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Federal Relations

2017

OVERVIEW

On July 6, 2017, Attorney General Becerra and 17 attorneys general of other states filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education over the Department’s plan to delay implementation of “Borrower Defense Regulations.” These regulations were written by the Obama Administration in the wake of the closure of Corinthian Colleges in order to protect students from misleading and predatory practices by for profit higher education institutions. The lawsuit argues that the delay of the rules violates the Administrative Procedure Act and asks a federal court to order the administration to enforce the rules that were set to take effect on July 1, 2017.

July Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE, DISTRICTS AND FACULTY OPPOSE PRESIDENT’S FY ‘18 EDUCATION BUDGET ”Congress needs to carefully consider the impact these cuts would have on our students and on our economy. The budget proposal is a retreat from policies and programs that make community colleges more affordable for students and would also diminish the ability of our colleges to educate and train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We will join with our congressional delegation and partners in education to work for a budget that helps more students to earn college credentials and improve their lives and their communities.”

- Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, May 2017

Federal Advocacy (PDF)

2018 Proposed Cuts Infographic (PDF)

OVERVIEW

In March, the Trump Administration outlined spending priorities. There are no details on many of the changes proposed. The overall cuts to Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, and other agencies are intended to offset the large increases in funding to Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.

The Department of Education is targeted for a 14% cut ($9.2 billion). For higher education, the Administration provided a few details:

• $1.4 billion increase for public and private school choice programs.

• Federal work-study would be “significantly reduced.”

• The proposed budget includes nearly $200 million in cuts for federal programs that help disadvantaged students make it into and through college. Those include an  umbrella of eight outreach programs, called TRIO, that support the progress of low-income, first-generation, and disabled students, starting in middle school.

• The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which is reserved for college students with the greatest need for financial aid, would be eliminated.

• No cut to Pell Grants, however the budget proposal would eliminate $3.9 billion in carryover Pell funding. The Pell Grant program runs a surplus of more than $10  billion due to a change in the eligibility requirements for students. President Trump’s proposal would reallocate the surplus to other parts of the government.

Overall, this budget is a request to Congress, subject to the input and votes of its members. However, it is an indication of the priorities of the Trump Administration.

May Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

In March, the Trump Administration laid out their spending priorities going forward. It does not go into depth on many of the changes proposed. The overall cuts to Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and other agencies are intended to offset the large increases in funding to Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.

April Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

California has the largest "free community college" program in the nation; more than 70% of our full-time students receive free tuition under the Board of Governors Fee Waiver program. Yet, the state’s community college students face substantial financial barriers to completion. Over a third of our students experience housing insecurity and 12 percent experience food scarcity. Inadequate financial aid forces students to take fewer classes or work longer hours; these choices make them less likely to be academically successful. Pell Grants are essential to expanding access and enhancing college completion for low-income community college students. In 2014-15, Pell Grants represented more than $1.75 billion in federal aid to approximately 502,550 California community college students.

March Update (PDF)

Since Consultation Council did not meet in February, there is no Federal Update.

OVERVIEW

With the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump just days away, there are a number of questions about the new administration’s higher education policies as well as the measures that Congress will introduce and send on to the President. Just before the 115th Congress convened at noon on January 6, 2017, several bills were introduced near the close of the 114th Congress session that were intended to continue President Obama’s policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). These measures did not move forward before the end of the session; however, it was just announced, that a bipartisan group of senators will introduce a measure to offer legal protection for undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children to address the potential changes if President Obama’s executive order is rescinded. Similar legislation was introduced in December and is again led by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Although language is not yet available, the legislation is expected to provide "provisional protected status" to DACA recipients and allow undocumented immigrants who are DACA-eligible to apply for the temporary protected status if they pay a fee and undergo a background check. As was the measure introduced in December, this legislation will be known as the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act, or BRIDGE Act, and would expire after three years. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are backing the Senate legislation.

January Update (PDF)

2016

OVERVIEW

The congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation moves at a much slower pace than the state legislative process. As a result, the status of congressional bills has not changed for months. Information on federal Bills of Interest will be provided in the next update should any of the measures move forward.

November Update 2016 (PDF)

Since there was no recent activity regarding Federal legislation there is not a Federal Update for October. 

OVERVIEW

The congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation moves at a much slower pace than the state legislative process. As a result, the status of congressional bills has not changed for months. Information on federal Bills of Interest will be provided in the next update should any of the measures move forward. The House recessed on July 14, 2016 and is set to return on September 6, and the Senate is scheduled to return on September 5, 2016. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Education has recently announced a pilot program on loan counseling and issued a proposed rule on distance education. Information from the Association of Community College Trustees as well as other sources is provided below.

