Public Listening Session in Washington D.C., October 17, 2018 from 10am-12pm EST
By Teri Lyn Hinds, director of policy research and advocacy, October 11, 2018
Despite the fact that it’s only October and there are still a couple of months left in the 115th Congress, it’s now clear that reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will continue to be delayed. Having been passed out of committee on a party-line vote last December, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act – a partisan reauthorization bill written by Republican leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce – remains unlikely to be brought up for a full vote on the House floor. Similarly, several hearings and statements by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership from both parties asserted that HEA reauthorization would be a priority in 2018, but for talks around a bipartisan bill collapsed in the late spring and early summer of 2018. The continued delay is unfortunate as there are much-needed updates to our nation’s signature higher education law, but it does provide the opportunity for a fresh start in both the House and Senate and the prospect of a more bi-partisan process for legislation in the 116th Congress. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds will discuss what the future of HEA might be in the 116th Congress as well as identify policy proposals NASPA will be working to promote with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to improve outcomes for students and student affairs professionals under the next reauthorization.
By Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post, October 9, 2018
The Department of Education is currently investigating an alleged sexual assault that occurred in a Georgia public school district that has a trans inclusive bathroom policy that permits students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. A conservative legal group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a civil rights complaint that the assault was committed by a gender fluid student born male, and was thus a result of the school’s trans inclusive policy. Under Title IX schools are required to conduct their own investigations to ensure that the rights of the victims are safeguarded, but it is unclear if the school had conducted a Title IX investigation following the alleged assault. Trans rights advocates have noted that the confluence of the assault with a trans inclusive policy seems illogical. “Our heart breaks for anyone dealing with the trauma of sexual violence, but there is simply no basis to the notion that policies protecting transgender students contribute to that violence,” said Gillian Branstetter, spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality.
By Alexander Bolton, The Hill, October 11, 2018
Congressional leaders have released a preliminary agenda of what legislation is expected to be considered during the lame-duck session, including: the farm bill, expiring tax breaks, criminal justice reform, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, and passing the Jobs Act 3.0. Congress will also be taking up a number of executive and judicial branch nominees, and may revisit the conversation around funding for a Mexico-U.S. border wall in exchange for the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
By Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe, October 15, 2018
Both advocates and opponents of affirmative action are watching as the federal district court in Boston takes up a case alleging that Harvard University’s admission process discriminates against Asian American applicants. Should the case rule in favor of the students, this might mean a win for affirmative action opponents looking to limit race-conscious admissions more broadly. The case hinges on the analysis of dueling economists who have used different methodologies to come to conflicting conclusions on whether or not Harvard is discrimination against Asian American students. The trial is expected to take three weeks and ultimately land at the Supreme Court.
By Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed, October, 15, 2018
Democrats are expected to take control of the House following midterm elections, giving Representative Bobby Scott the ability to hold hearings and issue subpoenas to Education Secretary DeVos. This access to oversight has the potential to change the way the Education Department has been consistently rolling back regulations issued by the Obama administration.
**Check for updates in the coming months. Most states return to session in January 2019**
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. James Himes (D-CT) (Introduced 09/27/2018)
-Latest Action: 09/27/2018 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce
-Primary Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) (Introduced 10/01/2018)
-Latest Action: 10/01/2018 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
This legislation supports the continuance of TRIO programs by preventing the Department of Education from rejecting TRIP grant applications based on technical errors and provide proper notification of funding decisions to existing TRIO programs.
**Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments**
-A Proposed Rule by the Homeland Security Department on 10/10/2018
-60-day comment period open that ends on 12/10/2018
Summary: “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to prescribe how it determines whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of inadmissibility or has otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule.
DHS proposes to define “public charge” as the term is used in sections 212(a)(4) of the Act. DHS also proposes to define the types of public benefits that are considered in public charge inadmissibility determinations. DHS would consider an alien's receipt of public benefits when such receipt is above the applicable threshold(s) proposed by DHS, either in terms of dollar value or duration of receipt. DHS proposes to clarify that it will make public charge inadmissibility determinations based on consideration of the factors set forth in section 212(a)(4) and in the totality of an alien's circumstances. DHS also proposes to clarify when an alien seeking adjustment of status, who is inadmissible under section 212(a)(4) of the Act, may be granted adjustment of status in the discretion of DHS upon the giving of a public charge bond. DHS is also proposing revisions to existing USCIS information collections and new information collection instruments to accompany the proposed regulatory changes. With the publication of this proposed rule, DHS withdraws the proposed regulation on public charge that the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published on May 26, 1999.”
-A Proposed Rule by the Education Department on 10/15/2018
-Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education
Summary: “We announce our intention to establish one negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare proposed regulations for the Federal Student Aid programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The committee will include representatives of organizations or groups with interests that are significantly affected by the subject matter of the proposed regulations. We request nominations for individual negotiators who represent key stakeholder constituencies for the issues to be negotiated to serve on the committee, and we set a schedule for committee meetings. We also announce the creation of three subcommittees, and request nominations for individuals with pertinent expertise to participate on the subcommittees.”
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