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Washington Update

Budget and Appropriations Update
The White House plans to release President Biden’s FY23 budget request next Monday, though Department of Defense justifications will not be released until mid-April. Upon release, APLU staff will produce a detailed analysis of its provisions.

Politico reported that Senator Collins (R-ME) has begun speaking with House Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) to begin the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations process conversations. While Senator Shelby (R-AL) remains the lead Republican on the Senate Appropriations committee, Senator Collins is in line to be the top Republican appropriator following his retirement after this session. “A goal we have in common is to try to move appropriations bills earlier and not have one huge omnibus,” said Collins.

Last week, President Biden signed into law the $1.5 trillion Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus measure, funding the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year. APLU developed a detailed analysis of funding levels and policy provisions of interest and compiled an updated Appropriations Priorities Chart to reflect the FY2022 omnibus numbers. APLU also released a statement on the spending portion of the bill. The APLU analysis also includes details on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which is attached to the omnibus.

While speaking on the Senate floor late last week, Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) referenced the House-passed COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521), companion legislation to the United States Innovation and Competition Act. Majority Leader Schumer indicated that “in order to go to conference, the Senate needs to amend the House-passed COMPETES bill with the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and send it back to the House.” On Monday, March 21 the Senate held a procedural cloture vote that passed 66 to 29 to move to the next steps process of going to conference to reconcile differences between the House and Senate measures.

Majority Leader Schumer hopes to begin a formal conference on the legislation before the Senate breaks in April. As a reminder APLU sent a letter to House and Senate Leadership in late February outlining priorities for the conference process.

NSF Establishes New Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships
NSF Director Sethuraman “Paunch” Panchanathan, shared that the National Science Foundation has established the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, (TIP). The new directorate will focus on accelerating “the development of new technologies and products that improve Americans’ way of life, grow the economy and create new jobs, and strengthen and sustain U.S. competitiveness.”

The announcement indicates NSF is repositioning much of its extensive portfolio of innovation and translation programs within the TIP Directorate and will also launch a set of new and tightly integrated initiatives to advance critical and emerging technologies. NSF has selected Dr. Erwin Gianchandani to be the inaugural Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, leading the TIP Directorate.

Department of Homeland Security Designates Ukraine and Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status
In March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Ukraine and Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. A country may be designated for TPS when conditions in the country meet at least one of three statutory requirements: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Both Ukraine’s and Afghanistan’s designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent nationals and residents from returning safely to their home nations. Ukrainians eligible for TPS must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022, and Afghans March 15, 2022. If granted TPS, individuals are permitted a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States. Under TPS, individuals are eligible for advance parole, allowing them to travel abroad and return to the United States, though this must be applied for separately. The periods of effect will begin upon the publication of a notice in the Federal Register.

ED Negotiated Rulemaking Update
Last week, the Department of Education institutional and programmatic eligibility negotiated rulemaking concluded, with negotiators reaching consensus on only two of the seven issues under consideration: regulations on ability to benefit and the 90/10 rule.

Negotiators were unable to reach consensus on the five other issues under consideration, including gainful employment regulations and regulations on certification procedures—the certification procedures issue paper contained many areas of concern for APLU members, including requirements for programs leading to certification and licensure, changes impacting state authorization reciprocity agreements, limitations on the use of transcript withholding, and more.

On issues where negotiators failed to reach consensus, ED will now move forward to finalize its preferred language and issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, likely in early summer 2022. APLU will continue to work with the higher education community to outline concerns for ED and work to improve proposed language both as ED is drafting its language and during a public comment period.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) III Grant Extensions
Last week, Department of Education hosted a webinar on Supplemental Support under the American Rescue Plan (SSARP) funding, sharing more details about eligibility and announcing a new deadline of April 8, 2022 for applications.

During the webinar, the Department of Education announced that any HEERF grants with a balance of over $1000 will be automatically extended to June 30, 2023. This includes grants for student emergency aid, institutional support, and HBCU, MSI, and SIP grants. ED has not posted a recording of the webinar online, but we understand an official announcement on the extension will be posted on the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

IUPUI Chancellor Emeritus Nasser Paydar Nominated for ED Assistant Secretary
The Biden administration announced its intention to nominate Dr. Nasser Paydar, Chancellor Emeritus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) for the role of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. APLU looks forward to supporting Dr. Paydar during the Senate confirmation process.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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