinar Information: The Department will hold a pre-application meeting via webinar for prospective applicants. Detailed information regarding this webinar will be provided on the website for the UISFL program at www2.ed.gov/​programs/​iegpsugisf/​index.htmlApplications due March 24, 2020.