This Week In Washington
The House and Senate are now in recess. The Senate had been scheduled to remain in Washington until the election, but a deal struck by Republican and Democratic leaders yesterday allowed the Senate to begin recess today in exchange for floor votes on 15 of President Trump’s judicial nominees. Both chambers will be in recess until November 13. This means there will be no legislative action on higher education until after the election.
A federal judge expressed skepticism toward an attempt to stop the Obama-era Borrower Defense to Repayment (DTR) regulation from taking effect later this week. A California school association is suing to block enforcement of those DTR regulations. This lawsuit, however, is different from another case where the same federal judge ruled that the current Department of Education’s (ED) delay of the Obama-era DTR regulations was unlawful. Recall, the judge gave ED until 5:00 p.m. today to generate a new reason for the delay or the Obama-era DTR regulations may take effect immediately. While the two cases are separate, they are related in that if the judge does not find ED’s new reason (or ED does not provide one) satisfactory by the deadline today, and he rules against the other trade association, then it is likely the Obama-era DTR regulation will take effect immediately. If enforced, the Obama-era rules would be in effect until at least June 30, 2020 because ED said last week it had to delay publishing its rewrite of the rules. We will keep you informed as to the resolution next week.
News You Can Use
In light of decreased law school enrollment between 2010 to 2016, a new research study estimates that law schools are losing approximately $1.5 billion in aggregate annual tuition revenue.
The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) released a brief on the consequences of student loan default for struggling borrowers, which included recommendations for institutions and policymakers to help borrowers better prevent and exit default.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released a new report on state funding for higher education, which found that state funding for public two- and four-year colleges in 2018 was more than $7 billion below the 2008 level, after adjusting for inflation.
Gallup reports that Americans of different political affiliations overall have less confidence in higher education than three years ago. However, higher education as an institution still maintains a relatively high level of confidence.
The following bill(s) have been recently introduced for consideration by the 115th Congress (2017-2018):
H.R. 6947 – College Affordability and Innovation Act [Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT-4)] would create a new, evidence-based grant program to fund innovative higher education programs that reduce cost and time to degree completion, such as online and distance education. The bill would also create an independent commission tasked with developing minimum accountability standards for making college more affordable, providing better access for middle- and low-income students, and providing value to students.