January 11, 2018, TBD
This is a nominations executive session of the Senate HELP Committee.
December 11, 2017
December 11, 2017
December 11, 2017
December 13, 2017
By Diana Ali, Policy Analyst, December 7, 2017
On November 12, 2017 Tina Carr and Yvette Colon filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the loan servicer Navient seeking forgiveness for student loans after finding no other available process. The lawsuit was filed a day before the start of negotiated rulemaking by the borrower-defense committee. Carr and Colon represent just two of nearly 90,000 claims to loan forgiveness that have yet to be addressed by the Trump administration. Because the borrower defense to repayment rule implemented by the Obama administration has been stalled by Secretary of Education DeVos, borrowers have been left in limbo with no viable options for protections from lenders holding loans students incurred to attend institutions which closed suddenly. The fate and future of the borrower defense to repayment rule is still unknown and, as will be discussed in this post by NASPA Policy Analyst Diana Ali, a resolution for these borrowers is likely still a long way off.
By Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, December 15, 2017
Representative Virginia Foxx, Chair of the House Committee on Education and Workforce (Ed and Workforce), introduced a comprehensive revision to the Higher Education Act on December 1, 2017: the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act” (PROSPER Act). Though the Ed and Workforce Committee, and its Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, held a number of hearings and passed several smaller pieces of legislation in previous Congressional sessions, the PROSPER Act represents a wide-ranging re-write of the legislation governing higher education including many provisions that will directly affect student affairs and student success. At nearly 600 pages, it is impossible to summarize all aspects of the legislation, though this post by NASPA Director of Policy Research and Advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds will highlight many of those most likely to be of interest to student affairs professionals, review the unconventionally fast process by which the bill was referred to the full House floor, and provide an expected timeline for a companion bill in the Senate.
By Omari Burnside, Director of Strategic Initiatives, December 22, 2017
Creating and leading a change effort requires a lot of work, energy, and time. And, yes, while the work you are doing is rewarding and meaningful, we know that the experience can sometimes be draining and exhausting. Therefore, it is important that we practice a little self-care throughout our efforts. This Success in Action blog by NASPA Director of Strategic Initiatives Omari Burnside offers suggestions for how to make the most out of your winter break. However, these practices can be used at any time, not just at the end of the year. Because sometimes we just have to relax, relate, and release.
By Andrew Kreighbaum, December 13, 2017
In mid-December the House Education and the Workforce Committee advanced Higher Education Act reauthorization legislation, the PROSPER Act, on a party-line vote. The bill would greatly impact the higher education community, by changing accountability measures, financial aid, and restrictions on for-profits. Democratic Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, felt as though this legislative direction works against student success. "This is the latest battle in the majority’s war against students," Scott said. "That war began in earnest this year with the proposed tax bill." Democrats offered up 40 amendments to be considered during bill mark-up, all of which were rejected on party lines. Some key proposed amendments included provisions to expand federal student aid eligibility to those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, repeal the federal student record ban, and reinstate Obama-era servicer accountability regulations. Committee Republicans did not retain interest in upholding separate definitions of for- and non-profit higher ed programs. Additional concerns raised during bill mark-up include, a lack of ability to focus due to the release of the Tax Bill just a week earlier, and insufficient time to examine adequate safeguards.
By Eric Kelderman and Adam Harris, December 15, 2017
Pushback from the academic community has led to the continuation of tuition waivers for graduate students in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; however, the overall package will still have a significant impact on higher ed through provisions which will stymie state appropriations and college fund raising. Tax cuts in the bill add on over a trillion dollars to the federal deficit over the next decade, whose costs will be partially offset by corresponding tax increases, including for some colleges. The bill includes a 1.4 percent tax on investment earnings endowments at colleges with more than 500 students and $500,000 in endowment per student. The bill also imposes a 21 percent tax on annual compensation over $1 million paid to any of a nonprofit organization’s five highest paid employees. However, the most profound impacts on higher education will be through the overall long term effects of the bill. There may be corresponding cuts to federal programs in an effort to further offset the cost of this bill. Ms. Dadayan, of the Rockefeller Institute, said the bill would “put fiscal pressure on some middle-class taxpayers as well as on some state and local governments. In short there is a huge fiscal and economic uncertainty in front of state and local governments.”
