DC Shuttle …
House Committee Passes Apprenticeship Bill. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee unanimously approved the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act (H.R. 5509), introduced by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and cosponsored by Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX). The bill directs the National Science Foundation to provide grants for innovative approaches to STEM education and related workforce development programs. It aims to expand the workforce pipeline in STEM fields through experiments with apprenticeships and other applied-learning opportunities for college students as well as enhancement of two-year degree programs and technical skills certificates.
Delay of State Licensing Rule. A federal requirement for online colleges to tell students whether their academic programs meet state licensing requirements is being postponed. The rule was due to go into effect July 1, but had been criticized as confusing. While there was no explanation for the delay, it is likely that the rule will be rewritten. Inside Higher Ed reports.
Groups Sue Ed Over Borrower Defense. Two consumer advocacy groups are suing to force the U.S. Education Department to turn over more records relating to the Trump administration’s decision last year to delay an Obama-era rule governing debt relief for defrauded students. The National Consumer Law Center and Public Citizen filed a lawsuit seeking access to communications between the Education Department officials and for-profit college trade associations in the run-up to the decision by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to postpone the “borrower defense to repayment” rule, Politico reported. The department has already turned over about 100 pages of documents, according to the complaint. But the groups accuse the department of improperly redacting those records and illegally withholding access to other documents. The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed in federal court in Massachusetts.
Ed Dept Nominee Confirmed by Senate. In a 55 to 43 vote, the Senate confirmed Trump’s nomination of Carlos G. Muniz of Florida to be general counsel for the Department of Education. Muñiz previously served as deputy general counsel under former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Read Secretary DeVos’s comments here.
Endowment Tax Fight Continues. Inside Higher Ed reported on the status of the effort to repeal the endowment tax, with a focus on legislation (H.R. 5220) introduced last month by Reps. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and John Delaney (D-MD) to repeal the tax.
Bill Would Allow School Choice on Military Bases with Impact Aid Funding. A bill introduced by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) would draw on dollars through the Impact Aid program as a funding stream to allow school choice for military families by providing them with education savings accounts, H.R. 5199. Many lawmakers are opposed to using Impact Aid funding for school choice. Impact Aid funds are used to supplement school district budgets because the districts sit on tax-exempt federal land like military bases. There has been discussion of other funding streams when it comes to school choice for military families but it’s unclear what those funding streams would be. Last week, DeVos met with Department of Defense officials at the Education Department to discuss the Department of Defense Education Activity, the agency that manages schools for military children. DeVos tweeted Thursday, “Great conversation discussing the work being done to help the more than 70,000 @DoDEA students worldwide. Military-connected students, whose families have given so much, deserve our very best!”
We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of April 23, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.