Short-Term Spending Bill Passes, Senator Alexander Introduces HEA Bill

October 2nd, 2019

This past week, a short-term spending bill was finalized to extend government funding through November 21, 2019, and Senator Lamar Alexander introduced new Higher Education Act (HEA) legislation. Read below to learn more about the appropriations process, HEA proposal, new data on Career Technical Education (CTE) and innovation grants from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Short-Term Spending Bill Extends Funding Into November 

On September 27, President Donald Trump signed a short-term spending bill, H.R. 4378, to extend current funding levels-with some exceptions- through November 21, 2019. Since Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) funding was due to expire on September 30, 2019, this continuing resolution postpones a government shutdown and gives appropriators additional time to finalize the long-term FY20 funding bill. The day before the White House signed the continuing resolution, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 82-15, following the House passing of the bill earlier in the month. 

Now, appropriators are working on the full FY20 appropriations bills. So far, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) proposed FY20 funding bill would allocate under $1.3 billion to CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants- an amount that is level with the FY19 allocation. The House Labor-HHS-Education FY20 funding bill passed  in June proposed an increase of $47 million for Perkins Basic State Grants. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Senator Lamar Alexander Introduces Higher Education Act Legislation

On September 26, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a package of eight bipartisan bills entitled the Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 2557). This package includes many of Senator Alexander’s long-held priorities for the Higher Education Act (HEA), including:

    • Permanently extending funding for many Minority Serving Institutions, which expired at the end of September;
    • Simplifying and streamlining FAFSA submissions; 
    • Restoring Pell Grant eligibility for those incarcerated; and
    • Expanding Pell Grants to go to short-term non-degree programs. This is similar to the JOBS Act (S. 239 / H.R. 827) – which Advance CTE supports. However, there are some differences in Senator Alexander’s proposal, such as eliminating the limit to public institutions.   

The proposed package would require that students who repay their student loans under income-driven repayment plans pay a full 10% of their discretionary income.

HELP Committee Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has expressed concern with Alexander taking a piecemeal approach, and has advocated for a full HEA reauthorization. Many of Murray’s priorities, including comprehensive student loan reform and Title IX issues dealing with campus sexual assault are not included in Alexander’s bill.

New Interactive Data Story on Career Technical Education in High School

The U.S. Department of Education released a new interactive Career Technical Education (CTE) data story, “Bridging the Skills Gap: Career and Technical Education in High School.” Along with the release of the report, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education Scott Stump shared that “CTE opens pathways to success for students whether they choose to pursue postsecondary education or enter the workforce after high school. These data show that students who concentrate in a high-demand CTE field, such as STEM or health sciences, go on to reap benefits from their studies long after graduation.”

The data in this new report examines CTE participation in high schools and student outcomes. Some of the data findings include: 

  • 77% of high school students earn at least one CTE credit;
  • About 75% of public school districts that have CTE programs offer CTE courses that grant dual credit; 
  • High school students who are CTE concentrators have a higher graduate rate than non-CTE concentrators; and
  • High school students who are CTE concentrators participate in postsecondary education within eight years of high school graduation at a higher rate than non-CTE concentrators. 

Check out the full report here for additional information on high school CTE delivery, concentrations and outcomes. 

New Education Innovation and Research Grantees Announced

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced new Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program grantees across 41 school districts, state education agencies and non-profit organizations. A total of $123 million in new grant awards will go to creating or expanding innovative practices that are supported by evidence to increase academic achievement for high-need students. Many of the grantees include rural areas and focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

FY2020 Appropriations Work, New CTE Bill Introduced

September 26th, 2019

News this Week

As we get closer to the end of September, when government funding will expire, Congress has been continuing to work on the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills. In the past week, the importance of CTE was recognized with the House introduction of the Strengthen CTE in Higher Education Act. The U.S. Department of Education also shared a guide on supporting access to dual enrollment for students with disabilities and embarked on its 2019 Back-to-School Tour.  Read below to learn more about each of these updates. 

Senate and House Continues Work on Appropriations Bills

On September 18, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education), Roy Blunt (R-MO), released the text of the Subcommittee’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations bill. 

The bill allocated $71.4 billion for the Department of Education and $12.1 billion to the Department of Labor. The FY20 bill allocates $1.3 billion to CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants- an amount that is level with the FY19 funding level. 

The full Labor-HHS-Education FY20 bill can be found here and a summary of the bill can be found here. A markup of the Labor-HHS-Education funding bill has not yet been rescheduled after it was cancelled earlier this month

On September 19, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution funding bill that would continue federal funding through November 21- allowing additional time for appropriators to finalize the long-term FY20 bill. A Senate vote for this measure has not been scheduled. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available. 

House Introduces The Strengthen CTE in Higher Education Act 

Last week, Representatives Lori Trahan (D-MA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Abby Finkenaur (D-IA) introduced The Strengthen CTE in Higher Education Act (H.R. 4371). This bill would authorize nearly $200 million in funding to strengthen program alignment for postsecondary Perkins Career Technical Education (CTE) programs through collaboration between postsecondary CTE and partners in education and the workforce. 

