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SA Weekly: July 15

Civic Engagement Policy and Advocacy Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement
July 15, 2019 Maya Ward-Fineman NASPA

Welcome to SA Weekly, your destination for higher ed news, NASPA research and policy, constituent blogs, and more.

Accreditation Risk From Alaska Cuts “The University of Alaska's accreditor warns that unprecedented funding cuts could threaten the system's status.”

Deep Cuts in Puerto Rico “Alaska isn't the only place facing deep cuts to public funding. The University of Puerto Rico's annual appropriation has fallen by $333 million over three years.”

Trump Administration's Take on Transparency and Deregulation “Education Department official describes the administration's philosophy on accountability in higher education and agrees with fellow panelists on states' overreliance on federal funding.”

More Latinx Students, Stagnant Latinx Presidents “Despite increasing growth of the Latinx student demographic, the number of Latinx presidents has stayed roughly the same for decades -- something many administrators hope can be addressed.”

Removing the Barriers “A University of Maryland student has drafted a report showing how the state's flagship institution isn't accessible for students with physical disabilities.”

Making the FAFSA Mandatory “Texas will become the second state to require high school seniors to submit an application for federal student aid, a step that higher ed researchers say is linked to college enrollment.”

Policy Update

College Promise Programs and Lower-income Students by Teri Lyn Hinds, Director of Policy Research & Advocacy

Federal Updates

Senate Confirms Robert King for Key Postsecondary Job “The Senate confirmed Robert King Thursday as the assistant secretary for postsecondary education nearly eight months after his nomination was approved through a committee vote. King, who hadn't worked at the federal level before his nomination by President Trump last year, was previously the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.”

Trump Drops Bid to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census “President Trump said Thursday he is dropping his administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a reversal that comes days after he demanded his team push forward after the Supreme Court blocked the move. Trump said that he would instead issue an executive order requiring federal agencies to provide the Commerce Department information on citizens and noncitizens in the United States, a process he said would provide a more accurate count.”

Congresswoman Hayes, Senator Murphy introduce Groundbreaking Legislation to Combat College Hunger

Representative Jahana Hayes and Senator Chris Murphy, July 11, 2019

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-5), a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, introduced the Closing the College Hunger Gap Act with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). This bill would help collect data on food and housing insecurity on college campuses and connect eligible students with resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to combat food insecurity. 

Representatives send letter to Secretary DeVos highlighting concerns with proposed FWS pilot program

Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Joseph D. Morelle, July 2, 2019

The Representatives expressed concern that the proposed pilot program to allow Federal Work Study funds to be distributed to private employers and requested the Secretary’s response to 11 questions regarding the pilot program by July 16, 2019. 

State Updates

Hyland, et. al., v. Navient Corporation and Navient Solutions, No 18cv9031

US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Opinion and Order filed July 8, 2019

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken a stance against state-level consumer protection laws to protect students against fraudulent activity by loan servicers. This decision reinforces a decision reached by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (Nelson v. Great Lakes Educational Services, Inc., No. 18-1531) that finds that federal law cannot prevent borrowers from filing a lawsuit against a lender under state consumer protection laws. While the opinion dismisses most of the actions in this class action suit, it allowed the action alleging that New York state laws to continue under the opinion that federal law does not preempt state law. 

Regulatory Updates

Department of Homeland Security Public Charge Final Rule Under Review by White House

The Department of Homeland Security has submitted their final “public charge” rule to the White House for review, signaling that it may soon be published. The rule was proposed in October 2018 and opened for a 60-day public comment period. The proposed rule would block immigrants from becoming lawful permanent residents if they receive certain government benefits or are deemed likely to do so in the future. In the past, the benefits were largely limited to cash-assistance, but the proposed rule expands the type of benefits significantly.  The preamble to the final rule will address substantive comments received as well as explain any changes made to the final rule based on comments.

Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments

Around NASPA

Staying Sustainable in the Summer by Vigor Lam, Sustainability Knowledge Community