Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up — October 7, 2014

A quick look at the news from last week:


The House and Senate are in recess and are scheduled to return for legislative business on November 11.


The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter focused on requirements related to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act for comparable resources, facilities and course offerings for minority students.

The U.S. Department of Education announced awards for its Turnaround School Leaders Program, which is funded under the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Twelve awards totaling $20 million were awarded.

Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton announced that he will leave his position at the U.S. Department of Education at the end of this year. He did not announce where he is going. Robert Gordon, who has been nominated as assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development, has begun service as a special advisor to the secretary.

Vice President Biden announced recipients of the latest round of Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants- $450 million in job-training grants were awarded to nearly 270 community colleges in partnership with employers.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded $75 million to 24 colleges and universities under the first round of the new First in the World grant competition. The grants are intended to support innovations toward college affordability and completion. There were over 500 applications submitted for the first competition.

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education released a number of audit reports last week: the first one cited a lack of oversight by the Department of Education of loan guaranty agencies, another found that the Department is offering duplicative services under discretionary grant programs for low-income students and a third faulted the Department for not assessing and addressing the risks in approving direct assessment programs (a type of competency-based education program) to participate in Title IV federal student aid programs.