Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up- October 3, 2016

A quick look back at the news from last week. Compiled by Penn Hill Group.


House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), along with 68 members of Congress, issued a statement urging private universities and colleges to ensure the rights of teaching assistants (TAs) and research assistants (RAs) to form unions and collectively bargain. This statement follows the National Labor Relations Board decision, announced last month, that TAs and RAs at Columbia University are statutory “employees” entitled to the protection of the National Labor Relations Act.

The House passed the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act, H.R. 6094, to require a six-month delay in the effective date of the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule.

The House and Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR), which maintains government operations through Dec. 9 and includes the full-year Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, $1.1 billion in emergency funding for the Zika virus, $500 million in grants to help States recover from recent floods and $37 million to address opioid abuse. The CR also continues the authority for the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.


Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), along with four other Senators, introduced legislation to stretch out, over five years, the administration’s increase in the salary threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476, which is set to take effect on Dec.1, 2016. The bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to assess the rule after the first year of implementation and to exempt institutions from any further increases under the rule if the study finds adverse impacts.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary John King alleging that ED mistreated students who attended Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit institution of higher education that closed in 2015, by collecting on debt that she claims ED knew may be eligible for discharge.


ED released the 3-year 2013 Federal student loan cohort default rate, which dropped from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent for students who entered repayment between fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

ED released non-regulatory guidance on Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Building Systems of Support for Excellent Teaching and Leading as well as released a Fact Sheet on the guidance.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted review in a case about the level of education benefit a child must receive for a school district to have provided an appropriate level of service under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

ED Office of Inspector General released guidance for audits of proprietary schools and for compliance attestation engagements of third-party servicers administering Title IV programs.

ED Secretary John King announced ED’s first Family Ambassador, Frances Frost, to increase parent and family engagement in education policy.

The White House announced the launch of its White House Healthy Campus Challenge, which aims to engage college and university campuses across the country in health care enrollment efforts.

ED announced new resources aimed at closing the achievement gap for Native American students. The new resources include: the approval of the first phase of the Navajo Nation’s alternative accountability system, which provides the tribe with the authority to implement uniform standards, aligned assessments and alternative measurements of student success across its schools in multiple States; a Dear Colleague Letter to States and districts on tribal consultations; and two new rounds of Federal grants totaling nearly $25 million to support Native American youth and educators.

The White House released a Fact Sheet on providing students and families with comprehensive support and information for college, which also announced the launch of this year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available October 1st, three months earlier than the traditional January 1st date.


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