News & Media

Washington Update: OSTP on Dual Use Research of Concern; Strategy for American Innovation; DoE Student Loan Default Rates

The Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a final rule on institutional oversight of dual use research of concern. In addition, APLU joined in responding to to OSTP on its proposed Strategy for American Innovation. Also, the Department of Education announced the three-year federal student loan cohort default rates.

OSTP Issues Policy for Institutional Oversight of Dual Use Research of Concern

On September 24, the federal government released the United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Research of Concern. The final rule is similar to the draft rule published in February 2013. These rules aim to articulate the procedures necessary to ensure dual use research of concern (DURC) is identified at the institutional level and the necessary risk mitigation measures are put in place.

DURC is defined to mean “life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.”

In March 2012, the federal government issued its Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. The issuance identified a DURC policy for 15 agents and toxins and seven categories of experiments and formalized a process for regular review of federally funded or conducted research by the Federal agencies. The final rule is intended to operate in tandem with the March 2012 policy and recognizes that institutional oversight of DURC is a critical component of the overall oversight system.

This policy will go into place September 24, 2015. At that time, institutions seeking funding for DURC will need to certify that they are in compliance with the final rule.

Further information regarding this rule can be found here. NIH Director Francis Collins issued a statement on the policy, which can be read here.

APLU Joins Five Other Associations in Response to OSTP Request for Information on the Administration’s Strategy for American Innovation

On July 29, 2014, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Economic Council (NEC) published in the Federal Register a request for information (RFI) for input to update the Strategy for American Innovation. The comments were due September 23.

APLU along with the Association of American Universities (AAU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) jointly submitted comments in response to the RFI.

In April 2011, APLU submitted joint comments with the above associations when the Administration updated the 2009 Strategy for American Innovation. To read a copy of our 2011 submission, click here.

Department of Education Announces Three-Year Federal Student Loan Cohort Default Rates

The Department of Education (ED) announced that the three-year federal student loan cohort default rate declined from 14.7 percent in Fiscal Year 2010 to 13.7 percent for students who began repayment in Fiscal Year 2011. The default rates for students at public institutions was overall 12.9 percent (8.9 percent at four-year institutions) as compared to 7.2 percent for students at private, nonprofit institutions, and 19.1 percent at for-profit institutions.

Under the new rates, 21 institutions, mostly for-profit schools of beauty and cosmetology, now face the potential loss of Title IV eligibility. The number of institutions facing ED sanctions would have been higher had the Department not recently changed their default rate calculation to exclude borrowers who defaulted on one loan but maintained repayment on other loans.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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