From: A۰P۰L۰U Congressional and Governmental Affairs Staff
This morning, the full House Education and the Workforce Committee advanced three higher education bills, which are the first bills in an expected series of Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bills the Committee intends to move. The first bill, Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136) was agreed to and reported to the House with the Amendment in the nature of a substitute (HR 3136). A student loan refinancing amendment offered by Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) failed along party lines. The next bill, Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983) was agreed to and reported to the House with the Amendment in the nature of a substitute (HR 4983). An amendment to include repayment rates on the College Dashboard, was offered by Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), but it also failed along party lines. Lastly, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4984) was agreed to and reported to the House with the Amendment in the nature of a substitute (HR 4984). An amendment, offered by Susan Davis (D-CA) and Mark Takano (D-CA), to include veteran tuition assistance and GI bill benefits within the federal funds definition for the 90-10 revenue rule for proprietary institutions also failed.
APLU joined American Council on Education (ACE) and several other associations in a letter to the House Education Committee on the markup and our intent to work with them to improve the legislation.
On July 9, APLU, along with the Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) sent the attached letter to Chairman Lee Terry (R-NE) and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. The letter expresses support for the July 7 draft of the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act of 2014.
Earlier today, the Subcommittee approved the TROL Act by a vote of 13 to 6, with 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats voting for the bill, and 6 Democrats voting against it. During the markup, Chairman Terry withdrew an amendment to the affirmative defense section and indicated his commitment to working with the Ranking Member to reach an agreement on this amendment. Ranking Member Shakowsky, who voted against the bill, said she hopes to be able to support the bill at the full Committee markup after the Committee continues to work on an agreement. A full Committee markup will be scheduled after these discussions.
Today, APLU announced the designation of 14 institutions as Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities. The designation seeks to recognize universities who work to support economic development through a number of different activities. In order to apply, each institution conducted an institutional self-review, identified three areas of institutional strength in economic engagement and described programs in these areas. They also were required to look for areas for growth and develop an improvement plan. The applications for this distinction were scored through a rigorous independent review process. To read more about this designation, including a list of the 14 institutions, please click here.
On July 9, the House Appropriations Committee, Interior and Environment Subcommittee approved by voice vote the FY15 Interior Appropriations bill. A full Committee markup is scheduled for Tuesday, July 15 at 9 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn. Included in this legislation is $138 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is $8 million below the FY14 funding level and also the President’s FY15 budget request. Also included is $717 million for the Office of Science and Technology at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is $42 million below the FY14 funding level and $46 million below the President’s FY15 budget request
Dr. William “Bro” Adams, President of Colby College, was confirmed yesterday by the Senate to be the next Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Chairman appointment is for a four year term. Dr. Adams has been President of Colby College since 2000. Previously, he was President of Bucknell University from 1995 to 2000. Dr. Adams was Vice President and Secretary of Wesleyan University from 1993 to 1995, and was Program Coordinator of the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University from 1986 to 1988. Earlier in his career, he held various teaching positions at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and the University of North Carolina. Dr. Adams served in the Vietnam War as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 1977, he became a Fulbright Scholar and conducted research at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Dr. Adams is a member of the Board of Directors of the Maine Film Center and the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation. Dr. Adams received a B.A. from the Colorado College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Earlier today, APLU joined a group of higher education and library organizations in releasing a set of Net Neutrality Principles aimed at preserving an open Internet and ensuring equitable access. APLU President Peter McPherson said, “APLU opposes efforts to degrade Internet service, which could create a slow lane for some while prioritizing Internet access to others. Certainly Internet service providers should continue to deliver innovative services, but those services must come in the form of optional upgrades, not automatic downgrades.” To read a copy of the press release from the endorsing organizations and the set of Net Neutrality Principles, please click here.
On July 8, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the STEM Education Act of 2014 (H.R.5031). This legislation, which is co-sponsored by 6 Democrats and 3 Republicans, is taken from sections of the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act of 2014 (H.R.4186) and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 (H.R.4159).
This legislation defines STEM education to include computer science as a discipline. The STEM Education Act also includes a section on Informal STEM Education, which gives authority to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Director to award grants to entities that research and develop innovative out-of-school STEM learning. This legislation also includes a section which would amend the NSF Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship Program to allow students with a bachelor’s degree working towards a Master’s degree the opportunity to participate.