Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: March 31

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (March 24 – 28).  

The U.S. Department of Education held the second of several Negotiated Rulemaking sessions on Program Integrity issues last week on March 26 – 28. The panel is 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 financial aid for repeated coursework. The Department posted draft regulatory language for all of the proposed regulations except those related to PLUS Loans. The third and what was originally scheduled as the last session will take place on April 23-25.  During last week’s session the Department received the approval of the negotiators to add a fourth session in mid-May for the purposes of further discussion on the issues related to PLUS loans.

The U.S. Department of Education released a report on the Race to the Top program as it enters its fourth year.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a Federal Register notice last week that gives the Secretary of Education the authority to give priority to any grant competition applicant whose project is designed to serve and coordinate with a federally designated Promise Zone. The Promise Zone initiative is led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and aligns resources to revitalize low-income areas. The Federal Register notice does state that this priority might not be appropriate for all discretionary grant programs.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the next National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) meeting will be June 18-19, 2014 in Washington, DC.

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 2 on the budget for the Department of Labor, with Secretary of Labor of Thomas E. Perez testifying.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing this week on Wednesday, April 2 titled, “Keeping College within Reach: Meeting the Needs of Contemporary Students.”

Education Week is reporting that the House education committee may mark up a bill to reauthorize the Education Sciences and Reform Act (ESRA) as early as the second week in April. The committee had previously planned to consider this legislation at the end of 2013. The committee may also mark up a charter schools bill on the same date.

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