DC Shuttle …
ICE Releases Rule on International Students. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released guidance which would not allow international students to remain on visas if they are taking their classes online. The changes apply to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program for non-immigrant students on F-1 and M-1 visas for academic and vocational coursework. The State Department won’t issue visas to students in online-only programs, and Customs and Border Protection will not allow these students to enter the country, according to the press release. ICE has also told schools to report whether they’re shutting down or offering entirely online classes for the fall 2020 semester by Wednesday. Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from deporting foreign college students who take online-only courses this fall. California is also suing the Trump administration to challenge the policy, on behalf of the California State University system and the California Community Colleges System. On Thursday, a group of Democrats wrote a letter to the administration opposing the change.
Lawmakers and Administration Discuss School Reopening. The Trump administration made a number of statements last week encouraging schools to reopen to students this fall. President Trump has said that he wants schools reopen and suggested that the administration could withhold funding for schools that did not reopen.“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools,” he said. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos later suggested that that money could instead be given to families in school districts that don’t reopen. “We are not suggesting pulling funding from education, but instead allowing families, take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated if their schools refuse to open,” DeVos said. “Schools can reopen safely and they must reopen.” The administration has suggested that the next stimulus package could contain school funding that would encourage reopening. “As we work with Congress on the next round of state support, we’re going to be looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school,” said Vice President Mike Pence. Politico reports on the comments made over the weekend.
House Committee Moves Education Appropriation Bill. The House Appropriations Education Subcommittee held a markup and passed legislation to fund the Education Department’s budget for fiscal year 2021. The proposed appropriation would be a 1% increase over FY2020. The panel voted 9 to 6, along party lines. The bill may now be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee. The legislation would allocate $16.6 billion for Title I funding to low-income school districts, and $14.1 billion for special education. It includes $400 million for charter schools, a $40 million decrease from the current year. The maximum Pell Grant award would increase by $150 to $6,495 and the bill would provide $1.2 billion for Federal Work Study, an increase of $30 million.
CARES Act Funding Dispute. Five states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit regarding the Education Department’s policy governing how public schools must direct pandemic relief funding to private school students. The challenge to the “equitable services” interim final rule, which took effect on July 1, was filed by the attorneys general of Michigan, California, D.C., Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin. Edsource reports.
We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session 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 13, 2020. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.