DC Shuttle …
Vaccine Mandate Injunction. A federal judge issued an injunction stopping President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating Covid-19 vaccines for employees of federal contractors, including higher education institutions that receive federal contracts. A case filed against the Biden administration and led by Georgia had asked for an injunction stating that “the President exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress.” The injunction will block the executive order from being enforced within colleges and universities. Institutions are still able to have their own regulations, but they will not be supported by federal enforcement and regulation. Since the injunction, some universities have begun rollbacks of their original mandates, while others have continued with their regulations, according to Higher Ed Dive.
Congressional Federal Funding Agreement and Higher Education. Congress reached a temporary agreement to fund the federal government through a continuing resolution and avoid a government shutdown. Congress now has until Feb. 18 to reach an agreement on the 12 appropriation bills that fund the government. The next two months, under the continuing resolution, will lock in the Trump administration’s budget for higher education funding. In early July, the House Appropriations Committee approved a draft higher education spending budget. It will provide $27.2 billion for federal student aid programs, $3.43 billion for higher education. The delay in reaching an agreement will give certain programs and institutions less time to use their budget, while other programs will remain unaffected. Read more at Inside Higher Ed.
Research on the Effect Federal Relief Funding Has on Colleges. The think tank New America released research on the federal relief funding for higher education. The funding helped higher education institutions remain open and students enrolled in classes during the pandemic. The research focused on how confident administrators feel about the financial climate throughout the health crisis as future funding remains unclear. With research indicating drops in registration over the past two years and the uncertainty of schools having the same financial support, there is a fear that without the federal relief funding schools will struggle to maintain admission rates. The research by New America states that the biggest concern will be community colleges as they have had the biggest drops in retention. Higher Ed Dive reports that hope among college leaders is for members of Congress to support the Build Back Better Act in order to maintain funding in higher education.
We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session 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. 13, 2021. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.