Biden in SOTU Calls for Increase in Pell Grants, Support for Minority-Serving Institutions

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Hearings & Markups of Interest

The U.S. House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development will hold a hearing on Skill, Upskill, and Reskill: Analyzing New Investments in Workforce Development on Wednesday, March 9 at 10 a.m. in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building and remotely via livestream.)

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and (PREVENT) Pandemics Act on Tuesday, March 15 at 10 a.m. in the 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building and via live video.

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration and International Economic Policy will hold a hearing on Learning Loss in Latin America and the Caribbean: How to Build Better Education Systems in the Wake of the Pandemic on Tuesday, March 29 at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building and virtually via Cisco WebEx.

Biden Calls for an Increase in Pell Grants in State of the Union Address. During his State of the Union Address, President Joe Biden expressed support for increasing funding for Pell Grants, increasing funding for minority-serving institutions, and for community colleges. Biden called on Congress to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $2,000. The maximum Pell Grant currently stands at $6,495 per year. The move would impact an estimated 6 million students who are Pell Grant recipients. Biden also asked Congress to approve additional funding for the expansion of programs in “‘high-demand’ fields at historically Black colleges [HBCUs], tribal colleges [TCUs] and minority-serving institutions [MSIs],” a move that he believes will help underrepresented students at these institutions to “achieve economic mobility.” To further set up underrepresented students for success, Biden urged Congress to expand existing institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs, which can help bolster the “academic, administrative and fiscal capabilities” of these institutions. Read more on Biden’s call for increased Pell Grant funding in the GW Hatchet, and discover its possible impact on underrepresented students in the Washington Business Journal.

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing to Discuss Minority Serving Institutions and Economic Mobility. The House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing to discuss the role of higher education in the economic mobility of underrepresented students. In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chair Frederica Wilson (D-FL) emphasized the positive impact of Hispanic Serving Institutions and other MSIs on the U.S. workforce and economy, stating that MSIs “support the academic and economic development” of historically underrepresented students in STEM fields. Wilson also highlighted that increased investment in MSIs would provide “high-quality educational opportunities to more students” and “a unique setting that prepares students for success.” Wilson recognized the benefits that the passage of the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan has had on MSIs, but suggested that more steps must be taken for sustained investment in these institutions.

Inside Higher Ed Releases 2022 Survey of College and University Presidents. Inside Higher Ed released its 12th annual Survey of College and University Presidents for 2022. The survey, done in partnership with Hanover Research, consisted of input from 375 participants and aimed to reveal how confident campus leaders are about their respective institutions. Of its key findings, the survey found that most presidents are confident in their institution’s financial stability over the next five to 10 years, and 54% of presidents agree that their institution is in better financial shape now than it was in 2019. On top of this, between half and two-thirds of presidents reported that their institution has the capacity to meet the mental health needs of any of its stakeholders, and most presidents indicated that their institutions implemented beneficial changes during the pandemic, according to Inside Higher Ed. Though most college presidents surveyed reported to be confident in some aspects of their respective institutions, campus leaders reported to be less confident regarding their institution’s adaptability post-pandemic. According to the survey, only a quarter (27%) strongly agree that the pandemic-era changes have “created an opportunity for my institution to make other institutional changes we have been wanting to make anyway.” That figure was 37% in 2020 when the pandemic was in full swing. Read more about the survey here.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session 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 March 7, 2022. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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