November 15, 2017
This is a confirmation hearing for three of Donald Trump’s nominees for the Education Department.
By the American Council on Education (ACE) and 45 other higher education associations including NASPA, November 6, 2017
NASPA has signed onto this letter in protest of current higher education provisions within HR 1 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As the statement describes, NASPA thinks the bill discourages individuals from pursuing a degree in higher education and significantly increases the financial burden placed upon students.
By Diana Ali, November 9, 2017
In the first installment of the Engage! series, Director of Policy Research and Advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds broadly outlined four levels in which student affairs professionals might advocate on campus: institutionally, as faculty and staff, supporting students and civic engagement, and personally. In the second installment of the series we take a deeper dive into these forms of advocacy through an issue-based lens. The Policy and Advocacy team at NASPA keeps track of policies which fall under five tenants of the NASPA 2017-2020 Public Policy Agenda: student success and college completion; student safety and wellness; cost of higher education, student debt, and borrower protections; inclusive opportunities for access and success in higher education; and civic engagement and freedom of expression. Today NASPA Policy Analyst Diana Ali is going to focus specifically on immigration policies around undocumented individuals, specifically, those individuals who were brought to the US by their parents as children without a legal entry status. These conversations center on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
By Katherine C. MacIlwaine, November 7, 2017
Politico reported last week that congressional representatives would be marking up an initiative to raise the minimum wage paid to H-1B workers from $60,000 to $100,000 so that employers would have a more difficult time taking on international workers. Without updated information on any changes to visa caps, the annual limit of available visas is still capped at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 available for those with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released the date of April 2, 2018 as the official day they will begin accepting H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2019. The visa cap is typically reached with a week of filing so employers are encouraged to have new petitions in the mail by March 30, 2018 for an April 2 arrival date.
By Ashley A. Smith, November 8, 2017
City Colleges of Chicago have recently seen a drastic increase in college completion rates, but the cause for this completion has been called into question through a new report suggesting that the coalition of community colleges have softened standards and manipulated dated in order to improve outcomes. The report suggests that “Since 2010, City Colleges has watered down its curriculum, violated its own rules on what constitutes a degree, changed the way it counts statistics and bestowed thousands of degrees -- sometimes in multiples to the same person -- to current and former students who in many cases neither requested nor wanted them.” The report found that hundreds of students received degrees retroactively without the students giving consent, and that the share of students receiving general studies degrees increased dramatically. Faculty disagreed with the notion that the curriculum has been watered down, and point to the lack of evidence that the schools offered better academic options prior to recent completion initiatives.
By Andrew Kreighbaum, November 10, 2017
The Senate tax bill is similar to the one released by the House of Representatives and includes an excise tax on large private college endowments, which higher ed advocates fear would create a precedent encouraging a tax on institutions of higher learning. The Senate tax bill also eliminates the state and local tax deduction which encourages the state to continue to invest in public universities. Craig Lindwarm, the director of congressional and government affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities noted that while several concerning provisions in the House bill that were left out of the Senate bill might make their way into this legislation as well. “However, colleges, universities and students should take nothing for granted,” he said. “The legislative process is just beginning, and some of the most concerning provisions can be added throughout this process.” As it stands, the Senate bill does not include any provisions that would affect graduate education.
By Karin Fischer, November 13, 2017
While a recent report showed that rates of international students within the United States is higher than ever before, at 1.08 million as of the fall of 2016, other reports show that international recruitment began to stymie prior to the election of President Donald Trump. It turns out that the high number of international students is more reflective of graduate students staying on to work, rather than new students enrolling into programs. A recent survey of 500 colleges reported a drop of 7 percent in new international students overall. However; a quarter of these colleges also indicated that a drop in enrollment was consistent with the previous year, and 30 percent saw enrollment gains. Possible causes of uneven enrollment rates may be a slowing interest from China, which makes up the largest share of international students, and fewer scholarship opportunities available in Brazil and Saudi Arabia for students interested in studying abroad. While the new presidency and Travel Ban policies may be contributing to a slow in enrollment rates, evidence shows that this may not be the only reason for the decline. International students are incredibly important to the economy and the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates a $39.4 billion impact in 2016 alone.
*Most states are not currently in session at this time*
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. 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, 18 bills are pending, 20 have failed, and 6 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. David Loebsack (D-IA) (Introduced 11/07/2017)
-Committees: House-Veterans’ Affairs
-Latest Action: 11/07/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
The Veterans Employment Training (VET) Act works to direct the Secretary of Labor to carry out a grant program for employers and community colleges to offer veterans technical training so they may find greater success in integrating into the workforce.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) (Introduced 11/07/2017)
-Committees: House – Education and the Workforce
-Latest Action: 11/07/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce
The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act of 2017 is a bill designed to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for accreditation reform. The bill would transfer accreditation power to the states and increase student loan data reporting. The HERO Act would also phase out federal loan forgiveness and repayment programs.
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