Washington Connects to Ed Technology

DC Shuttle …

Bill to eliminate tax on education technology. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) is forging a bipartisan coalition to promote a new proposal for permanent elimination of tariffs on certain electronic learning devices used in schools and homes. She is sponsoring the “ETeach” proposal (H.R. 4748) that would make permanent an exception for learning devices that was temporarily backed in 2004.

Lawmakers prepare to fight college rating system. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) wrote in an email to his fellow lawmakers last week that he hopes to insert a provision into upcoming spending bills that would prohibit the U.S. Education Department from moving ahead with the ratings system, Inside Higher Ed reports. The Obama administration continues to move forward with its proposal to develop a higher education rating system and is making it clear that it will not be deterred. The administration plans to have “rating system 1.0” ready by the end of the year and an improved system active for the 2015-16 school year. It will ask Congress to pass legislation tying federal financial aid to the ratings system by 2018. 

Public comment on “gainful employment” closes. The public comment period for the administration’s “gainful employment” proposal ended Tuesday, Inside Higher Ed reports. The rule is intended to target colleges that leave students with large sums of debt but little results, by basing aid to schools on graduate employment data. For-profit colleges would be most affected and have fought the proposed rule—and other certificate programs, including at top universities, would be subject. Some community college programs may be inappropriately targeted in the Education Department’s efforts to crack down on for-profit schools, advocacy groups said in comments.

E-rate struggles in reach and funding. The Hill reports that school groups wrote a letter requesting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) complete connecting all schools and libraries to high-speed broadband. In the letter, the groups say they cannot wait any long for the E-rate program. Meanwhile, EdWeek reports that a new assessment believes the program will need $2.3 billion in additional funding.

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 June 2, 2014.

Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.


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