Washington Wrap Up – December 22, 2021

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

December 22, 2020

RAMC’s Washington Wrap Up will not run on December 29 and January 5. It will return on January 12, 2021.

Yesterday, December 21, Congressional leaders released the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. This bill is intended to provide full year Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations across the Federal government and COVID-19 relief and address other matters. The House and Senate both passed the legislation last night. The following highlights may be of interest to RAMC members:

  • Education Stabilization Funding – Head Count vs. FTE – The CARES Act allocated funds to institutions based on FTE.  The bill provides approximately $20 billion for IHEs by formula and now includes both FTE and head count factors (for Pell and non-Pell students) and even small factors for students that were exclusively online before the pandemic. This is a major RAMC win as approximately 50% of the funding to IHEs will be based head count – this will drive a higher percentage of these funds to your institutions.
  • FAFSA Simplification and Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals – Chairman Alexander was working hard to include a version of his FAFSA simplification proposal in this bill.  The bill does include a modified version of this proposal as well as the ability for nonprofit and public IHEs to provide Pell grants to incarcerated individuals under certain conditions.
  • Broadband – This was one of the more contentious parts of the bill, but in the end the bill establishes a $3.2 billion FCC fund that provides $50 monthly subsidies (and up to $100 per household for a device) for internet service for low-income households.  Specifically, the bill names families who have had an individual receive a Pell grant as eligible for these subsidies.

President Trump signed H.R.8900 into law to provide Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations to Federal government agencies through December 18, 2020.

The Trump Administration issued a joint final rule that would allow religious groups to retain their religious status even if they use Federal funding.

Today, The White House announced the President’s intent to appoint individuals to the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission focused on patriotic education.

The U.S. Department of Education announced $185 million in new grant awards through the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program.

DOL launched a website that provides information regarding training provider performance and outcomes.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a report on “The Effects of Expanding Pell Grant Eligibility for Short Term Occupational Training Programs.”

IES released a report on an “Approach to Using Student and Teacher Data to Understand and Predict Teacher Shortages.”

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review a case regarding financial compensation for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes.

Education News Headlines
[Click on the link to read the article online]
Biden to name Connecticut schools chief Miguel Cardona as Education Secretary [POLITICO]

Stimulus deal delivers billions in pandemic aid to colleges, but much more is needed, advocates say [The Washington Post]

Texas Challenges Legality of DACA in Latest Bid to End the Program [The Wall Street Journal]

74 Interview: Sen. Lamar Alexander on Finally Fixing College Financial Aid Form, Being Ready to Advise Biden’s Ed Secretary Pick and $900B Relief Bill [The74million.org]

Opinion: Jill Biden Can Spur Transformation at Community Colleges [ Inside Higher Ed]

The Year that Pushed Higher Ed to the Edge [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

A Worrisome Drop in College Aid Applications [The New York Times]

Colleges enrolled nearly 500,000 fewer students this fall [Education Dive]
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Report: “Fall 2020: Current Term Enrollment Estimates”

At the conclusion of the fall semester, some colleges say their COVID containment strategies worked [Inside Higher Ed]

Supreme Court will hear NCAA case on college athlete pay [POLITICO]

DeVos urges career staff to ‘be the resistance’ as Biden takes over [POLITICO]

4 questions for colleges now that the US has a coronavirus vaccine [Education Dive]

Q&A: Sen. Patty Murray on the Next Education Secretary, COVID-19 Relief, and ESSA [Education Week]

Next Semester, Same Worries: New ACE Survey of College Presidents Shows Mental and Financial Health Concerns [Inside Higher Ed]

What Do Demographic Projections Mean for Colleges? [Inside Higher Ed]

Committee News and Schedule, Schedule for House and Senate Floor:
Speaker of the House 
Press Release: Floor Speech on H.R. 133, Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief

Senate Majority Leader 
Press Release: Statement on Bipartisan Agreement on Pandemic Relief and Government Funding

Senate Minority Leader 
Press Release:  Statement on the Inclusion of Climate Wins in Omnibus Appropriations Bill, Says More Needs to be Done under The Biden Administration to Deliver Bold Climate Action

House Education and Labor Committee
Press Release: Education Leaders Celebrate Higher Education Agreement in FY21 Omnibus

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Press Release: Democrats Press Trump Administration On Decision Not to Pre-Order More Doses of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, Need for Transparent Plan Going Forward

House Committee on Appropriations 
Press Release: House Passes Omnibus Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief Package

Senate Committee on Appropriations 
Press Release: Congress Reaches Deal, Files FY21 Omnibus to Fund Govt, Provide COVID Relief

Senate Budget Committee 
Press Release: Senate Approves Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Federal Financial Management

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

ED Press Release: Secretary DeVos Announces New Funding to Accelerate Education Innovation and Empower Teachers with Professional Development Options

DOL Press Release: U.S. Department Of Labor Launches New Website To Offer Training Provider Performance And Outcomes

GAO Report: Agencies Need to Enhance Policies to Address Foreign Influence

IES Report: The Effects of Expanding Pell Grant Eligibility for Short Occupational Programs: Results from the Experimental Sites Initiative

Legislative Movement in Congress Last Week:

Sponsor: Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC] (Introduced 02/12/2019) Cosponsors: (15)
Committees: House – Oversight and Reform; Education and Labor
Latest Action:  12/21/2020 Presented to President.

S.5079 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to repeal the suspension of eligibility for grants, loans, and work assistance for drug-related offenses.
Sponsor: Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA] (Introduced 12/21/2020) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 12/21/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

S.5071 — A bill to support library infrastructure.
Sponsor: Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI] (Introduced 12/19/2020) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action: Senate – 12/19/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. (All Actions)

H.Res.1269 — Calling on the President of the United States to take Executive action to broadly cancel Federal student loan debt.
Sponsor:, Rep. Pressley, Ayanna [D-MA-7] (Introduced 12/17/2020)
Committees:, House – Education and Labor; Ways and Means
Latest Action:, House – 12/17/2020 Referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, 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 of the committee concerned.  (All Actions)
Press Release: Representatives Pressley, Omar, Waters, Adams Introduce Bold Resolution Calling on President-Elect Biden to Cancel $50,000 in Federal Student Loan Debt

S.5033 — A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to support college students to meet satisfactory academic progress.
Sponsor: Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ] (Introduced 12/16/2020) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action:  Senate – 12/16/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Press Release: Booker, Warren Introduce Legislation To Suspend Garnishments for Student Loan Borrowers

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:
ED Notice: Implementation of Key Federal Policies in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Comments due on or before January 19, 2021. 

HHS Grant Notice: Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) State Education Agency Grants. Applications due by February 15, 2021.

DOL Notice: Adverse Effect Wage Rate for Range Occupations in 2021

ED Notice: Applications for New Awards; Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Program-Stepping-Up Technology Implementation