HOUSE and SENATE
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke about her Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization priorities at a Center for American Progress event this week. Among other things, she highlighted the need to improve affordability in higher education, hold institutions of higher education (IHEs) more accountable, expand access to higher education, increase campus safety and protect students’ civil rights. She also said that an HEA reauthorization should expand student aid and include increased Federal investments in public and traditionally underserved IHEs, but noted that free or debt-free higher education proposals may not be part of a bipartisan HEA reauthorization this year.
The Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report finding that U.S. IHEs have failed to disclose how much money they have received from the Chinese government, as part of Chinese language and cultural programs, which the report says is more that $158 million across all U.S. IHEs since 2006.
The House Education and Labor Committee marked up and passed the Rebuild America’s Schools Act by a vote of 26 to 20.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced the proposed Education Freedom Scholarships tax credit, which would create up to $5 billion a year in new tax credits for individuals and businesses that donate to scholarships that help students pay private school tuition or other education expenses.
In an op-ed, acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought said that the Administration will propose a 5 percent cut to all non-defense discretionary spending in its fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request.
A Federal district judge ruled in favor of three borrowers who accused the U.S. Department of Education (ED) of changing an employment requirement for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program which ED said made the borrowers ineligible for the program.
ED announced that it has stopped providing Federal Title IV funding to Argosy University due to concerns that the University had been failing to distribute the Federal financial aid money it had received to students.
During last week’s negotiated rulemaking, ED verbally announced that it will hold an additional Accreditation and Innovation Committee rulemaking session from April 1 to April 3.
ED posted updated forecasts for Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) grants.