NAICU Washington Update

House Passes America COMPETES Act

February 04, 2022

This morning, the House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act.  The bill would authorize more than $200 billion in research funds across multiple federal agencies, and would reauthorize Title VI International Education of the Higher Education Act.  At the same time, it also includes tighter scrutiny and restrictions on institutions that receive funding from foreign entities. 

Among the many amendments considered, the House passed the Levin amendment which would establish a federal student unit record data system as proposed in the College Transparency Act (CTA).  NAICU has significant privacy concerns about the ways in which such a system would violate the confidentiality of students’ personal information and has been vocal about these concerns since the bill's inception. 

This same amendment includes language from the JOBS Act, a bipartisan bill that was introduced in 2021. The language would expand Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in rigorous, high-quality, short-term skills and job training programs that lead to industry-based credentials and employment in high-wage, high-skill industry sectors or careers. 

Last summer, the Senate passed a similar bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA).  A House-Senate conference committee will soon be appointed to work out the differences in the two bills. The Senate bill does not include any provisions on short-term Pell or a federal student unit record data system.  

Stephanie Giesecke (Appropriations)
Emmanual Guillory (Short-Term Pell)
Jody Feder (Privacy)

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