March 2018 Public Policy Update


Author
Krista Saleet

Published
April 2, 2018


March 2018 Region II Public Policy Update

NASPA Policy Resources

NASPA Policy Publications and Letters of Support

Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Fiscal Year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act
On Behalf of American Council on Education (ACE) and 42 other associations including NASPA, March 22, 2018
This letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, highlights components of the omnibus spending bill that benefit the higher education community—such as enhancements to the Pell Grant program, an emphasis on medical research, and support for TRIP and GEAR Up programs—with mention of the bill’s failure to provide a legislative solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

Justice Sotomayor: Inspiration in Action
By Diana Ali, NAPSA Policy Analyst, February 15, 2018
Justice Sotomayor served as one of NASPA’s keynote speakers at this year’s conference, where her remarks were delivered in a Q&A interview style. In this reflective piece, NASPA Director of Strategic Initiatives, Omari Burnside, dives into some of the quotes that struck him the most throughout her session.

IN THE NEWS:

New Boost for Student Aid and Research
By Andrew Kreighbaum, March 22, 2018
The omnibus spending bill compromise supports students in higher learning through an expansion to the Pell Grant program, an increase in funding for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, additional funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. The additional funding to PSLF, at $350 million, is nowhere near the amount Senator Elizabeth Warren was seeking, but is just one part of college affordability funding and education programs found within the $1.3 trillion spending bill. Other funding includes a $5 million pilot grant program to expand open education resource use and access and close to $35 million in new funding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The compromise differs greatly from a former budget proposal from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, which would have eliminated the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Federal Work Study. The omnibus bill increases funding to these two programs by $107 million and $140 million respectively. The bill also prohibits Secretary DeVos’s prior loan servicer overhaul plan, by preventing multiple companies contracting directly with the federal government to handle all aspects of loan repayment.

The Two Major Deals Congress Couldn't Strike
By Russell Berman, March 23, 2018
While the omnibus spending bill passed this past Friday largely benefits students and promotes college affordability, legislators failed to pass a solution for DACA recipients and stabilize individual health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Having missed the chance to tie both issues into the spending package, Congress may have to wait until outcome of the November election for another opportunity. Back in December, Democrats had promised immigrant activists that they would aim to secure protections for DACA recipients as part of the spending fight, and pushed a government shutdown in January as a part of that fight, but were still unable to reach a solution. DACA is currently hung up in the courts, under two injunctions in the 2nd and 9th circuit districts. As a final effort in the days before the spending resolution was reached, the two parties exchanged proposals, but a compromise could not be reached. In the case of the ACA, Senators Lamar Alexander and Parry Murray agreed to legislation authorizing federal payments for two years, but faced opposition from conservatives that viewed it as propping up Obamacare. As a compromise, Republicans made an additional demand that the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions, be included in any plan purchased under the ACA, and Democrats refused to support this amendment. Therefore, the legislation failed to make it within the spending package.

Court Decision May Signal More Legal Liability for Colleges Over Violent Crimes
By Eric Kelderman, March 23, 2018
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that California’s highest court has ruled that public colleges must “protect students from foreseeable violence during curricular activities.” The state Supreme Court decision was based off of a case regarding a student stabbed in the neck and chest in a chemistry lab almost nine years ago. The court cited cases in Delaware, Florida, and Massachusetts to affirm that the university has responsibility in settings where it has control over environment or student behavior. “The special relationship we now recognize is similarly limited. It extends to activities that are tied to the school’s curriculum but not to student behavior over which the university has no significant degree of control,” the justices wrote. “Education is at the core of a college’s mission, and the classroom is the quintessential setting for curricular activities,” they continued. “Perhaps more than any other place on campus, colleges can be expected to retain a measure of control over the classroom environment.”

More Than a Million People Participated in March for Our Lives Protests
By Reid Wilson, March 26, 2018
The March for Our Lives campaign held protests across 62 of the nation’s 100 largest cities this past Saturday, with an estimated one million protestors coming out to raise awareness regarding gun violence. Officials reported more than 200,000 marchers in Washington D.C. and 85,000 in Chicago, IL. This youth-led protest, in response to the Parkland school shooting, also led to awareness across the globe with turnouts outside the U.S. Embassy in London, as well as protests in Paris, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Sydney.

Relevant Regulations:

Vocational-Technical Education Week, 2018
A Presidential Document by the Executive Office of the President (03/21/2018)
Summary: “My Administration recognizes the importance of increasing access to education, which is why my infrastructure proposal includes important reforms that will make it easier for Americans to access affordable, relevant, and high-quality education that leads to full-time work and long-term careers. It also includes initiatives related to workforce development. Specifically, my proposal would allow students to use Pell Grant funding to pay for cutting-edge, short-term programs that lead to quick and efficient transitions into the workforce. My proposal also calls on the Congress to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education program and to improve it by making it easier for schools to partner with local businesses to expand apprenticeships, other forms of skills-based learning, and dual-enrollment programs. Further, I have called for reforming the Federal Work-Study program so that more Federal dollars go toward helping students—especially lower-income students—have more meaningful workplace experiences. Through a combination of administrative and legislative actions, my Administration is seeking to train the workforce of today for both the challenges and developments of tomorrow.”

