We’ve moved! Find the latest Research and Policy Institute updates on the NASPA blog!
Starting in late April, 2019, the NASPA Research and Policy Institute blog has been merged into the NASPA blog! Check us out there: http://www.naspa.org/about/blog
April 8th NASPA Policy Update
Hearings in Congress related to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act continue this week along with a hearing by the House Ed & Labor Committee with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. In this week's update you'll find NASPA publications, state and federal legislative updates, regulatory advisories, and links to sign-on letter templates and resources so you can get involved today!
Top Reasons #SAPros Should be Tracking Broad Gun-Related Legislation
Whether or not firearms are allowed on college campuses, students, staff, and faculty across the country are increasingly likely to be asked to consider or plan for gun-related violence. Gun-related violence in the United States is not, despite some claims, at the highest it has ever been, but it has been increasing over the last decade. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 42% of Americans live in a household with a gun and that, whether someone personally owns a gun or not, US residents have broad exposure to them. At the state level, where most decisions about guns on campus are made, the gun lobby is noted for its tenacity, returning year after year to remove restrictions on when and where individuals may carry concealed weapons. Whether due to this concerted effort by the pro-gun lobby to systematically weaken state gun laws or not, a 2018 analysis conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds there is a positive correlation between more permissive gun regulation and violent crime. Therefore, whether you support concealed carry on college campuses or not, changes in our broader gun laws will continue to impact students and student affairs professionals. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds, describes key considerations for student affairs professionals and provides an overview of federal and state action related to guns that may impact college campuses.
Campus Free Speech: What #SAPros Need to Know About the Executive Order, State Legislation
Free speech on college campuses is once again taking center stage in national headlines following President Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities, signed Thursday, March 21, 2019. Most, if not all, colleges and universities are already complying with their responsibilities to protect students’ expressive rights, utilizing appropriate content-neutral time, place, and manner guidelines. However, the threat of as-yet-unknown action by federal agencies that award significant research grant funds to institutions may result in a restriction, rather than an expansion, of intellectual diversity on college campuses. So far in 2019, NASPA's policy and advocacy team are tracking 37 pieces of state legislation related to free speech, of which 26 bills in 15 states would require institutions to designate all outside areas of campus as traditional public forums or otherwise prohibit the designation of free speech zones. Some include additional restrictions related to institutions’ ability to disinvite speakers, assess fees for anticipated security related to possible protest activity, or prohibit campus leaders from speaking on “public policy controversies of the day”. Student affairs professionals are encouraged to reach out to legislators to express their concerns with legislation under consideration that would limit the time or ability of institutions to ensure campus safety.
State Investment in Higher Ed: Free College and Promise Programs in 2019
State budgets represent the foundation of how our government invests in creating an informed and educated citizenry and workforce. Tuition prices in many states are often set by the state legislature and decisions about institutional funding allocations can work either to exacerbate or alleviate state-level educational opportunity gaps. As our national economy continues to recover, albeit slowly, from the 2008 recession, state budgets are shifting toward a greater investment in education. According to recent analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts, at least 15 states now cover college tuition for at least some students. The “free college” conversation continues, with 81 pieces of legislation across 29 states currently included on the Education Commission of the States’ State Policy Watchlist. The policies vary and almost none are truly open to all students for all institutions, but states are actively taking up the charge to address college costs and, in some cases, increase access for low-income and historically underrepresented groups. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds, reviews some key terms and considerations of the policies for student affairs professionals as well as provides a brief overview of equity considerations in free college proposals. Student affairs professionals in states considering free college programs can reach out to their legislators to advocate for proposals that will better serve all students by offering concrete suggestions for improving the policies or even by providing examples of how the proposals would impact students they work with.
Catching Up on HEA: An Update for #SAPros & #SAadvocates
It’s been a busy week on the Hill with several hearing related to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), initial due for reauthorization in 2013, in both the House and the Senate. Policymakers from both parties generally agree with NASPA’s overarching priorities related to HEA, though they differ in where they place the emphasis for why and how best to accomplish them. These differences become apparent in the details, which matter in any legislation, but with legislation as broad and far-reaching as HEA, there are a lot of details. Both Senator Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, have recently addressed the issues they expect to include in comprehensive HEA reauthorization bills to be introduced in spring 2019.