DC Shuttle …
Education Department to Repeal Gainful Employment Regulation. The U.S. Education Department announced plans to repeal the “gainful employment” rule, which sought to punish higher education programs whose graduates bear a high level of student-loan debt, according to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Experts had predicted that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would weaken the rule, rather than eliminate it. The rule would have punished programs whose graduates had student-debt payments that amounted to more than a certain percentage of their incomes.
GAO Calls for HBCU Investment in New Report. A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the Education Department is neglecting the budgets and loans for infrastructure at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The GAO is calling on the department to encourage more schools to apply for a federal loan program designed to help with capital projects. Backed by Democratic lawmakers, the watchdog is also calling on the department to help schools struggling to repay those loans by modifying them.
Senate and House Pass Perkins CTE Update. The House and Senate both approved a reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act last week. The Senate passed the bill Monday and the House voted on Wednesday, and sent President Trump a bipartisan rewrite of the legislation. It is one of the most significant pieces of education legislation of his presidency so far. The legislation would eliminate a negotiation process between states crafting goals for their career and technical education programs and the U.S. secretary of education. Instead, states would set their goals and the secretary would approve them. Read more in The Hill.
House Democrats Unveil Higher Education Act Reauthorization Bill. House Democrats introduced legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and other Democrats in the rollout of the legislation, the Aim Higher Act. The bill, is unlikely to be considered in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the American Council on Education reports.
DeVos Proposes Changes for Borrower’s Defense. The Education Department announced proposed changes to borrower’s defense rules. The 436-page rewrite of the Obama-era rules would reduce debt relief from the federal government to borrowers who file a fraud claim against their school. Education Secretary DeVos’s plan to impose a stricter standard for when defrauded student loan borrowers can have their federal loans forgiven is open for public comment. The Trump administration proposal would require borrowers to prove that their college acted intentionally to mislead or deceive them. The Trump proposal will lead to fewer borrowers receiving loan forgiveness than under the Obama plan, the department noted.
DeVos Announces Charter School Initiatives. DeVosy proposed seven new priorities when it comes to awarding competitive grants through the Charter Schools Program, which funds the expansion of high-quality charter schools. She wants to fund more charter schools for rural students and Native Americans. DeVos also wants to award grants to charter school management organizations that plan to operate diverse schools and schools that serve low-income students. The agency is accepting public comment for the next 30 days.
School Safety Commission Holds Meeting. The Trump administration’s school safety commission held its fourth full meeting, focused on “proactively protecting” schools. Attorney General Jeff Sessions led the meeting with DeVos, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The commission heard from multiple panels of experts, including on information sharing and law enforcement in schools. School resource officers, school administrators and others addressed the commission.
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 30, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.