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Washington Update

White House Releases FY2020 Budget Request
On Monday, the White House released its FY2020 budget request, titled A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taxpayers First. APLU released a statement expressing deep concern and opposition to proposed cuts that would reduce or eliminate critical research and higher education accounts. APLU continues to update our analysis as more information is released.

United for Medical Research Budget Caps Letter
United for Medical Research (UMR), of which APLU is a member, sent letters to House and Senate leadership urging them to raise the non-defense discretionary budget caps for FY2020 and FY2021. UMR joins a large number of associations and coalitions in the higher education community, including APLU and AAU, who are advocating to raise spending caps set by the Budget Control Act.

DOL Releases “Overtime Rule” NPRM
The Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule to update the Fair Labor Standards Act “white collar” exemption to overtime requirements. The 60-day comment period will begin when the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. DOL released both an unpublished Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and supplemental resources on the proposed rule.

The proposed rule would increase the minimum salary, which has not been changed since 2004, for exempt employees to $35,308 per year from $23,660. The rule would also raise the salary level for the Highly Compensated Exemption to $147,414 from $100,000. The rule would not change the “duties test” nor include an annual, automatic inflationary increase. Nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments could satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary level. DOL also seeks feedback on whether DOL should propose updates to salary levels through rulemaking every four years.

APLU Participates in White House Roundtable on International Students
Last Friday, APLU President Peter McPherson participated in a White House roundtable on international student visa policy along with leaders from business, partner higher education associations, and individual universities.

Government attendees included senior advisors to the President and representatives from the Domestic Policy Council, as well as agency representatives from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Labor, Education and the National Science Foundation. Inside Higher Ed and Latitude(s) have reported on the event.

Federal Reports Released on Chinese Funded Programs at U.S. Universities
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report about Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes on U.S. university campuses entitled, China: Agreements Establishing Confucius Institutes at U.S. Universities Are Similar, but Institute Operations Vary.

The Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations also released its anticipated report on China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System, which was featured in a subcommittee hearing. The hearing underscored the need for updated guidance relative to foreign gift reporting requirements. APLU and the other five major presidential higher education associations submitted a letter last month to the Department of Education seeking clear guidance on Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.

Education and Labor Committee Majority Releases Report on the Value of College Degrees
The Education and Labor Committee Majority released a report last Friday entitled Don’t Stop Believin’ (in the value of a college degree). The report covers the return on investment to the individual and society of higher education while expressing concern for increases in the cost of college. The Committee also shared principles for the Higher Education Act reauthorization.

The report is a rebuttal to the report released by the Department of Education last year which claims that the return on investment of a four-year degree has been declining for decades.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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