Lifting Ban on Student-Level Records

DC Shuttle …

Senators Introduce Unit Record System Bill. U.S. Senators Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced legislation that would change how schools report data and overturn the federal ban on a unit record system. The College Transparency Act (H.R. 2434) would transition to the collection of data on the individual student level. Currently, student data is reported to the U.S. Education Department on a per-school basis. Colleges use individual student records to calculate various metrics before sending the information to the federal government. The bill has opposition from lawmakers concerned about students’ privacy and federal government overreach, Inside Higher Ed reports. The ban was written into the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and requires colleges to report data at the institutional level. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) filed companion legislation to the Senate effort. House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) voiced opposition to the proposal. The legislation would also establish a new data system with the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the Education Department.

House Committee Passes Perkins CTE Update. The House Education and the Workforce Committee passed unanimously the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. During the markup, lawmakers from both parties voiced support for the legislation and for its bipartisan nature. (The New England Council has supported this legislation.) The bill was referred to and may now be considered by the full House, which is likely to happen in June. The House passed similar legislation last year, in September, with widespread support (405 to 5). The bill was not considered by the Senate last session and has not yet been introduced in that chamber. The legislation is intended to better align career and technical education programs to workers in need of new skills and local jobs in need of qualified employees. To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here. To read a detailed bill summary, click here.

Hearing on Administration’s Budget. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on the budget for the Department of Education. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was scheduled to testify about the administration’s budget proposal. The Washington Post reported on what is expected for education in that budget.

Senators Write President in Defense for NASA Education Funding. Thirty senators sent a letter asking that funding for NASA’s Office of Education continue in the upcoming fiscal year, despite the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate it, the Verge reports. President Trump’s budget outline proposed eliminating funding for NASA’s Office of Education. The letter highlighted the Space Grant College and Fellowship Program and the Minority University Research and Education Project.

Office of Federal Financial Aid Report. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators published a new report  that makes recommendations for improving the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

Details Expected on School Choice Today. DeVos was expected to offer details on the administration’s plan for a federal investment in school choice during a May 22 conference hosted by her former advocacy group, the American Federation for Children. DeVos is believed to be preparing an education tax credit proposal to help pay for private school.

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 May 22, 2017. For more information, please visit:


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