By FWD, February 28, 2018
"On February 28th, friends of Dreamers at colleges and universities across the country are coming together to call Congress and urge them act swiftly and pass legislation before March 5th. Join us by setting up a phone bank on your campus where students, faculty, and staff can stop by to call Congress and advocate for Dreamers on your campus. We all know that Dreamers are an integral part of our communities, so it's time for us to step up as allies and do everything in our power to make sure they can stay and graduate with us." Look for more information on the NASPA Facebook page.
By Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), February 22, 2018
“Reinstating Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students is a sound investment, while maintaining the ban will cost taxpayers more in the long term. The undersigned research, advocacy, and justice organizations share your interest in examining the federal policy barriers that prohibit the use of Pell Grants by students incarcerated in federal and state penal institutions.”
By NASPA and five other association organizations, February 23, 2018
“On behalf of NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the undersigned higher education associations, we write in response to your request for comments regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). We appreciate the effort you have undertaken in considering this reauthorization as a bipartisan process and to engage with the higher education community to ensure legislation that will benefit today’s students now and in the years to come.”
By Student Affairs in Higher Education Consortium (SAHEC), February 23, 2018
“We, the undersigned organizations, a consortium of associations representing professionals and students in various student affairs roles on college and university campuses, including on campus housing, student conduct, recreation and wellness, and many areas in between, thank you for this opportunity to provide input on your work to craft a Higher Education Act reauthorization bill. While we have input to provide in other areas, this letter mainly relates to accountability and the white paper, “Higher Education Accountability” that Chairman Alexander recently released. Although the white paper points out some of the weaknesses in the current accountability system, the strategy does not address these weaknesses, but rather appears to side step them, and in their stead offers fewer accountability protections for students.”
By PostsecData Collaborative and 50 other organizations including NASPA, February 23, 2018
“This letter is submitted on behalf of these 50 undersigned members and partners of the Postsecondary Data Collaborative (PostsecData), in response to the open call for comments and suggestions on topics to include in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). PostsecData is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations representing students, institutions, states, employers, and privacy and security experts that seeks to advance the use of high-quality data to improve student success and educational equity. It is with this charge that we share the following recommendations for improving postsecondary data in HEA: improve data for students and policymakers by creating a secure, privacy-protected student-level data network (SLDN); and count all students in federal data collections by closing gaps in completion and earnings data.”
By American Council on Education (ACE) and 47 organizations including NASPA, February 26, 2018
“On behalf of the American Council on Education (ACE) and the associations listed below, we submit the following principles regarding the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, in response to your call for comments on February 13. The higher education community appreciates the opportunity to engage with the Committee as you begin the process of writing a reauthorization bill. A large number of individual associations and institutions of higher education will also weigh in with their specific priorities, but the following principles represent broad goals of the higher education community for reauthorization.”
By Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, February 22, 2018
Just over a week ago, families and friends of 17 high school students, faculty, and staff in Parkland, Florida were forced to mourn under the spotlight of our national conversation around guns and gun control. In what has become tragically routine, the coverage of the shooting included discussions of race, mental health, access to and availability of so-called assault rifles, and many calls for legislative action at both the federal and state levels. The activism of the student survivors has kept the conversation in the headlines longer than has become usual for mass shootings, prompting many – advocates both for gun control and for protection of 2nd Amendment rights – to declare a tipping point that will finally prompt legislative and regulatory action. Whether those predictions will actually occur, however, remains to be seen. For example, on Tuesday, the Florida House of Representatives rejected a ban on semiautomatic guns and guns with large capacity magazines, which could indicate that the national debate about guns will be revisited soon. In this post, Teri Lyn Hinds, NASPA's Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, reviews 10 pieces of proposed legislation related to firearms on campus in the 10 states that have been acted on state legislatures in 2018.
By Scott Jaschik, February 23, 2018
As high school students continue to increase activism around tougher gun laws, Houston has pushed back with district specified policies that will result in a three-day suspension for those who participate in walkouts or protests during school hours. A number of colleges have responded to the new policies by releasing statements that such suspensions will not be held against applicants in the future, or those already admitted to college. Admissions leaders stated that they would view these suspensions as inappropriate action on behalf of the institution. Stu Schmill, dean of admissions and financial services at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stated, "Some students who have been admitted to MIT’s Class of 2022 have asked us if their acceptance will be rescinded if they are disciplined for joining the protests, while other applicants still under consideration are wondering if they have to choose between speaking out and getting in," wrote Schmill. "We have already informed those who asked that, in this case, a disciplinary action associated with meaningful, peaceful participation in a protest will not negatively impact their admissions decision, because we would not view it as inappropriate or lacking integrity on its face. The purpose of this blog post is to communicate that fact more broadly and explain our reasoning as to why."
