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The president’s FY 2015 budget request to Congress proposes $29 billion to fully fund the scheduled $100 increase in the Pell Grant maximum and level funds the other student aid programs. The budget also proposes reform programs to implement the College Value and Affordability agenda he has been advocating for since August, including a proposal to provide $10 million for his controversial college rating metric. NAICU expects to see education funding bills sometime in the summer.
Shortly after the first negotiated rulemaking session dealing with the changes made to campus safety requirements by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), President Obama announced the formation of a White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. NAICU has joined the American Council on Education and several other higher education associations in submitting written comments to the Task Force, which is scheduled to release its final recommendations in mid- to late-April.
The Department of Education is reminding institutions that the 2010 program integrity regulations require states to have student complaint processes covering all institutions. Issuance of this letter signals that the Department is preparing to enforce this portion of the regulation.
Financial responsibility scores for private (nonprofit and for-profit) institutions released by the Department of Education.
House and Senate Budget Committee Chairmen Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) have released reports outlining their approaches to this year’s budget process.
The Program Integrity and Improvement Negotiated Rulemaking Committee has convened. The first session of this round of negotiations provided an overview of the half-dozen diverse issues for which additional regulations are to be developed. These include state authorization for distance education programs and for the foreign locations of U.S. institutions, PLUS loan eligibility, debit card restrictions, the clock to credit hour conversion formula, and aid for repeated course work.
NAICU worked with the American Council on Education to submit comments to the IRS on the question of whether proposed limitations on the political activity of 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organizations should also be applied to 501 (c)(3) organizations, such as private nonprofit colleges and universities. The comments focused on the role colleges and universities play in civic education, democratic participation and political discourse, and how that role could be stifled if the proposed regulations were applied to 501 (c)(3) organizations.
The Student Achievement Measure (SAM), launched last year, continues to accept college and university registrations. To date, the initiative, which is working to identify more comprehensive ways to measure student progress and completion, has more than 400 colleges and universities participating and recently announced the support of several higher education organizations.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced legislation that would overhaul the current Internal Revenue Code by lowering tax rates and eliminating popular tax breaks. The bill would also create a new excise tax on excess endowment funds at private colleges and universities only – not public colleges. While the bill is not expected to be considered in the House or Senate this year, it does reflect Rep. Camp’s commitment to introducing fundamental reform measures during his tenure as Ways and Means Chairman.
The Department of Education has released the list of participants in a negotiated rulemaking process set to begin on February 19. The appointment of Russ Poulin and Marshall Hill to the committee signals that distance education rules will be on the table.
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