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Washington Update - Funding and Other News

070717 Washington Update – Funding and Other News 

Preserving funding for some programs will be difficult given the Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget request. It called for increases in defense spending with reductions in domestic discretionary spending. The administration proposed a $7.9 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Education, including $3.9 billion from the current Pell Grant program surplus. A cut to the surplus could hasten the program’s return to funding shortfalls and could inhibit program improvements, such as extending eligibility to include students in short-term workforce programs. The administration’s proposed budget also eliminated funding for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and cut funding in half for the Federal Work-Study program. It reduced TRIO and GEAR UP funding, cut funding for Perkins Career and Technical Education and Adult Education State Grants, and eliminated all funding for the Strengthening Institutions (Title III-A) and Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) programs. The budget proposal also included a 21% cut in funding for the Department of Labor with significant cuts to workforce training programs. AACC continues to believe that targeted federal investments in student aid and institutional programs are essential. AACC and ACCT sent a joint letter to the House Appropriations Committee and subcommittee leadership requesting their continued support for community college priority programs. 

In addition to the budget and appropriations process, some legislation is advancing through Congress. The House recently approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2353. The legislation, introduced last month by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), is similar to the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) reauthorization bill overwhelmingly passed by the House last year. The Senate has yet to act on the legislation. 

The Trump administration has issued numerous executive orders, including one on apprenticeships last month. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the DACA program will remain in effect. And, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued guidance on the year-round Pell Grant and published notices in the Federal Register announcing the postponement of some regulatory deadlines and soliciting public comments on other regulations.  In addition to delaying the effective date for some gainful employment requirements, ED announced that it intends to develop new regulations through the negotiated rulemaking process for borrower defense to repayment of federal student loans.    

ED also announced two public hearings will be convened to discuss the rulemaking agenda for two negotiated rulemaking committees that will be charged with developing proposed regulations to revise the gainful employment regulations and the borrower defense to repayment rules. And, ED is actively seeking input on other regulatory issues. A notice was published on June 22 in the Federal Register requesting public comments on “regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” The department wants this input to inform its Regulatory Reform Task Force’s evaluation of current regulations. A good report that summarizes many of the higher education regulatory issues was released by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in 2015. [] AACC will be submitting formal comments prior to the August 21 deadline and will make our analysis available for others to use as guidance.

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