Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – September 25, 2017

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



Congressional Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to reinstate ED’s information sharing agreements with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in connection with oversight of Federal student loans, which ED ended earlier this month, as well as requesting relevant communications between ED and CFPB.

Congressional Democrats sent a letter to ED Secretary DeVos opposing ED’s recent decisions to delay implementation of certain provisions in the gainful employment rule.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to ED Secretary DeVos urging her to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as Congress intended, following DeVos’ interview in which she urged States to “really push and go up to the line, test how far it takes to go over it” in regards to their State plan submissions.

Former House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Bill Goodling (R-PA) died at the age of 89.


Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter encouraging CFPB to maintain active oversight of loan servicers and other participants in the student loan industry, as well as requesting relevant communications between ED and CFPB and additional information.

The Senate HELP Committee will hold an Executive Session to vote on Carlos Muñiz’s nomination to serve as General Counsel for ED on Wednesday, September 27.

Senate Republican leadership is aiming to release details on the tax changes that will be called for under their fiscal year 2018 budget resolution this week.

Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) drafted a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, making substantial changes to funding and coverage. Senate Republican leadership is aiming to vote on the bill this week.


ED Secretary DeVos announced that ED is rescinding the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance and will release a question-and-answer document while they work to release new guidance.

ED’s Office of Inspector General released a final audit report finding that Western Governors University was operating correspondence courses rather than a distance education program and therefore, should be required to return to ED $712 million in previously awarded Title IV funding.

31 States and Puerto Rico have submitted their State plans under ESSA, which were due Monday, September 18. Alabama, South Carolina and Texas received an extension for later this fall due to the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

ED approved Massachusetts’ State plan under ESSA.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled “Education Should Address Oversight and Communication Gaps in Its Monitoring of the Financial Condition of Schools.” The report recommends that ED (1) update the financial composite score, (2) improve its guidance to schools on how it calculates the composite score and (3) provide public data on final composite scores for schools. ED disagreed with the first recommendation, agreed with the second and will further evaluate the third.

The Trump Administration held its strategy meeting with a small number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities leaders, where the White House announced the appointment of Johnathan Holifield as executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

ED has preliminarily concluded that Purdue University’s acquisition of Kaplan University can move forward.

ED Secretary DeVos held an interview with Education Week. Read the questions and answers here.


Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with a summary of the following event next week:

  • September 27: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Executive Session Nominations, including Carlos G. Muniz nominated to be General Counsel Department of Education”