Biden administration’s higher education regulatory agenda moves forward


END OF THE FIRST NEG-REG OF BIDEN: All attention in Washington in recent weeks has been on whether Congress will pass President Joe Biden’s sweeping social spending bill before the end of the year. But the administration’s plans to overhaul key higher education policies are advancing with fanfare.

– On Friday, the Education Department’s negotiated rules development committee concluded its work after months of debate over the Biden administration’s proposals. The panel reached agreement on four of the 12 proposals without reaching consensus on the remaining, more controversial plans.

—Consensus obtained. The panel agreed on regulatory language on four points: making it easier for severely disabled borrowers to cancel their loans; streamline loan discharges for borrowers whose school has falsely certified that they are eligible for the loan; and eliminate the capitalization of interest on federal student loans in some cases. Additionally, the panel agreed to new regulations that will allow Congress to reinstate eligibility for Pell Grants for incarcerated students.

—Main unresolved issues: The regulatory committee, as expected, was unable to reach agreement on some of the more controversial issues. This included various proposals covering how the Department of Education processes and adjudicates loan cancellation requests by borrowers who are defrauded by their college as well as the circumstances under which borrowers are entitled to loan cancellation when their college suddenly closes. They also failed to come to an agreement on reinstating the Obama-era ban on compulsory arbitration agreements in higher education.

– Among the most significant problems: Negotiators failed to come to an agreement with the Education Department on how to structure the Biden administration’s new revenue-driven repayment plan and how to expand the Biden administration’s loan forgiveness program. public service. In both cases, student and consumer representatives on the panel wanted a more liberal approach than ministry officials were prepared to accept.

-Look forward: The education ministry is now required, with few exceptions, to move forward with regulatory proposals that negotiators have agreed to. Ministry officials are free to develop their own proposals on the remaining issues on which no agreement has been reached.

-Following: The Biden administration has already scheduled another set of negotiated rules for January. The panel will consider the next bucket of higher education proposals, which includes reinstating the Obama-era paid employment rule that was removed by the Trump administration and drafting new rules to implement those rules. stricter federal funding rules for for-profit colleges – through the so-called 90/10 rule – that Congress passed as part of the US bailout earlier this year.

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BYRD BATH TO COME: The Senate HELP committee on Sunday unveiled the updated text of its part of the massive social spending bill that Senate Democratic leaders are seeking to pass before Christmas. The language on key education provisions is largely unchanged from the version passed by the House, largely reflecting technical changes or minor adjustments.

– The text published by the HELP committee and other committees this week is expected to meet the so-called “Byrd bath” this week. The Senate parliamentarian will hear arguments from Democrats and Republicans on whether various provisions follow the complicated rules of budget reconciliation, the procedural tool Democrats use to pass legislation without the need for GOP votes.

-What to watch: At least two key provisions of the education bill are potentially vulnerable as Democrats defend their legislation before the parliamentarian and begin to push the bill forward before the parliamentarian – either from procedural challenges or from soil amendments led by the GOP.

– Extension of aid to certain undocumented students: The legislation would extend federal student aid to students covered by the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals, which protects them against expulsion, or to students with temporary protected status.

Excluding for-profit students from the increase in the Pell grant: The bill proposes to restrict a $ 550 boost to the maximum Pell Grant to students attending public and nonprofit colleges, excluding those in for-profit schools. Progressives have increasingly called on Senate Democrats to preserve the provision, but more than a dozen House Democrats have opposed the measure. And it might take a few defections among Senate Democrats to kill the disposition in the upper house.

– Other Senate committees have also released their portions of the massive bill in recent days, Bring Democrats closer to ground action on the bill as they continue to negotiate and seek to win Senator Joe Manchin’s crucial vote for the package.

THE ADMIN OF BIDEN ADVANCES THE TARGET DATE FOR THE RULES OF TITLE IX: Biden administration sees April as target date for unveiling key education civil rights proposals that rewrite Trump-era rules on sexual misconduct and create new protections for transgender students .

– The new timetable for the publication of the proposed Title IX rules was included as part of a biannual government-wide regulatory program released on Friday. April’s new Title IX target, while non-binding on the Education Ministry, is a month earlier than the agency’s previous estimate of May.

– Biden administration should significantly rewrite Trump administration regulations that govern how schools and colleges respond to sexual assault and harassment. And officials in the Biden administration have indicated that they also plan to include in the new Title IX rules a range of new protections for transgender students, including their rights to access school toilets that match. to their gender identity and to participate in school sports.

– Catherine Lhamon, head of civil rights for the department, said in a statement that the new April target for the release of the Title IX proposal “reflects the ministry’s commitment to work as quickly as possible” on policies.

– Advocacy groups have complained for months that the Biden administration is taking too long to reverse Trump-era Title IX policies. Fatima Goss Graves, chief executive officer of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement Friday that the group was “pleased that the Biden administration is taking action to restore Title IX protections against sexual harassment,” but added that “this rule shouldn’t always be on the books.”

BIDEN IS GOING TO SOUTH CAROLINA HBCU THIS WEEK: President Joe Biden will address graduates later this week at South Carolina State University, according to announcements made over the weekend by the historically black university and the White House.

– Rep. Jim Clyburn (DS.C.), Democrat No.3 in the House, was scheduled as a featured speaker at the school, his alma mater. But he invited Biden to give the opening speech instead, according to the university.

– Clyburn tweeted that he was planning to take the first step with the class of 2021 because he had not had the opportunity to do so in 1961 when he graduated. SC State said at the time, the university did not hold graduation ceremonies in December, so Clyburn received his diploma by mail.

HE WAS HIRED TO REPAIR SCHOOLS IN CALIFORNIA – WHILE LEADING A BUSINESS IN PHILADELPHIA: A senior California school official lives in Philadelphia and works there separately, over 2,500 miles from the schools he advises as one of the highest paid public servants in the state Department of Education, according to records and interviews, reports Mackenzie Mays of POLITICO.

– Becky Pringle, Country’s Leading Black Union Leader, Pushes National Education Association To Take Social Justice Role: The New York Times.

– Federal Relief Money Boosted Community Colleges, But Now It’s Going: The Hechinger Report.

– Texas schools started this year with record coronavirus cases, but weekly totals have now declined: The Texas Tribune.

–Oregon Health & Science University President Apologizes After Former AG Eric Holder Cabinet Discovered School Is Not Properly Investigating Malpractice: The Oregonian.


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