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SA Weekly: October 28

Civic Engagement Policy and Advocacy Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Disability Knowledge Community Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Division International Education
October 28, 2019 Maya Ward-Fineman NASPA

Welcome to SA Weekly, your destination for higher ed news, NASPA research and policy, constituent blogs, and more.


Federal Science Panel Heavy With Businesspeople “First round of appointees named to a White House science advisory panel is dominated by individuals from the private sector.”

Democrats Raise Stakes on Dream Center Investigation “In letter suggesting Trump administration improperly directed aid to for-profit college programs, top education committee lawmaker floats possibility of subpoenas.”

UConn Criticized From All Sides in Racial Incident

Controversial Speaker ICEd Out by Penn Students“A noisy protest prompted the University of Pennsylvania to shut down a discussion by a controversial speaker. A debate ensued about whether the university or the students who protested were wrong.”

The Loan Landscape for International Students“An industry emerges to issue loans to international students. Interest rates are high, but the companies say they are filling an unmet need and expanding access.”

Trump Official to Campaign on Student Debt Relief “A. Wayne Johnson, a departing top official at the Office of Federal Student Aid under Betsy DeVos, calls for canceling federal student debt as his "signature issue" for a Senate run.”


Policy Update

Will The Higher Education Act be Reauthorized in 2019? by Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy


Relevant Bills & Updates

DeVos Held in Contempt,Politico, October 25, 2019

In a rare move, a federal judge found Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in contempt for violating Obama-era borrower defense to repayment rule by continuing to collect loans from students borrowers of defunct predatory for-profit colleges. Under the rule, the Department of Education is responsible for forgiving loans due to institutional closure like that of Corinthian Colleges in 2015. 

H.R. 4674: The College Affordability Act

Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

Committee: House—Education and Labor

Latest Action: Introduced on October 15, 2019 and referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor

This College Affordability Act (CAA) is the House Democrat version of comprehensive Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization legislation. The House Committee on Education and Labor released a fact sheet along with the legislation that breaks down primary components of the bill. The legislation, if enacted, would create stronger accountability around receipt of Title IV funds, provide Pell eligibility for incarcerated students, and block proposed Title IX regulations from going into effect.

Markup of H.R. 4674 is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29, and can be viewed live on youtube. NASPA staff recognizes this legislation is lengthy. For more on current Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization legislation, the American Council on Education (ACE) has released a summary document that provides bill highlights.  

H.R. 4625: Protect the GI Bill Act

Primary Sponsor: Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)

Committee: House—Veterans’ Affairs

Latest Action: Ordered to be amended by voice vote on October 16, 2019

The Protect the GI Bill Act would require institutions of higher education to follow certain principles as a condition of approval for purposes of the educational assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 


Relevant Regulations

Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication

  •       A Presidential Document by the Executive Office of the President, October 9, 2019

President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13892 this past Friday, requiring agencies to issue administrative regulations through the federal rulemaking process, rather than circumventing the process through the issuance of informal guidance documents like that of a Dear Colleague Letter. The Wall Street Journal notes that while the EO has been welcomed by certain policy experts, others warn that guidance documents are necessary to help the private sector understand regulations and interpret them properly.  

Assistance to States for the Education of Children With Disabilities

  •        Proposed rule by the Education Department on October 21, 2019
  •        Comment period that ends on November 20, 2019
  •        Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education

Summary from the Federal Register: “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) established the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) in 2004 to assist State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) to produce accessible instructional materials for students with print disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) issues this notice of proposed interpretation to clarify the definition of “print instructional materials” in section 674(e)(3)(C) of IDEA to include digital instructional materials. This means that the NIMAC would accept digital instructional materials.”

Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments


Around NASPA

Black, Woman, and First Gen: The Trials and Triumphs by Ciera Graham, Women in Student Affairs Knowledge Community