Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: February 24

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (February 17 – 21).  

The House and Senate were in recess this week.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold two hearings next week: an Executive Session on February 26 to vote on several pending nominations, including Portia Y. Wu to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training, Christopher P. Lu to be the Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Massie Ritsch to be the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education; and a full committee hearing on February 27 on “Promoting College Access and Success for Students with Disabilities.”

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a joint subcommittee hearing (the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary education, and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training) on February 27 on “Exploring Efforts to Strengthen the Teaching Profession.”

Longtime House education committee member Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced this week that he will not seek reelection after this term.

The first of three Negotiated Rulemaking sessions on Program Integrity issues took place last week. The panel began considering a number of proposed higher education regulations including Title IV aid disbursement, state authorization, underwriting standards for PLUS loans, clock hour versus credit hour and rules about students receiving federal aid for repeated coursework. The committee will meet for two additional sessions in March and April. During this week’s session, the Department announced that it will release proposed draft regulatory language for consideration by the panel before the second session in March.

The GAO released a report on federal student loans, saying that the impact of loan limit increases on college prices is difficult to determine.

The U.S. Department of Education continues to consider requests from states with No Child Left Behind waivers to delay implementing their teacher evaluation systems for one year. It was reported this week that North Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada and Kentucky were granted the extensions, but Utah and Arkansas’ requests were denied for now because both states were asking for more than just the extension in their request.

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking comment on the new Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge competition, which will provide grants to states to improve early childhood care and education. Comments are due by February 26, 2014.

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.