The full bill can be found here. A press release, including a quote from Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green, can be found here

Department of Education Shares Guidance on Dual Enrollment for Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education released a guide  last week on “Increasing Postsecondary Opportunities and Success for Students and Youth with Disabilities.” The guide shares information about how federal funds under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) can be used by states and districts to support access to higher education programs, such as dual enrollment, for students with disabilities.

In a press release accompanying the guide, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated the following:

 “All students deserve the freedom to pursue an education that is challenging and allows them to reach their full potential. I hope this information will make clear what the law says and serve as a resource to families, Individualized Education Program (IEP) Teams and State VR agencies as they continue to collaborate and find ways to increase postsecondary opportunities – and success – for students and youth with disabilities.”

Department of Education Participates in Annual Back-to-School Tour

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, carried out her annual Back-to-School Tour to visit schools that are rethinking education. Secretary DeVos spent time at elementary and secondary schools, as well as postsecondary institutions across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump also participated in the 2019 Back-to-School Tour. Assistant Secretary Stump visited:

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

FY2020 Appropriations Process, Secretary DeVos Visits CTE Programs in Alaska

September 12th, 2019

News this Week

Congress returned this week after a six-week recess, and continued with the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process. Read below to learn more about the appropriations outlook, Secretary DeVos’s recent visit to Career Technical Education programs in Alaska and a new article about collaboration between education and foster care services. 

FY2020 Appropriations Process Continues 

Congress returned from the six-week summer recess this week with the intention of moving forward with the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process following the budget deal that was reached right before break. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) was scheduled to markup their FY20 appropriations bill on Tuesday, September 10. However, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) postponed this markup shortly before it was scheduled to begin due to partisan disagreements about the bill. The disagreements mainly revolved around the funding level, as well as policy amendments attached to the bill. 

Earlier today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted on the spending levels for each of the 12 appropriations bills, passing on party lines. Although the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill has not been shared with the public, the allocation for Labor-HHS-Education is $187.7 billion- just about a 1% increase over FY19 funding. As a reminder, the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that was passed earlier this summer included about a 6% increase over FY19 funding.  

Federal funding runs out on September 30, and appropriators are now working to come to an agreement before that time. One possible outcome is that Congress will pass a short-term funding bill, or a continuing resolution, to extend current funding levels while continuing to work on the full long-term funding bill. 

Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available. 

Secretary DeVos Visits Career Technical Education Programs in Alaska 

Recently, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos traveled to Alaska to visit two Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and learn more about existing CTE opportunities in the state. Secretary DeVos first observed students at King Tech High School in Anchorage. King Tech High School offers CTE programs in 25 occupations and provides learners with the skills to be successful in both college and a career. Next, Secretary DeVos visited the Northwestern Alaska Career & Technical Center (NACTEC), located on the Nome-Beltz Jr./Sr. High School campus. NACTEC classes are open to learners across the region.

New Article Shares Recommendations for Supporting Learners in Foster Care

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) pushes local education agencies to collaborate with foster care services and coordinate supports for students. Perkins V also focuses on youth in foster care by adding them to the list of special populations and requiring states to review and report disaggregated performance data. In many states, these requirements will involve new processes and relationships, but they are ultimately designed to support the success of students in foster care. In this article, advocates in California lay out a series of recommendations and opportunities to foster stronger collaboration between education and foster care services at both the state and local level. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Congress Reaches Budget Deal, Congressional Briefings on JOBS Act

August 1st, 2019

This week, the Senate passed a $2.7 trillion budget agreement. Read below to learn more about the budget deal, as well as recent briefings on Career Technical Education (CTE) and cybersecurity, agriculture and short-term job-training programs. 

Congress Reaches Budget Deal

Today, the Senate passed a $2.7 trillion budget agreement in a 67-28 vote. Through this agreement, the non-defense discretionary funding cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 will increase by $27 billion and defense spending will increase by $22 billion. Each of those levels will go up by $2.5 billion in FY21. 

This follows last week’s budgetary movement, when Congressional and Administration leaders worked together on an agreement to raise spending levels for FY20 and FY21, as well as suspend the debt ceiling. The House then passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877), a budget deal that raises the caps on defense and non-defense discretionary funding for FY20 and FY21 and  suspends the debt limit through July 31, 2021. 

Now, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) will determine the division of funds between the 12 government funding bills, and the Committee will prepare each of the 12 funding bills to be voted on following August recess before government funding runs out on September 30.

House and Senate Panels Discuss Short-Term Programs and JOBS Act

This week, both the House and Senate held briefings on short-term job-focused college programs. The panel, sponsored by Opportunity America, along with Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), discussed the ways that high-quality short-term programs open up new opportunities for career growth. The group explained that short-term credentialing programs can prepare individuals for in-demand and high-wage careers, improving career opportunities for the student and filling employer vacancies. A former Virginia Community College System student who took advantage of such program explained that, as a result, he has “a career instead of a job.” 

The panel also discussed the benefits of expanding Pell Grant eligibility to short-term job training programs, as outlined in the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 839 and H.R. 3497). This legislation would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short-term postsecondary programs. Eligible short-term programs would have to be at least 150 clock hours over at least eight weeks, meet local or regional labor market needs, articulate to institutional credit and provide students with a recognized postsecondary license, certification or credential.

