February 6, 2018, 10AM EST
This is a hearing on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Improving College Affordability”
February 8, 2018, 10AM EST
This is a hearing on “The Opioid Crisis: Impact on Children and Families”
By PostsecData and 22 organizations including NASPA, January 26, 2018
This letter urges NACIQI to support legislation such as the College Transparency Act, which would create a secure, federally held student-level data network which would address gaps in data accessibility.
By Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, January 30, 2018
Student affairs professionals see first-hand both the triumphs and the struggles of students in ways that few other campus administrators can. Telling the stories of our students, stories that complement data showing what we know to be true across the country, is a powerful advocacy tool. Each student story is unique, but student affairs professionals work with students across campus, allowing perspective to identify trends and patterns in students’ experiences. As a national association representing the voices of student affairs professionals, NASPA is uniquely situated to elevate those stories and use them to inform policymakers at the state and federal level about the real impacts policy decisions have on the lives of students. Every day, student affairs professionals advocate for student success on campus; NASPA can help support and carry that advocacy to the next level, but we need your voice. Won’t you join #SAadvocates around the country in July to share your expertise and insight with policymakers?
By Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, February 1, 2018
Most state legislatures started their 2018 legislative session in January and while it’s still fairly early in the session to have a solid sense of trends across the country, this post by NASPA Director of Policy Research & Advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds provides an initial look at a few of the top issues NASPA’s Policy and Advocacy Team tracks: campus free speech, rights for trans individuals, and state-level immigration-related policies regarding sanctuary campuses or tuition and financial aid for undocumented immigrants. Some legislation introduced in 2017 is still under consideration in many states with biennial state legislative sessions, though this post will focus mostly on new legislation introduced in 2018 or that has been recently updated or acted on.
By Ben Miller, February 1, 2018
Students unable to meet their initial agreements with federal student aid regarding student loans are met by heavy repercussions. The Center for American Progress reports that 1 million borrowers default on their Federal Direct Loans each year, half of African Americans default within 12 years of entering college and Pell Grant recipients make up nearly 90 percent of defaulters. Currently, the Department of Education does little in terms of punitive measures against institutions with high rates of default. Establishing repayment rates as a form of institutional accountability seems more promising, however policymakers still need to figure out a proper way to define and use repayment rates and a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) must create an accountability system that aligns the interest of students, schools, and taxpayers.
By Adam Harris, February 2, 2018
As more borrowers enroll in income-driven repayment programs, the federal government is entering a period where it will be lending more money in student loans than it is repaid, as reported by the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General. The report found that the portion of direct loans paid through income-driven repayment plans has risen by 625 percent. “The department is committed to the transparent communication of the costs of the federal student-loan programs, including trends in repayment options that may impact future estimated costs,” said Joseph C. Conaty, a senior official at the department, in response to the inspector general’s report.
By Scott Jaschik, February 5, 2017
In the last week Colorado State University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have been dealing with responding to white nationalists who have either already visited their campuses or plan to do so. There has been some debate over whether or not the speakers are white nationalists, but they are members of the Traditionalist Worker Party, which has stated very clearly on its website that it embraces Nazi ideas and symbolism. The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, two organizations that monitor bigoted groups, both classify the Traditionalist Worker Party as an extremist hate group. Tony Frank, president of Colorado State stated in a message to the students: "The TWP goes by various names online, but let me keep this simple: a Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi. And the members of the Traditionalist Worker Party are unapologetic Nazis who advocate murdering all those who don’t align with their worldview. They don’t even pretend to keep this a secret. They put it out there unashamedly for anyone who wants to read it." Beverly J. Davenport, chancellor at Tennessee sent a slightly different message which upheld the First Amendment, but also condemned bigotry: "Across the country, white supremacist groups are targeting colleges and universities, hoping to promote their beliefs and recruit members. Groups like the one that has been writing on our Rock have been described as being closely aligned with neo-Nazis and other hardline racist organizations. They are coming to our campuses precisely because of our commitment to inclusion and our mission to promote free speech," she wrote. "I encourage all of you to be guardians of our campus. Protect it and make it a symbol of what you honor and love. Take care of it and each other. Be mindful of what’s hurtful and hateful.”
By Ed O’Keefe, February 5, 2018
Sens. John McCain and Christopher A. Coons have introduced another bipartisan bill to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and provide a pathway to citizenship. The deal would not immediately authorize spending of the $25 billion on the border wall. The legislation comes four days before Congress reaches another short-term spending deadline. Senator Durbin, a negotiator on immigration policy told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday “I don’t see a government shutdown coming, but I do see a promise by Senator McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate. That’s what we were looking for when there was a shutdown. We’ve achieve that goal, we’re moving forward.” Sen. Coons added that the bill “doesn’t solve every immigration issue, but it does address the two most pressing problems we face: protecting DACA recipients and securing the border.”
Since the start of the 2018 State Legislative Session, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has seen movement on 17 bills across 8 states. SD HB 1296 as first read in the House and referred to the House Judiciary on 02/01/2918 would require each school board to establish a policy on the use of certain school district facilities by transgender persons. TN HB 2620 as filed for an introduction on 02/01/2018, expands the attorney general and reporter's duties to include representation of a local education agency arising out of the adoption of a policy requiring students, faculty, and staff to utilize the restroom, locker room, or other facility that corresponds to that individual's biological sex. OK SB 1223, scheduled for a second reading on 02/06/2018 creates the Oklahoma Privacy Accommodation Act; requiring school districts to provide reasonable accommodations to trans students. OK SB 2150, scheduled for a second reading on 02/06/2018 prevents local jurisdictions from expanding anti-discrimination policies to religious organizations.
Since the start of the 2018 State Legislative Session, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA as observed movement on two bills in two states. MS HB 1508, which was referred to Universities and Colleges; Judiciary B on 01/15/2018, and known as "The Mississippi First Higher Education Act"; works to remove those policies which support affirmative action, multiculturalism and sanctuary of undocumented immigrants.
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 14 bills across 11 states regarding in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. MS HB 33, which died in committee on 01/30/2018, would allow undocumented students to attend college at in-state tuition rates subject to certain conditions. TN HB 2582 which was filed for introduction on 02/01/2018 requires state institutions of higher education to classify students as in-state for tuition purposes, only if the students are Tennessee citizens. CA AB 1307, which died on 02/01/2018 created an exemption from nonresident tuition.
Guns on Campus:
Since the start of January, the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has seen movement on 10 bills across 9 states. MS HB 697 which died in committee on 01/30/2018 would have authorized license holders to carry on campuses of higher education institutions. NE LB 321, which was advanced to enrollment and review of engrossment on 02/02/2018. OK SB 1159, scheduled for a second reading and referred to Public Safety on 02/06/2018 would authorize handgun licensees to carry on certain school property.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6) (Introduced 1/10/2018)
-Committees: House - Judiciary; Education and the Workforce; Homeland Security; Foreign Affairs; Ways and Means; Armed Services; Oversight and Government Reform; Agriculture; Transportation and Infrastructure; Natural Resources
-Latest Action: 01/24/2018 Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
This bill would authorize funding for the construction of a border wall and require the use of a biometric Entry-Exit system at all ports of entry. It also calls for an additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Protection officers.
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