Supremes May Sing on Loan Agency’s Status

DC Shuttle …

Supreme Court May Consider Student Loan Case. The U.S. Supreme Court met privately to determine whether it will take up the case of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency v. United States ex rel. Oberg on whether the agency, a large student-loan servicer for the government, is an independent body or part of the state of Pennsylvania. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in October that it is not an arm of the state and can face legal action but the ruling was appealed.

CRS Report Questions Education Department ESSA Spending Regulation. The Congressional Research Service published a report saying that spending regulations proposed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Education regarding “supplement-not-supplant” were too far reaching. The report says the regulations are outside what the statutory language of the Every Student Succeeds Act allows. The report deals with regulatory language governing a provision of ESSA that says federal Title I funds targeted at low-income students must be in addition to, and not take the place of, state and local spending on K-12. Congressional Republicans said the report was further proof that federal officials are acting outside the scope of the law and limiting districts in their ability to show equal spending in Title I. Congressional Democrats have urged federal officials to issue strong regulations. Districts must come up with a method for proving that they’re compliant with SNS, but the law forbids the Education Department from prescribing that method.

Administration Directs Schools on Transgender Bathroom Use. The Obama administration directed all public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. The letter to school districts does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat of possible lawsuits or a loss of federal aid. The Education and Justice departments sent a Dear Colleague letter to every public school district in the country reaffirming the administration’s interpretation of sweeping protections for transgender students under Title IX. According to the letter, those include a transgender student’s right to use a bathroom or locker room that aligns with his or her gender identity. “No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said. “This guidance further clarifies what we’ve said repeatedly– that gender identity is protected under Title IX.”

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 16, 2016. For more information, please visit:



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