“Jump Start on College Act” Would Fund Dual Enrollment, Early College High Schools

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

House Passes Bill to End Sexual Harassment in Science – On Tuesday, July 23rd, the House passed the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act by voice vote. Introduced by House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), the bill takes recommendations offered in a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report released last year. It also would require science institutions to report all incidents of sexual harassment. With the upcoming August recess, it is unknown if and when the Senate will take up the measure. Read more in the American Council of Education.

California Acts to Stop Student Aid Loss for Online Students – On Monday, California’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) activated a new process that they claim would remedy their online students’ loss of financial aid under the soon to be implemented state authorization laws. The DCA announced they have developed a complaint process for Californian students enrolled in online college programs that would bring the state into compliance with the federal rule. Liz Hill, spokeswoman for the Education Department, stated that California’s new complaint system is currently under review by the Department. She also reiterated the Department’s belief that the National Education Association’s lawsuit forcing the implementation of the 2016 federal rule is the reason that 80,000 Californian students are at risk of losing their financial aid. “I urge the NEA to do the right thing and stop blocking the department’s efforts to delay the 2016 State Authorization Distance Education regulation so that students enrolled in distance education programs at nonprofit and public institutions may continue their education,” Secretary Betsy DeVos said. Read more in Inside Higher Ed.

Dual Enrollment Bill Introduced – On Thursday, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) joined by Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Marica Fudge (D-OH) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced the ‘Jump Start on College Act‘. The legislation is designed to increase students’ access to college, improve affordability, and lead to higher completion rates.” The Jumpstart on College Act would be the first significant investment from the federal government in dual enrollment and early college high school programs, allowing juniors and seniors in high school in Massachusetts and across the country to take courses and earn credits at nearby colleges and universities,” said Senator Markey in a statement. The program is particularly aimed at providing students from low income families the valuable opportunity to earn tuition-free college credits while still in high school. Read the full bill here.

Private Debt Collectors Lose Legal Battle Against Education Department – On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled against a group of companies looking to block the Education Department’s plan to oust their role as contracted debt collectors. The ruling presents as a victory to the Education Department, who is in the midst of reconfiguring the way in which it collects federal student loans. Their plan, named “Next Generation Processing and Servicing Environment”, would cut private debt collectors from the federal loan system, except when collecting defaulted loans. The Department wants to, instead, incorporate debt collection into its loan servicing program. The plan has drawn praise from Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Patty Murray (D-WA). Read more in Politico.

Bill Introduced to Allow Students with Cannabis Convictions to Keep Financial Aid – On Friday, July 26th, a group of Democrats introduced the “Second Chance for Students Act”. The bill would allow students convicted of first-time marijuana possession without intent to distribute to still receive financial aid if they complete an approved rehabilitation program within six months. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Bill Foster (D-WI) and Gwen Moore (D- WI) and co-sponsored by Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). “For many students, financial aid can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out,” said Representative Foster in a statement. “This legislation would ensure that students stay in school while they complete the required rehabilitation program. No student should have their future determined by one bad choice.” Some advocates believe the bill to be a step in the right direction but worry it may perpetuate a stigma in which all marijuana use is characterized as a substance abuse disorder requiring rehabilitation. Read more in The Boston Globe.

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 Aug. 5, 2019. Note: With both the House and Senate on recess, the next edition of the Weekly Washington Report will be issued on Sept. 16, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.


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