Party Lines for Ed Policy

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Senate HELP Approves Ed Nominee on Party Line Vote. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved Robert L. King to be the U.S. assistant secretary of postsecondary education. The committee approved four education and labor nominations, despite objections from Democrats about a lack of hearings for nominees they considered controversial. The committee’s Democrats wrote a letter calling for hearings on King’s nomination. The committee’s top Democrat, Patty Murray of Washington, also warned that Democrats wouldn’t allow quick floor action on any panel nominees until Republicans confirm two Obama appointees that President Donald Trump renominated. One of the committee’s closest votes was on King, who was approved 12 to 11, along party lines. Murray said she opposed King, who would oversee post-high school education, because he had made “troubling statements” about the department’s agenda that Murray called “anti-student.” King currently oversees postsecondary education in Kentucky and was previously chancellor for New York’s state university system.

Title IX Changes Open for Public Comment. The 60-day public comment period opened for the U.S. Education Department’s proposed changes to title IX regulations. Following the comment period, the Education Department will respond before issuing the final rule. The proposed rule change would replace earlier guidance on sexual assault, loosening schools’ requirements regarding off-campus incidents. The new guidance also sets new standards for the due process rights of the accused. The new rules dictate when schools are obligated to intervene to address sexual victimization and when those obligations kick in. The rules would apply to K-12 schools in addition to postsecondary institutions. Comments can be submitted here. Inside Higher Ed penned an article about the potential effects of the proposed regulations.

For-Profit College Accreditor Regains Federal Recognition. The Education Department restored federal recognition for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which accredits for-profit universities nationally, the Washington Post reported. The agency had lost federal recognition in 2016. The Washington Post wrote an article on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to address for-profit college regulation. Bloomberg Government reported that Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), incoming chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said that he will target for-profit regulation and the department’s process from his post next Congress.

Perkins Loans Funds. The Department of Education announced a delay in the recall of Perkins Loan funds from colleges and universities while it explores the need to reimburse institutions for their share of cancelled loans for some borrowers, the American Council on Education reports. The Washington Post reported that DeVos said student loan debt is a looming crisis in a speech last week.

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 Dec. 3, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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