PROSPER Act Developments
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) has called a Republican caucus “member meeting” for today to discuss the PROSPER Act, H.R. 4508, the House Higher Education Act reauthorization bill. House Republican leadership has reportedly set a target date of June 18th for House Education & Workforce Chairwoman, Virginia Foxx (R-NC), to secure the needed votes to pass the PROSPER Act on the House floor. If the Chairwoman can demonstrate sufficient support, the bill may be scheduled for a floor vote during the third or fourth week in June.
This week, APLU President Peter McPherson and American Association of State Colleges and Universities President Mildred García penned a joint op-ed in The Hill, detailing the problems the legislation would create for students and families. APLU’s statement and analysis of the legislation are available here.
Farm Bill Loses Vote in House
The House voted down H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill”), by a vote of 198-213 last Friday. Democrats were not supportive of the bill because of changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Republicans splintered their votes over unrelated immigration legislation. Freedom Caucus members tried to secure a commitment from House leadership for a vote on an immigration bill sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in exchange for their support of the Farm Bill. In the end, the conservative members were not satisfied with leadership’s assurances and voted against the bill. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) also voted against the bill, a tactical move that will allow him to bring the bill back to the House floor for another vote.
Higher Ed Associations Submit Comments on Common Rule Delay
APLU, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Council on Governmental Relations submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the agency’s request for comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the revised Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, widely known as the revised Common Rule. The associations expressed support for the proposal to delay the general compliance date of the revised Common Rule until January 21, 2019, and the proposal to allow the voluntary adoption of three “burden reducing” provisions in the 2018 requirements during the six-month delay period.
Higher Ed Associations Comment on Social Media History Proposed Rule
APLU along with AAU, the American Council on Education (ACE), and 10 other higher education associations sent a comment letter to the U.S. Department of State on its proposed rule to require the reporting of five years of social media identifying information such as usernames and handles. If the rule takes effect, all visa applicants – including F and J student visas, H employment visas, as well as tourist and visitor visas – would be subject to the requirement.
Senate Votes to Overturn FCC’s Decision to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules
The Senate voted to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality rules by a vote of 52-47 via a Congressional Review Act resolution (S. J. Res. 52). The FCC repeal is scheduled to take effect on June 11. The House is not expected to take up the resolution and President Trump has indicated he will not support any effort to overturn the repeal.
Foreign Students and Practical Training Programs
New research on foreign students from the Pew Research Center shows that nearly 1.5 million foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities obtained work authorization to remain in the United States on OPT between 2004 and 2016.
The research draws on data Pew obtained from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report is particularly timely in light of ICE’s proposed rule change on practical training programs.
APLU is surveying member institutions to better understand how our universities engage with the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program, Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, and the 24-month extension for students specializing in the STEM fields (STEM OPT). AAU and ACE have also reached out to their members for this information. The associations are particularly interested in how the loss, or reduction in length, of OPT would impact the ability of institutions to recruit and educate international students.