For Student Loan and Grant Recipients, a Right to Counsel

DC Shuttle …

U.S. House Passes Loan Counseling Legislation. The House passed legislation, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act, which would require in-person or online counseling before students accept federal student loans or Pell Grants. The bipartisan bill (H.R. 1635) had passed the House twice before, in 2014 and 2015, and was passed this time by a vote of 406 to 4. The legislation is intended to improve the timing, frequency and content of financial aid counseling for college students. It would require counseling before accepting federal student loans and would then require annual financial counseling while a student remains enrolled. The bill also aims to enhance the quality of the counseling, the Washington Examiner reports.

House Holds Apprenticeship Hearing. The House Education and the Workforce subcommittee held a hearing on “rebuilding the workforce through apprenticeships.” Democrats said apprenticeship programs need accountability and that industry-created apprenticeships aren’t a replacement for the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program, Bloomberg reports.

Ed Dept Begins Second Round of Regulation Rewrite. The U.S. Education Department formally began its second round of rewriting federal regulations governing higher education. Department officials held a daylong hearing to accept public feedback on their plans to conduct rulemaking on revisions to federal rules on topics that include college accreditation, nontraditional education providers and religious schools.

DeVos Meets with G-20 Education Leaders. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos joined education ministers from G-20 countries in Mendoza, Argentina, for the group’s first education summit. The ministers agreed to a declaration placing education at the center “of the global agenda.” Going forward, the ministers said they will support “the cross-border recognition of qualifications and skills, and the mobility of students, teachers, academic and non-academic staff, trainers and researchers, with a view to improving quality education and research.” They also said they “support the promotion of exchange and scholarships programmes among G20 members and other countries, in particular with developing countries around the globe.”

DeVos Says Federal Funds Can Be Used for Guns. DeVos said in a letter that she would not stand in the way of states that want to use federal grants to purchase guns for schools, the New York Times reports, saying, “I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff.” The letter, written to Rep. Bobby Scott, was in response to requests for clarification from Democrats. DeVos then posted the letter to Twitter. DeVos wrote, “Congress did not authorize me or the Department to make those decisions. As I have stated publicly on numerous occasions since I was nominated for this position, I will not legislate via fiat from the Department.

Bill Introduced to Increase Diversity at Schools. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) introduced a bill that would authorize $120 million in grants to increase diversity in schools. The grants could be used to boost local efforts to study diversity or review school district boundaries, among other things. The bill, called the Strength in Diversity Act, is being co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

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 Sept. 10, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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