DC Shuttle …
House Passes Forever GI Bill. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Forever GI Bill (H.R. 3218) with overwhelming support, 405-0. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed the bill the previous Wednesday and it moved quickly through the House. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate and moved through committee last week. The legislation, a rare bipartisan response to veterans’ recent challenges in utilizing GI benefits, appears likely to reach the president soon.
Senate Committee OKs Forever GI Bill. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee approved its companion Forever GI legislation by voice vote in a markup lasting less than a minute. The bill (S. 1598) now heads to the Senate floor. The legislation would allow veterans to access education benefits from the GI Bill for their entire lives, removing the previous 15-year limit. It also would restore benefits to veterans whose for-profit colleges closed before they obtained their degree. The legislation would also increase funding for veterans studying science, technology, engineering or math programs and allow all Purple Heart recipients to receive full benefits, regardless of the length of time they served on active duty. The legislation would create a pilot program focusing on technology and computer programs, expanding funding for veterans to enroll in nontraditional education providers like coding boot camps. It would also boost veterans’ educational assistance for National Guard and Reserve troops and for the dependents of fallen troops.
Warren Wants Ed Dept to Respond to Requests for Information. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to Peter Oppenheim, the Trump administration’s nominee for assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs at the U.S. Education Department, regarding the department’s lack of response to requests from Congress, specifically the Senate HELP Committee on which Warren sits. Warren suggested she might hold up the Oppenheim’s confirmation over the department’s lack of response to requests. More than 60 Democratic lawmakers in Congress wrote a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting more information about how she plans to support reductions in school discipline policies.
Ed Dept Pushing Single Student Loan Servicer Plan Despite Congressional Opposition. Since the Education Department announced its intention to service student loans through a single servicer, a plan that has bipartisan opposition in Congress, servicers began pushing back.
House Subcommittee on Research and Technology Holds Hearing on STEM and Computer Science Education The Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee held a hearing on STEM and Computer Science Education. The committee heard testimony from James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition, of which the New England Council is a member.
Ed Dept Announces ESSA Response Changes. The Department of Education is changing the process by which it responds to states’ ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plans. The department will now have a two-hour phone conversation with states and go over any the issues identified by the peer reviewers before sending a response letter. States and educators had criticized the department’s responses to their ESSA proposed plans, saying the department was inconsistent and was applying too much federal direction, Edweek reports. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House education committees, responded with a letter to DeVos, voicing concern that the department’s plans to begin conducting the calls with states would limit the public’s access to the process. They raised concerns about whether the department is equally handling feedback across all states. Nine of the 17 states that have already submitted plans have gotten their feedback and 33 other states are submitting theirs in the fall.
President Donates Salary to STEM Ed. President Donald Trump donated his second quarter salary, totaling $100,000, to the Department of Education to help fund a STEM-focused camp for students, according to an Education Department release. Trump donated his first-quarter salary to the National Park Service, the Washington Post reports.
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 July 31, 2017. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.