September 2016 Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

We have reported in the past that the congressional process for policy legislation and passing a federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. Consequently, the status of federal legislation may not change for months. While there has been no movement on the measures in the Bills of Interest section shown below since late last year, on June 22, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved five higher education bills on a bipartisan basis. These measures are summarized in the next section. These bills will be sent to the House floor where they may be considered and passed by the end of June 2016. However, advocates in Washington, D.C., do not expect the Senate will take up similar legislation before the end of the year. Also, because Congress will take a long break over the summer, if Congress does not act on the workforce or other measures soon, it is unlikely that there will be key education policy changes this year. The House is set to adjourn on July 15 and will not return until September 6, and the Senate will be on recess from July 18 to September 5.

July 2016 Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

As we have reported in the past, the congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation, as well as the process to pass a federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. Consequently, the status of federal legislation may not change for months; in fact there has been no movement on the Bills of Interest shown below since late last year. Congress will also take a long break over the summer—the House is set to adjourn on July 15 and will not return until September 6, and the Senate will be on recess from July 18 to September 5—so it is unlikely that there will be key education policy changes in the coming months.

June Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

As we have reported in the past, the congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation as well as the process to pass a federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. As a result, the status of bills may not change for months. While Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced last year that the Higher Education Act (HEA) would be reauthorized by the end of 2015, the HEA has yet to be reauthorized. The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training established four key principles to guide the reauthorization process, which it developed in response to feedback from students, institutions, innovators, administrators, and researchers. Last year, Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) expressed her confidence that the following four pillars will “translate into meaningful federal reforms that reflect the evolving needs of students and the workforce:” 1) empowering students and families to make informed decisions; 2) simplifying and improving student aid; 3) promoting innovation, access and completion; 4) ensuring strong accountability while limiting the federal role. Congress continues to examine the ways in which it can help strengthen America’s higher education system.

May 2016 Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

The congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation as well as the process to pass a federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. As a result, the status of bills may not change for months. While Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, announced last year that the Higher Education Act (HEA) would be reauthorized by the end of 2015, the HEA has yet to be reauthorized. The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training established four key principles to guide the reauthorization process, which it developed in response to feedback from students, institutions, innovators, administrators, and researchers. Last year, Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) expressed her confidence that the following four pillars will “translate into meaningful federal reforms that reflect the evolving needs of students and the workforce:” 1) empowering students and families to make informed decisions; 2) simplifying and improving student aid; 3) promoting innovation, access and completion; 4) ensuring strong accountability while limiting the federal role. Congress continues to examine the ways in which it can help strengthen America’s higher education system.

April 2016 Update (PDF)

OVERVIEW

Earlier this month members of the Board of Governors and the Chancellor's Office attended the Association for Community College Trustees (ACCT) 2016 National Legislative Summit (NLS) in Washington, D.C. This annual event brings together community college leaders – including governing board members, district chancellors and college presidents – from across the nation to advocate on key higher education policy issues. In addition to numerous conference activities and event, NLS participants meet with federal policy makers in the White House, government agencies and on Capitol Hill. This year, the Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office was represented by Board President Baum, Vice President Estolano, Board Member Malumed, Board President-emeritus Baca, Deputy Chancellor Skinner and Vice Chancellor Stewart. In addition, they were joined by leadership and staff from the Community College League of California (CCLC). Over the course of two days, the group met with eleven members of the California Congressional delegation, including Senators Feinstein and Boxer, staff to Minority Leader Pelosi and key members of the House Education & Workforce, Veterans Affairs and Armed Services committees. Their itinerary also included briefings for the House California Public Higher Education Caucus, as well as the NLS attendees from California and a breakfast forum with Congressman Mark Takano, who formerly served as a trustee on the Riverside Community College District governing board. This year’s advocacy issues focused on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Pell Grant program and support for community college student veterans. The NLS was also an opportunity to showcase our recently released State of the System report and highlight our many student success efforts, including improvements in transfer, institutional effectiveness and workforce and career technical education.

March 2016 Update (PDF)

Since there was no recent activity regarding Federal legislation there is not a Federal Update for February. 

OVERVIEW

The congressional committee hearing process for policy legislation and the federal budget moves at a much slower pace than the legislative process at the state level. As a result, the status of bills may not change for months. Disagreements and posturing during the federal budget process often result in “continuing resolutions” (CR) that maintain the prior fiscal year's funding levels, setting aside major changes proposed earlier in the year. On September 30, 2015, the last day of the federal fiscal year, the federal government avoided a shutdown by passing a CR that only funded the government through December 11, 2015. On October 26, 2015, outgoing House Speaker John Boehner announced he had reached an agreement—privately negotiated with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid—submitting a tentative budget agreement. The budget agreement increased federal spending by $80 billion over two years and would be divided equally between defense and domestic programs. The federal government passed another CR that extended the December 11, 2015 deadline. The House and Senate subsequently adopted an Omnibus Appropriations Act, which President Obama signed on December 18, 2015. The $1.1 trillion funding bill will keep the government running until September 30, 2016.

January 2016 Update (PDF)