By Jordan Carney and Rafael Bernal, February 25, 2018
After the Senate immigration debate came to a close with still no policy in place to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the Senate, led by Senator Jeff Flake, is considering a short-term fix. While a year-long immigration stopgap measure is less than ideal, senators are increasingly considering the measure in order to buy time until a permanent solution can be made. The stopgap measure is unlikely to make it to the 60 vote threshold, so it might be tucked into the omnibus spending bill before the upcoming March 23 deadline.
By Benjamin Wermund, February 26 2018
Education Secretary DeVos is launching a new Title IX investigation into the systemic issues of Michigan State’s handling of the case against Larry Nassar. "We expect MSU's full and complete disclosure about its actions to protect students from sexual assault," DeVos said in a statement. "Every student across every campus should know that I am committed to ensuring all students have access to a learning environment free from sexual misconduct and discrimination and that all institutions that fall short will be held accountable for violations of federal law."
By Josh Gerstein and Ted Hesson, February 26, 2018
Over a week ago the Supreme Court held a closed-door conference to consider an appeal from the Department of Justice on whether it would take up the first of two federal court rulings against the legality of the DACA expiration. The court put the case back on its conference schedule for February 23, without making a decision whether or not to take up the case, and then decided on February 26 not to take up the case. This is unsurprising, as the Supreme Court has not granted judgement without a circuit-level ruling on the question presented since 1988. Since the lower courts will likely take months for the deliberation process, a little pressure is taken off of Congress to immediately craft a legislative solution for the problem.
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. IA SF 2296, referred to the Education Subcommittee on 02/19/2018, would prohibit persons from entering multiple occupancy toilet facilities in elementary and secondary schools that do not correspond with that person’s biological sex. HI HB 2139, recommended to be passed unamended on 02/22/2018, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity expression in any state education program or activity.
Since the start of the 2018 State Legislative Session, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA as observed movement on three bills in three states. MS HB 1508, which died in committee on 01/30/2018, and known as "The Mississippi First Higher Education Act"; works to remove those policies which support affirmative action, multiculturalism and sanctuary of undocumented immigrants. TN HB 271, which had sponsors added on 01/30/2018, prohibits state and local governmental entities and officials from adopting or enacting sanctuary policies and authorizes residents of Tennessee to submit complaints to the attorney general and reporter.
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 18 bills across 11 states regarding in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. CA AB 3008, scheduled on 02/17/2018 to be heard in committee on 03/19/2018, would create an exemption for qualifying undocumented immigrants from paying nonresident tuition. TN HB 2429, which added sponsors on 02/22/2018, exempts certain undocumented students from paying out-of-state tuition at state institutions of higher education.
Guns on Campus:
Since the start of January, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has seen movement on 17 bills across 12 states. OK SB 1159, which was coauthored by Representative Enns on 02/20/2018, authorizes handgun licensees to carry on certain school property. FL SPB 7026, placed on the Appropriations Committee agenda on 02/22/2018, requires district school boards to formulate procedures for active shooter situations and to establish or assign safe-school officers at each district school facility within the district. NH HB 1542, which failed to pass in this current legislative cycle on 02/22/2018, would create a policy relative to carrying pistols or revolvers on university system and community college property.
-Congressional Budget Office submits report to Budget Committees (2/15/2018)
The President’s budget proposal is more severe than FY2018. It cuts $200 billion from student aid programs over 10 years, freezes the maximum Pell Grant at $5,920 per year for the next 10 years, and ends Public Service Loan Forgiveness and subsidized loan programs. The President’s version of the budget is not a determinate of the budget that Congress will pass down the line.
-A Notice by the Education Department on 02/21/2018
-Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education (ED)
Summary: “The U.S. Department of Education (Department) seeks to ensure that the congressional mandate to except student loans from bankruptcy discharge except in cases of undue hardship is appropriately implemented while also ensuring that borrowers for whom repayment of their student loans would be an undue hardship are not inadvertently discouraged from filing an adversary proceeding in their bankruptcy case. Accordingly, the Department is requesting public comment on factors to be considered in evaluating undue hardship claims asserted by student loan borrowers in adversary proceedings filed in bankruptcy cases, the weight to be given to such factors, whether the existence of two tests for evaluation of undue hardship claims results in inequities among borrowers seeking undue hardship discharge, and how all of these, and potentially additional, considerations should weigh into whether an undue hardship claim should be conceded by the loan holder.”
-A Notice by the Education Department on 02/22/2018
-Comment period that ends on 03/01/2018
-Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education
Summary: “On January 24, 2018, we published in the Federal Register a notice of a call for written third-party comments. That notice provided information to members of the public on submitting written comments with respect to accrediting agencies currently undergoing review for purposes of recognition by the Secretary of Education. That notice established a comment period beginning on January 24, 2018, and closing on February 16, 2018. Pursuant to a recent court order, we are extending the public comment period until March 1, 2018, for the submission of comments on the application of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) for initial recognition and the compliance report submitted by the American Bar Association (ABA).”
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