This Week In Washington
The House Appropriations education subcommittee is marking up its fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending bill today. The bill, released on Thursday, provides the U.S. Department of Education (ED) a modest $43 million funding increase over the FY2018 level. This House bill does not include funding to continue ED’s Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but the Senate is expected to include it in its FY2019 appropriations bill. Finally, like the FY2018 omnibus spending package that passed earlier this year, the House bill prohibits Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from spending money to move forward with plans to dismantle ED’s central budget office.
Late Monday night, the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) sent an email to Republicans indicating the office was going to officially start gauging support for the PROSPER Act. A whip, the term used to count how many yes, no, or maybe votes there are, occurred on Tuesday night. While an actual tally has not been reported, we believe the bill is still several votes short of being able to pass the House. Recall, the bill passed out the education committee on a party line vote late last year, and several organizations and constituencies have come out against the bill. PROSPER can still come to the floor at any time, so please read more on the status of PROSPER and the Higher Education Act on our Xblog.
News You Can Use
Leaders within California’s public higher education system issued a statement this week opposing the PROSPER Act, citing changes, such as the termination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, that would undermine their efforts to provide affordable, accessible and equitable pathways to college.
The U.S. Department of Education has lost 13 percent of its staff since the start of the Trump Administration, with the biggest losses coming from the Office of Federal Student Aid and the Office for Civil Rights.
A new report from the American Council on Education, Minority Serving Institutions as Engines of Upward Mobility, finds that students that attend minority-serving institutions (MSIs) move from the bottom to the top of the income distribution at higher rates than students that attend non-MSIs.
A former Democratic U.S. Department of Education official and a former Republican congressional staffer publish a joint op-ed calling for the reversal of the ban on student-level data, saying that students and policymakers need data “to make more informed higher education decisions.”
The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
S. 3018 – Degrees Not Debt Act of 2018 [Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)] would increase the Pell Grant award to $10,000 a year, hold states accountable to maintain or increase higher education funding, and mandate institutions prominently display on their websites a report that includes information about graduation rates, employment outcomes and other data points.