DC Shuttle …
Support for Data Collection Bill Grows. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities gave support to legislation it had previously opposed, potentially paving the way for a change in data collection and student records. A bipartisan group of senators and representatives has introduced the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, (S. 2169) and (H.R. 4479), which would allow the federal government to publish new data about graduation and borrowing rates. The legislation, sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), would allow for new metrics about how much debt college graduates take on and how much they earn, broken down by college and individual program. It would also call for more comprehensive reporting of graduation rates. The federal government’s current metrics capture only full-time students attending college for the first time. Similar legislation was introduced last Congress. The latest version of the bill would not repeal the federal ban on a student-unit database. Inside Higher Ed reports.
Ed Dept Releases Report on Accreditation Reinstatement Process. The U.S. Department of Education released a report produced by career staff on the process to reinstate the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools, Politico reports. The for-profit college accreditation association was reinstated earlier this year by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after being deemed to meet federal standards. The Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools had waged a legal effort to block the department from disclosing the document under the Freedom of Information Act.
Senate Confirms Secretary for Civil Rights at Ed Dept. The Senate confirmed the nomination of Kenneth Marcus to be the assistant secretary of education for civil rights at the Education Department. The Senate voted 50 to 46, along party lines, to approve President Donald Trump’s nominee. Marcus previously served in the job in an acting capacity during the George W. Bush administration. He’s also president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.
Senators Introduce Community College Degree Bill. Democratic Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced a bill that would help community colleges award degrees to students who have met the requirements but not formally received diplomas. Some students who transfer from a community college to a four-year institution but do not complete their bachelor’s degree have completed the requirements for a degree from the community college. The bill would provide funds to community colleges to locate students who have completed the necessary coursework for an associate degree through a community college and four-year institution, and retroactively award them degrees. The legislation, the CREATE Graduates Act (S.2986), would authorize grants to state higher education agencies to help colleges and universities locate these students and audit their coursework. The bill would also allow institutions to share students’ educational records for that purpose, the Augusta Free Press reports.
DeVos Testifies to Senate Appropriators. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee with education jurisdiction held a hearing on the Education Department’s fiscal 2019 budget request. DeVos testified and explained why the request seeks a $3.8 billion reduction in discretionary spending at the department. It includes a $1 billion proposal for “opportunity grants” for “states to help parents choose the right learning environment for their children, be it through public or private school choice.” It also calls on Congress to reduce funding to campus-based financial aid programs and to revamp how the department funds programs designed to boost college access. DeVos faced questions about accreditation, the school safety commission and budget reductions.
Senate Hearing on Chinese Exploitation of Universities. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration held a hearing on “China’s campaign to infiltrate and exploit U.S academia.” Entitled “Student Visa Integrity: Protecting Educational Opportunity and National Security” the hearing focused on efforts to transfer IP by Chinese students.
Charter School Hearing this Week. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing on charter schools entitled “The Power of Charter Schools: Promoting Opportunity for America’s Students.”
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 June 11, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.