Federal Summaries

H.R.5312 - To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reauthorize the Federal work-study program, and for other purposes.

  • Primary Sponsor: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-MI) (Introduced 03/15/2017)
  • Committees: House-Education and the Workforce
  • Latest Action: House- 03/15/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

State Summaries

Trans Rights
Since the start of the 2018 State Legislative Session, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has seen movement on 19 bills across 10 states. This summary includes changes observed concerning tracked legislation over the past week. TN HB 2620, placed on the Civil Justice Subcommittee calendar for 03/27/2018 on 03/21/2018, expands the attorney general and reporter’s duties to include representation for a Local Education Agency (LEA) or certain LEA employees in a legal proceeding arising out of the LEA’s adoption of a policy or practice designating multi-person restrooms, locker rooms, or other facilities for use based only on one’s biological sex

In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants
Since the start of the 2018 State Legislative Session, NASPA’s Policy and Advocacy Team has seen movement on 20 bills across 12 states regarding in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. This summary includes changes observed concerning tracked legislation over the past week. NH SB 525, scheduled for a public hearing on 03/28/2018, would prohibit the distribution of adult education financial assistance to any student who is not a legal resident. TN SB 2569, placed on the Senate Education Committee calendar for 3/28/2018, would require institutions of higher education to classify students as in-state, only if the students are Tennessee citizens. TN HB 2582, which was placed on the Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee for 03/27/2018, would limit in-state tuition to Tennessee citizens.

Guns on Campus
Since the start of January, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has seen movement on 20 bills across 13 states. This summary includes changes observed concerning tracked legislation over the past week. NE LB 321, which was enacted and approved by the Governor on 03/21/2018, will amend allowable carry on college campuses to rifle, pistol, and shotgun discipline-focused teams.

State Updates

Delaware Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills signed
0 bills passed Senate
0 bills passed House
0 new bills introduced
Maryland

Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills signed
4 bills passed Senate
8 bills passed House
0 bills introduced

Passed Senate
SB 317 Higher Education Degree and Job Certification Without Debt Act of 2018 – Passed Senate, March 16, 2018
SB 631 Higher Education Outreach and College Access Pilot Program - Alterations and Extension of Sunset – Passed Senate, March 15, 2018
SB 842 Higher Education - Educational Excellence Award Eligibility - High School Diploma by Examination – Passed Senate, March 15, 2018
SB 502 Higher Education - University System of Maryland - Quasi-Endowment Funds – Passed Senate, March 1, 2018

Passed House
HB 203 Higher Education - Senatorial and Delegate Scholarships - Reimbursement of Expenses for Community College Certification and Licensure – Passed House, March 15, 2018
HB 420 Higher Education - Financial Aid - In-State Students (The Jill Wrigley Memorial Scholarship Expansion Act) – Passed House, March 15, 2018
HB 781 Higher Education - Educational Excellence Award Eligibility - High School Diploma by Examination – Passed House, March 15, 2018
HB 982 Higher Education Outreach and College Access Pilot Program – Alterations and Extension of Sunset – Passed House, March 16, 2108

HB 1536 Higher Education - Tuition Rates – Exemptions – Passed House, March 15, 2018
HB 1473 HPublic Health - Emergency Use Auto-Injectable Epinephrine Program at Institutions of Higher Education – Passed House, March 15, 2018
HB 1630 Higher Education - James Proctor Scholarship Program – Established – Passed House, March 15, 2108
HB 1074 Public Institutions of Higher Education - Priority Registration for Members of the Armed Forces – Passed House, March 14, 2018

New Jersey

Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills signed
3 bills passed Senate
0 bills passed Assembly
24 new bills introduced - new bills can be found here

Passed Senate
S 765 Requires Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to obtain court order prior to using certain collection practices for defaulted loans under New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Loan Program. – Passed Senate, February 26, 2018
S 777 Establishes Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Review Task Force to study implementation of New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Loan Program. – Passed Senate, February 26, 2018
S 1148 Requires Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to establish repayment assistance program for borrowers under New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students Loan Program who suffer material loss of income. – Passed Senate, February 26, 2018

New York Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills signed
0 bills passed Senate
0 bills passed Assembly
1 new bills introduced - new bills can be found here

Pennsylvania
Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills became law
0 bills passed Senate
0 bills passed House
2 new bills introduced - new bills can be found here
Washington, D.C. Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills signed
0 bills passed Council
0 new bills introduced since last newsletter
West Virginia

Bill status tracker for this legislative session since last newsletter:
0 bills signed
0 bills passed Senate
1 bills passed House
2 bills signed into law
0 new bills introduced

Passed House:
HCR 39 Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study sustainability of the state's higher education system – Passed House, March 6, 2018

Signed into Law:
HB 4622 Relating to authorizing legislative rules regarding higher education – Signed into Law, March 20, 2018
SB 386 Decreasing and increasing appropriations from Treasury to Higher Education Policy Commission – Signed into Law, February 27, 2018

This monthly newsletter is compiled by the NASPA Region II Public Policy Representative, Krista Saleet. If you would like to send suggestions or submit policy updates for the next newsletter, please email [email protected]


Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NASPA. If you agree or disagree with the content of this post, we encourage you to dialogue in the comment section below. NASPA reserves the right to remove any blog that is inaccurate or offensive.

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