The House Education and Labor Committee Democrats released a white paper on the value of higher education and their principles for a Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization.

Three congressional hearings were held this week concerning higher education: a House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on for-profit institutions of higher education (IHEs); a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on affordability in higher education; and a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Education and Labor Committee also held a “Members Day Hearing,” with Reps. Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Darren Soto (D-FL), Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) discussing their education and workforce priorities with the committee.

The House passed the For the People Act (H.R. 1) by a 234 to 193 vote, which would, in part, require IHEs to appoint “campus vote coordinators” responsible for helping students register to vote and create a competitive grant program that would encourage IHEs to sponsor large on-campus voter mobilization efforts and invite candidates to speak on campus, among other things.

The House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a public witness fiscal year (FY) 2020 hearing on Tuesday, April 9. The deadline to submit requests to testify is Tuesday, March 19. The deadline to submit written testimony is Monday, April 8.

The Senate passed a resolution blocking the President’s emergency declaration on the southern border by a vote of 59 to 41. The resolution now heads to the President’s desk, where it is likely to be vetoed.


The Administration released its FY2020 budget, including the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) proposed budget. Under the proposal, ED would receive a 12 percent decrease in spending. The Administration is expected to release additional documents regarding the budget, including the budget proposals for independent agencies such as the National Endowments, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) next week.

ED announced that it will no longer enforce a provision under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s (ESEA) “equitable services” requirements that prevents religious organizations from providing some educational services to low-income students in private schools. ED views the provision as unconstitutional due to the result of the 2017 U.S. Supreme Court case Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia vs. Comer, which ruled that Missouri had improperly denied a church-run preschool publicly funded materials for its playground.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would increase the mandatory overtime salary threshold from $455 per week to $679 per week.

ED announced several steps it is taking in response to the closures of Argosy University and some Art Institute locations, including conducting outreach to and cancelling current term financial aid disbursements for students who were enrolled at these institutions.

ED released guidance on how it will now enforce some provisions in the Obama-era Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) regulations, including the provision that prevents IHEs from requiring students to settle complaints about Federal student loans through arbitration.


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