New York Votes to Join SARA

DC Shuttle …

New York Votes to Join SARA. New York state announced that it will join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, known as SARA. The interstate agreement will allow higher education institutions from other states to offer online courses in New York, and expand the opportunities for New York State colleges and universities to do the same in other states. The state Board of Regents approved regulations allowing New York State institutions to join the shared system that regulates online higher education. Because New York does not belong to one of the nation’s interstate compacts, it will participate in SARA as an affiliate with the New England Board of Higher Education.

House Passes Perkins CTE Reauthorization. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, by a bipartisan vote of 405 to 5. The legislation would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which has not been reauthorized since 2006. The legislation would make some changes to the current law. A new grant program, overseen by the education secretary, would award money to programs that align career and technical education (CTE) with states’ workforce needs. States would also be able to withhold a greater share of their federal CTE funding under Perkins for their own competitive grants or formulas. Sponsors have said the additional flexibility is necessary for states to address their local unique needs. They also say the flexibility is necessary to target workforce development funds towards sectors that have high unemployment or future employment opportunities. The measure would authorize $1.1 billion for programs in 2017, would gradually increase the authorization annually, and would peak at $1.2 billion annually in fiscal 2022. The measure would allow states to set their own standards for career and technical education programs, instead of requiring the states to negotiate standards with the U.S. Education Department.  It was co-authored by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA). You can read a fact sheet on the bill here and a more detailed summary here.

Senate Committee Passes Native American School Choice Bill. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved a bill, by a 7 to 6 vote, which would create a pilot program to provide federal funds to state-run education savings account programs that Native American families could use to pay for alternative education options. The legislation (S. 2711) would direct the Interior Department to create a grant program that would provide money to state-funded savings account programs in selected states if the funds are available.

Teacher Shortage Reports. The U.S. is facing a teacher shortage crisis, and the country could have a shortage of more than 100,000 teachers annually by 2025, according to a new report released by the Learning Policy Institute Thursday. The report says attrition is high, enrollments in teacher-prep programs are low and student enrollments are climbing, leading to a decrease of 240,000 teachers over the last five years. Subpar teacher preparation and mentoring also contribute to the problem. Separately, the Center for American Progress put out a report that looks at the sharp decline in enrollments for teacher-preparation programs, and finds that teacher labor markets are more responsive to market conditions than previously thought.

Democrats Release HEA Priorities. A group of moderate House Democrats released priorities for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. The three-page education agenda from the “New Democrat Coalition” calls for increasing Pell Grants, promoting dual-enrollment programs and supporting competency-based education. The plan calls for refinancing of federal student loans and programs to spur state spending on colleges. The report stops short of advocating for “tuition-free” or “debt-free” college.

ED Releases New Scorecard Data. The U.S. Education Department released new data to the College Scorecard. The online tool, which contains more than 1,700 data points for 7,000 institutions, was introduced last year as an alternative to the administration’s plan to issue ratings for colleges and universities. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell wrote in a blog post that 1.5 million people have used the Scorecard. The new data is available here.

Foxx Talks about Ed Committee Chairmanship. U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) confirmed her candidacy to chair the House Education and the Workforce Committee. She is seeking to succeed Rep. John Kline (R-MN) who is retiring at the end of this term. Foxx is the panel’s third-ranking Republican behind Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC). Wilson has endorsed Foxx for the post, so she seems likely to get the Republican Steering Committee’s approval. This week, she said in an interview that she’d use that role to give a high priority to providing more information to college students through an update of the Higher Education Act.

Brown Expands Financial Aid. Brown University will expand financial aid options for undocumented students, the Providence Journal 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 Sept. 19, 2016. For more information, please visit:


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