Legislative Activity

Congressional Response to Executive Actions on Higher Ed Policy

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to President Obama on February 12 requesting to work in partnership with the Administration on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and expressing disappointment in the President’s comments regarding subverting Congress to enact policies on higher education. Committee leaders requested a briefing on planned executive actions from the White House’s Domestic Policy Council staff by Tuesday, February 25.

Upcoming Hearings:

  • Wednesday, February 26: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will meet to consider several nominations including Massie Ritsch to be Assistant Secretary of Education for Communications and Outreach, Christopher Lu to be Deputy Secretary of Labor, and Portia Wu to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training.
  • Wednesday, February 26: The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Early Childhood Development and Education in Indian Country: Building a Foundation for Academic Success.”
  • Thursday, February 27: The Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled “Promoting College Access and Success For Students With Disabilities.”
  • Thursday, February 27: The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training will hold a joint hearing titled “Exploring Efforts to Strengthen the Teaching Profession.”
  • Thursday, February 27: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies will hold an oversight hearing on federal investments in neuroscience research. The hearing will feature witnesses from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation.

Regulatory Activity

Program Integrity and Improvement Negotiated Rulemaking

Last week, the Program Integrity and Improvement negotiated rulemaking committee met for the first time to discuss a number of topics on federal student aid programs including clock to credit hour conversion, state authorization in distance education, state authorization for foreign locations, cash management, retaking coursework, and the definition of adverse credit for PLUS Loan eligibility. At the meeting, the Department of Education announced it is working on “sub-regulatory” guidance to address financial counseling for students and parents borrowing loans to pay for a student’s postsecondary education. While colleges can only encourage loan counseling but not require it under current law, the Department guidance may provide institutions of higher education with examples of best practices. The negotiated rulemaking committee will have two more rounds of meetings on March 26-28 and April 23-25.

Violence Against Women Act Negotiated Rulemaking

The second meeting of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) negotiated rulemaking committee will take place on Monday, February 24 and Tuesday, February 25. The committee will meet this week to continue its efforts to prepare proposed regulations to address the changes in campus safety and security reporting requirements as part of the Clery Act revisions made by the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2013. The final negotiated rulemaking committee meeting will take place on Monday, March 31 and Tuesday, April 1.

White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault

Last week, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault began holding a series of public listening sessions designed to allow the public to participate in the policy discussions surrounding sexual assault and share their stories and input. The Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women, in partnership with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, are hosting these sessions which continue this week. Register here for any of the below virtual listening sessions.

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014: Students and Survivors
  • Wednesday, February 26: Open Forum
  • Thursday, February 27: Victim Advocates, Rape Crisis Center Staff, Victim Service Providers, including Campus-based and Community Programs
  • Friday, February 28: University, College, and Community College Administrators and Leaders

Other Events

  • Wednesday, February 26: The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are seeking public comments on opinions, ideas, and suggestions related to the development of requirements, priorities, selection criteria, and definitions for the Administration’s new $250 million grant competition to build, develop and expand high-quality preschool programs. Comments may be posted until Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. EST on the Department of Education’s Homeroom Blog.
  • Thursday, February 27: The White House will host an event titled “My Brother’s Keeper” and unveil a new initiative of the same name designed to help young men of color find jobs and be successful in life by focusing on early education, literacy, health, criminal justice issues and building a path to career opportunities.