November 6, 2013—Congress and government agencies are getting back to business following last month’s two-week government shutdown. APLU is urging leaders to end sequestration cuts and come to a budget agreement before new deadlines in early 2014 threaten another financial stalemate. College affordability, new leadership for higher education at the Department of Education, funding for the National Endowment of Humanities, and more headline developments in Washington.
APLU and AAU Presidents Peter McPherson and Hunter Rawlings sent a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and copied to the FY2014 budget conference members, urging conferees “to reach an agreement that promotes economic growth and helps close the nation’s innovation deficit by eliminating sequestration and placing a high priority on research and higher education investments.”
Additionally, APLU joined several higher education associations, led by the American Council on Education (ACE), in sending a letter to the budget conference, urging the conferees work to eliminate the budget sequester for FY2014 and place a priority on investments of research, student aid, and workforce development. Also, the Student Aid Alliance, of which APLU is a member, sent a letter to the Budget Conference Chairs, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) highlighting the need to support federal student aid programs in the FY2014 budget conference. The letter also and urges Congress repeal the budget sequester.
The Department of Education released new details about its plan to engage stakeholders and gather public input about the Obama administration’s proposals to make college more affordable. In a Federal Register notice, the Department announced it will host four public forums across the country. These forums will coincide with the Department’s upcoming Request for Information (RFI) to ask experts to weigh in on methods for creating a college ratings system. The four forums will take place:
Details about each public forum will provided later, and posted online at www.ed.gov/college-affordability/. The forums are free and open to the public. To register, please send an e-mail at least three days prior to the event to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Open Forum Registration.”
President Obama officially announced his intent to nominate Ted Mitchell as Under Secretary at the Department of Education, the position currently held by Martha Kanter. Mitchell is currently the CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a position he has held since 2005. In addition, Mitchell served as President of the NewSchools Venture Fund from 2005 to 2013. Prior to this, Mitchell served as President of Occidental College from 1999 to 2005. He previously worked at the University of California at Los Angeles, serving as Vice Chancellor for External Affairs from 1997 to 1998, Vice Chancellor for Academic Planning and Budget from 1996 to 1997, and Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies from 1992 to 1998. He was Deputy to the President and to the Provost of Stanford University from 1991 to 1992. Mitchell was Chair of the Department of Education at Dartmouth College from 1989 to 1991. He received a B.A. in history and economics, an M.A. in history, and a Ph.D. in social sciences in education from Stanford University.
The National Humanities Alliance issued an action alert urging humanities advocates to reach out to Congress in support of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). There is concern that as Congress is beginning new budget negotiations, the drastic cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities is on the table. In the House FY2014 budget resolution, the House Budget Committee called for the complete elimination of funding for the NEH while the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee that oversees the NEH’s appropriation approved a 49 percent cut to the agency’s budget for FY2014. Such a significant cut would end NEH programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, and research.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the bipartisan Innovation Act, designed to curb patent litigation initiated by “patent trolls.” APLU is working with others in the higher ed community to develop a strategy for responding to this legislation before the bill goes to markup. Please address questions or comments to Jim Woodell at email@example.com.
The Science Coalition released a new report, Sparking Economic Growth 2.0, highlighting 100 companies that trace their roots to federally funded university research and their role in bringing transformational innovations to market, creating new jobs and contributing to economic growth. An accompanying onlinedatabase provides free access to company profiles and allows sorting companies by federal funding agency, university affiliation, type of innovation and other criteria.
APLU joins American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in co-sponsorship of the Higher Education Government Relations Conference, which is aimed at state and community relations issues. This year’s 20th annual conference will be held in San Francisco, California from December 11 to 13, 2013 and will focus on Higher Education Forging a State Agenda. Details on the conference and registration can be found here.