By Dyllan Ogurkis, December 18, 2017
A Florida state legislator has introduced a new campus free speech bill which could greatly increase costs to those who shut down free speech. The policy states that anyone whose free speech rights are violated can go to court and seek damages of $500 plus $50 a day for continuing violations, up to $100,000. The focus of the bill is to protect student speech from university administrators who fail to protect free speech on campus by attempting to cancel speakers. The bill also hits at "Free Speech Zones" stating: “A public institution of higher education may not designate any area of campus as a free speech zone or otherwise create policies restricting expressive activities to a particular area of campus.” The Campus Free Expression Act has party support and there is a Senate companion bill in the works.
By Jennifer Rubin, January 4, 2018
While the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is set to expire in March, most advocates agree that the upcoming January 19 funding deadline is the best remaining window to grant permanent legislative protection to DACA recipients. NPR poses that the likelihood for a bill to pass hinges on two questions: How far Democrats are willing go to force a vote, and whether President Trump will compromise on his demands for a border wall. Democrats opted out of pursuing a government shutdown over the issue prior to Christmas, but the short-term funding resolution which passed will only keep things running until mid-January. President Trump points to Democrats on Twitter for not having done anything yet to protect DACA recipients and continues to push for a compromise which includes his campaign promise of a coast-to-coast wall on the southern border with Mexico. More recent demands include major changes to legal immigration policies as well, which Democrats refuse to support.
*Look for updated state-level legislation as states return to session in 2018 *
While the Policy and Advocacy Team at NASPA has been watching for movement of TX HB 46 and TX HB 50 during Texas Special Session, both failed to move forward by the end date of 8/16/2017. These bills mimic failed legislation HB 2899, a slightly more lenient form of the original TX SB 6 Bathroom Bill. TX HB 46 would forbid “political subdivisions, including a public school district” from adopting or enforcing measures to “protect a class of persons from discrimination” in regulating “access to multi-occupancy restrooms, showers or changing facilities.” HB 50 was identical except applying only to a school district board. In the past few months other states have retreated from the conversation. Additional bills of this kind are unlikely to be introduced during the 2016-2017 legislative session.
In the past few months, we have seen 11 states consider 18 pieces of anti-sanctuary legislation that would affect college campuses. 6 states have introduced (pro) sanctuary legislation that extends to college campuses. Of this legislation, 9 pieces have failed, and 15 are pending, and 4 have been enacted. PA HB 14 was removed from the table on 06/22/2017. IL statewide legislation was enacted in August and CA SB 54, a statewide sanctuary bill was approved by the Governor on 10/05/2017.
Guns on Campus:
Upwards of 17 states are considering legislation concerning guns on campus during the current session. In the 43 pieces of legislation the Policy and Advocacy Team is tracking, 17 bills are pending, 21 have failed, and 7 have been enacted, in AR, GA, OK and TX. GA HB 280 went into effect on 07/01/2017. TX SB 11 which will allow anyone over 21 with a gun license to conceal carry was enacted on 08/16/2017. CA AB 424 enacted by the Governor on 10/14/2017.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-TX) (Introduced 01/03/2017)
-Committees: House-Judiciary; Senate-Judiciary
-Latest Action: Senate-12/07/2017 Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms. A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence. Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) (Introduced 12/01/2017)
-Committees: House-Education and the Workforce
-Latest Action: House-12/13/2017 Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 23-17
This legislation aimed to reauthorize the 1965 Higher Education Act made it through mark-up by the House and is expected to be considered in the Senate in the Spring of 2018. The House bill has been amended in its entirety by the Guthrie Amendment. Key changes to the bill include provisions seeking a federal study of student-level data system run by National Student Clearinghouse, which would potentially allow a private entity to monopolize on the creation of a federal student unit record system and language barring colleges from making restrictions on single-sex organizations (fraternities and sororities) regarding recruitment, which has been a measure colleges have been making to minimize the effects of hazing on campus.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) (Introduced 11/02/2017)
-Committees: House-Ways and Means
-Latest Action: 12/22/2017 Became Public Law No: 115-97
After an unusually fast turnaround in Congress, and a technical glitch in the Senate that required additional consideration by the House, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has become law. While higher education may feel the brunt of the bill through other means, such as state and local tax deductions, deductions for student loan interest and the graduate school tuition waiver remain secured through passage.
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