Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – July 27, 2015


The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a committee hearing on Tuesday, July 28, on policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will testify.


As a part of a series of hearings related to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a committee hearing on Wednesday, July 29, on combating campus sexual assault. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) will testify on the first panel. Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Dana Bolger, Co-Founder, Know Your IX; Dolores Stafford, Executive Director, National Association of Clery Compliance Officers; and Mollie Benz Flounlacker, Associate VP for Federal Relations, Association of American Universities, will testify on the second panel.


The U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved state waiver renewals under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Tennessee, Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Utah. Tennessee received a four-year renewal, Utah received a one-year renewal and all others received three-year renewals.

ED and the U.S. Department of Justice hosted a conference for superintendents, principals and teachers on rethinking school discipline. ED also released maps based on data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), illustrating out-of-school suspension rates across the country.

As a part of her Reach Higher initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a 2015 Beating the Odds Summit for at-risk college-bound students, to support them in their transition to college and provide them with necessary resources.

ED, America Achieves, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) released a parent checklist with questions and resources for parents to use to advocate for their child’s education.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered Discover Bank and its affiliates to pay $18.5 million for illegal private student loan servicing practices. CFPB also filed a complaint against Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. for alleged illegal sales and billing practices when assisting students in completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They have proposed the company pay a $5.2 million fine.

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) submitted its 2015 Accreditation Policy Recommendations to ED Secretary Arne Duncan. These recommendations include giving NACIQI final decision-making authority on recognition of accrediting agencies.