Trump Administration Would Rewrite Sexual Assault, Immigration Rules

DC Shuttle …

DeVos to Change Sexual Assault Rule. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a speech in which she said she would replace an Obama-era schools directive on sexual assault with an alternative that she said would do a better job  balancing the rights of victims and the accused, Politico reports. The plan is to develop new guidance through a rulemaking process that likely will take months. DeVos said schools could find recommendations from an American Bar Association task force helpful. The task force recommended that both parties in such cases have “robust procedural protections.” It also says that “where appropriate,” schools should consider “non-mediation alternatives,” such as a restorative justice approach, if both sides agree. Read the recommendations here.

Educators React to DACA Reversal. Five former U.S. education secretaries wrote a rare joint letter to Congress, urging lawmakers to assist students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The former secretaries included: Arne Duncan and John B. King Jr. from the Obama administration, Margaret Spellings and Rod Paige from the George W. Bush administration and Richard Riley from the Clinton administration. Edweek has more. Higher education groups representing hundreds of colleges have spoken out in favor of the program and written several letters, including one signed by 560 college and university presidents, urging the Trump administration to keep the immigration program. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced the end of the program.

Education Dept. Budget Would Get Bump With NIH, Pell Increases. The Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved by voice vote a bipartisan draft spending bill that would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion and provide more funding to low-income students attending college. The Education Department would get $68.3 billion, a $29 million increase. The maximum Pell Grant would increase to $6,020, from the current level of $5,920. The draft legislation wouldn’t continue indexing Pell Grants to inflation, which has been done since 2012. Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO) said he felt the issue of whether or not to tie Pell Grants to inflation should be addressed through an update of the higher education law. The Senate bill would rescind $2.6 billion from the Pell Grant surplus, slightly less than the $3.3 billion the House bill would rescind. The Pell Grant program had a surplus of $8.5 billion in June, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate. The Senate bill also mandates that the Education Department continue to have multiple companies service student loans, a provision added after the agency announced and then rolled back plans to reduce the number of loan servicers to one. The legislation would provide $367 million for charter schools, an increase of $25 million from fiscal 2017 funding. But it would not fund any of the school-choice programs proposed by the Trump administration that would allow public funding to go to private schools.

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. 11, 2017. For more information, please visit:


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