Legislative Activity

Higher Education Act

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce plans to introduce a series of bills starting in early summer that focus on Title IV funding, accreditation, transparency, loan counseling, regulatory relief, and learning innovation (in no particular order). While the bills will be introduced separately, with the opportunity to comment, they will eventually be rolled together in a Higher Education Act reauthorization package. The Committee introduced similar bills last Congress, which will serve as a starting point for the process in the 114th Congress: (1) Strengthening Transparency in the Higher Education Act (H.R. 4983); (2) Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (H.R. 4894); and (3) Advancing Competency-based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2013 (H.R. 3136).

Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee staff expect floor consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (S. 1177) to occur the first two weeks of June. There is likely to be a robust debate on amendments, including several controversial issues which could delay progress and the bipartisan nature of the bill. The House has yet to further move its version, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), after pulling it from a floor vote in February. However, it is clear that the bill that has negotiating power with the White House is the Senate bill, and lawmakers will work to get the Senate bill passed in June.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Wednesday, May 13: The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing titled “Bureau of Indian Education: Examining Organizational Challenges in Transforming Educational Opportunities for Indian Children.”
  • Thursday, May 14: The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Federal Government’s Mismanagement of Native American Schools.”

Executive Branch Activity

Department of Education First in the World Grant Announcement

The U.S. Department of Education announced the FY 2015 First in the World (FITW) grant competition will begin accepting applications this week. As we previously noted, FITW will award $60 million in grants, including $16 million for minority-serving institutions. There are two types of grants available this year—development grants, which focus on improving student success, and validation grants that will evaluate practices on a broader scale using more rigorous evidence criteria.

Examples or previously funded projects can be found here. Last year, 24 colleges were awarded a total of $75 million through the FY 2014 FITW grant program. Applications will be available beginning on Monday, May 11 and must be received by June 26 to be considered. The grants will be awarded by September 30, 2015.

The Office of Postsecondary Education will host a series of pre-application webinars to provide an overview of the FITW program, evidence requirements, priorities, and selection criteria. Please see the list of webinar opportunities below:

  • Webinar: FITW—Development Grants

Date: May 14, 2015

Time: 3:00pm, EST

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6672493331991439873

  • Webinar: FITW—Validation Grants

Date: May 15, 2015

Time: 3:00pm, EST

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5828449932394343681

  • Webinar: FITW—Evidence & Evaluation Requirements

Date: May 19, 2015

Time: 3:00pm, EST

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/650844179573859841

Additional information on the FITW program and application process is available on the First in the World, Application Information page on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s website.