HOUSE and SENATE
The House passed a Congressional Review Act resolution (H.J.Res.76) that would repeal the Administration’s recently finalized Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) rule, leaving the Obama-era BDR rule in place, by a 231 to 180 vote.
House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) invited U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to testify before the Committee on the Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 U.S. Department of Education (ED) budget request, which has yet to be released, on either March 24 or April 1.
Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ) was appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee, replacing Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX).
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance exempting student loan borrowers from having to pay Federal taxes on the amount of loan forgiveness they receive from a successful BDR claim or closed-school loan discharge. The guidance applies to loans discharged after January 1, 2016.
ED published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the eligibility of faith-based institutions of higher education (IHEs) to participate in Direct Grant programs, State-Administered Formula Grant programs and discretionary grant programs authorized under Titles III and V of HEA. The NPRM also seeks to encourage compliance at IHEs with the First Amendment and “stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech,” in response to the President’s executive order on campus free speech signed last year. The deadline for public comments on the NPRM is February 18, 2020.
ED released new guidance on prayer and religious expression in public elementary and secondary schools.
ED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a new report finding that, in 2017, black 18- to 24-year-olds completed high school at a rate “not measurably different” than their white peers. From 1977 to 2016, white students completed high school at a consistently higher rate than black students.
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