Legislative Update

Chairman John Kline Hopeful Perkins Act Reauthorization Will Move Soon

Before leaving for a seven-week recess, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce unanimously approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R.5587). Federal funding for career and technical education has enjoyed wide bipartisan support and chairmen of both the House and Senate education committees have expressed interest in the getting the bill to the finish line. This week John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said he is hopeful his committee’s bill will go before the full House for a vote soon.

New York Senators Urge Columbia University to Recognize Graduate Student Union

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger encouraging him to allow graduate students to unionize, if they vote for representation. This is a response to the NLRB ruling from August that said graduate students are employees and should be allowed to unionize at private universities.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, September 13, the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Tax-Exempt College and University Endowments.”

Regulatory Activity

Two Major Changes to FAFSA for the 2017-18 Application

This year the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will see two major changes. Students will be able to file the 2017-18 application as early as October 1, 2016 rather than January 1, 2017 and they will use earlier income and tax information. For example, students (and their parents in some cases) will use 2015 income and tax information instead of their 2016 information. The Department of Education says these changes will benefit students by no longer requiring them to estimate or log in later to update their FAFSA after they file taxes, and they will potentially be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import tax information into the FAFSA. Students will also have additional time to meet deadlines and explore and understand financial aid options.

Department of Education Sends Letter to Community College Leaders about ITT Tech Closure

Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell sent a letter to community college leaders whose institutions are close to ITT campuses and offer programs similar to ITT’s courses urging them to step in and help former ITT students. The Department has also launched a ITT web page with questions-and-answers, webinars, and in-person transfer fairs. Under Secretary Mitchell also participated in a call with reporters to outline the Department’s plan to support these students. The audio of the call can be found here.

Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. also sent a message to ITT students explaining their options to continue their studies at different schools or have their federal student loans discharged.