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Washington Update

Introduction of the College Affordability Act
The Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Bobby Scott (D-VA), yesterday introduced comprehensive legislation, the College Affordability Act, to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The Committee’s website includes bill summaries and text.

The Committee may mark-up the legislation as soon as the week of October 28th. Following Chairman Scott’s announcement, Education and Labor Republicans released a statement criticizing the legislation.

APLU released a statement noting the bill needs to be strengthened and indicating examples of areas of support and concern. While the bill provides much-needed increases to the maximum Pell Grant, extends the expired Pell mandatory inflation adjustment, eliminates loan origination fees, includes the College Transparency Act, provides increased support for Minority-Serving Institutions and other important provisions, it would also add numerous federally-prescribed burdens to institutions, some of which may be of concern. As indicated in APLU’s statement, the association is also deeply troubled by the bill’s creation of incentives for states to invest in community colleges without incentives for state investment in four-year institutions. The bill would also change the funding formulas for campus-based aid programs (Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants and Federal Work Study) in ways that some APLU institutions may favor and others may find concerning. APLU has begun the task of thoroughly reviewing the more than 1100-page bill.

Higher Education Associations Submit Amicus Brief in DACA Case
With the U.S. Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments on November 12 in the consolidated case challenging the Trump administration’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, APLU and partner higher education associations filed an amicus brief in the case. APLU is proud to help sponsor the brief.

The brief details the economic and humanitarian case for supporting Dreamers as well as legal arguments regarding the judicial review of the administration’s decision to repeal DACA. The University of California (UC) System is a litigant in the case. UC filed its brief earlier this month.

DOD Undersecretary Addresses Academic Community on Science & Security
On October 10, Department of Defense (DOD) Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin released a letter addressed to the academic community describing threats to our collaborative research environment by foreign governments and outlining steps taken by DOD and other federal agencies to protect the integrity of the research enterprise. The letter also highlights ongoing activities by APLU and other higher education associations to mitigate threats, including through the Effective Policies and Practices document APLU and the Association of American Universities released this past April.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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