U.S. Senate Passes its Bill to Fund Ed; Accreditor Places NE Colleges on Probation

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Senate Passes Education Funding. The U.S. Senate voted 85 to 7 to pass an $857 billion spending package to fund two-thirds of government operations. The legislation (H.R. 6157) would boost funding for the Education Department by $541 million to $71.4 billion, while rejecting many of the education cuts sought by President Donald Trump. The Senate adopted a manager’s amendment, before voting down some standalone amendments. An amendment by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) was adopted, which would allow the Education Department to pay colleges for the cost of collecting outstanding loans made under the now-expired federal Perkins Loan program. House appropriators adopted a similar provision to their education funding bill earlier this year. An amendment by Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was adopted, which would require the department to produce a report on its efforts to coordinate with NASA and the National Science Foundation on STEM programs in K-12 schools. An amendment by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would provide $10 million for an Education Department pilot program that tests partnerships between colleges and “high-needs” school districts that would train school counselors, social workers and mental health professionals. An amendment by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was adopted, which would require the comptroller general to “conduct a study on the condition of public school facilities of the United States and their adequacy to support a 21st century education.” The Senate rejected an effort to strip out a proposed $100 increase to the maximum Pell grant over concerns it violated budget rules. Senators voted 68 to 24 to waive a point of order raised by Budget Chair Mike Enzi that he said was aimed at promoting “fiscal discipline.” The maximum Pell grant would rise to $6,195 under the bill. Senators also added language that would require the Government Accountability Office to study the state of America’s school facilities for the first time since 1995. The Hill has more on the state of play.

NEASC Places Two Colleges on Probation.

The New England accrediting agency has placed two New England Schools on probation. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges voted on both probations at a June 28 meeting, then announced them this month. The College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vt., and Newbury College in Brookline, Mass. were placed on a probation period of up to two years for failing to meet a standard on institutional resources, Inside Higher Ed 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 Aug. 27, 2018. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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