Senate CTE Caucus Holds Briefings on Cybersecurity and Agriculture

The Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) and Cybersecurity Caucuses held a joint briefing last week on “Building a Culture of Security: Integrating Cyber into Career and Technical Education.” The event featured a panel of cybersecurity and CTE experts speaking about the importance of integrating cybersecurity education into CTE programs, creating jobs in the cybersecurity field and anticipating future security threats to the country. When asked about public misconceptions regarding the skills needed to enter the field, panelists noted that there are a variety of cybersecurity career opportunities outside of the traditional computer science pathway.

The Senate CTE Caucus also held a briefing last week on “Agricultural Education and the National FFA Organization.” Current and past National Future Farmers of America (FFA) students and educators spoke about the impact of agricultural education on their understanding of food and health. The current students also shared that their CTE and FFA experiences gave them optimism about finding the job of their choice in their area of interest.  Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Co-Chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, spoke about the important role of the agricultural industry, and encouraged today’s students to continue to follow their passions while in school. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Jade Richards, Policy Fellow

CEF Hill Day, House Hearing on Apprenticeship Models

July 19th, 2019

This week, Advance CTE joined the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) to advocate for an increased federal investment in education. Read below to learn more about CEF Hill Day, a hearing on apprenticeship models and  the new postsecondary post filled in the U.S. Department of Education.

CEF Visits 41 Congressional Offices to Advocate for Education Funding 

CEF, of which Advance CTE is on the Board of Directors, held its annual Hill Day on July 17. CEF members spanning the education continuum met with a collective 41 congressional offices of both parties in the House and the Senate. In these meetings CEF representatives advocated for an increase in education funding, which currently makes up less than 2 percent of the federal budget. Check out #CEFHillDay on Twitter to see some of the offices that were visited.

House Holds Hearing on International Apprenticeship Models

On July 16, the House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee held a hearing on “Scaling Up Apprenticeships: Building on the Success of International Apprenticeship Models.”

In their opening remarks, both Subcommittee Chair Susan Davis (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) discussed the need for innovative apprenticeship models that provide students with academic skills and work-based learning experience. 

Witnesses shared apprenticeship models in Australia, Germany and Switzerland, and included:

  • Tim Bradley, Minister Counsellor for Industry, Science and Education, Embassy of Australia;
  • Silvia Annen, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training; and  
  • Simon Marti, Ph.D., Head of Office, SwissCore.

Though the apprenticeship model for each country is different, all reiterated common themes for success, such as: employer engagement throughout the entire process; public-private partnerships; affordability of programs by  shared investment across partners; and high standards for quality. The group also agreed that the apprentices are not expected to remain in one life-long occupation, but should be able to find career success in different jobs and industries.

The opening statement from Chairwoman Davis and the testimony from each witness can be found here

Senate Confirms Higher Education Post

On July 11, the Senate confirmed Robert L. King as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. King’s nomination passed on a 56-37 vote. Previously, King was the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He has also served as president and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation and chancellor of the State University of New York system. 

The announcement and statement from the Department can be found here

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

New Survey on ESSA Title IV-A Funds, Perkins Implementation Begins

July 11th, 2019

On July 1, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) (which reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act) went into effect.  As such, each state’s Perkins V one-year transition plan went into effect. Read below to learn more about Perkins V implementation, new survey data on how schools are using ESSA Title IV-A funding, what the repeal of the gainful employment rule means and how afterschool programs can reduce equity gaps in Career Technical Education (CTE).

New Survey Illuminates How Schools are Using ESSA Funds

For the first time, policymakers have a glimpse at how schools are using their grant funding under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant, a program established in 2015 through Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). SSAE consolidated several existing categorical funding streams to provide local leaders more flexibility to support student learning. The program has three focus areas: well-rounded education (which includes CTE as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)), the effective use of technology, and safe and healthy schools. 

Thanks to a survey conducted by the School Superintendents Association, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA), and the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators (NAFEPA), we now have a glimpse at how schools are using these funds. According to their findings, 83 percent of survey respondents said that the investment in a well-rounded education is very or extremely important. 

Many schools and school districts are already using these funds to strengthen career readiness. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they are using SSAE funds to support STEM education, 16 percent for college and career counseling, and 15 percent for CTE. 

Perkins V Implementation Begins

The U.S. Department of Education announced that each state’s one-year transition plan had been approved to be implemented beginning July 1 when Perkins V went into effect. 

Secretary Betsy DeVos shared the following statement : 

“Our team is so encouraged by the way states have embraced the spirit of this new law and are rethinking career and technical education on behalf of their students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “The work is just beginning though. As states begin to think about their long-term career and technical education strategies, I would encourage them to continue to act boldly and break down the silos that exist between education and industry so that all students are prepared for the in-demand, high-paying jobs of today’s economy and tomorrow’s.”

Now, states are developing their full four-year Perkins V state plans that must be submitted to the Department in the spring of 2020. You can learn more about the Perkins V state plan process and content here

DeVos Repeals Gainful Employment Rule

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released its final regulation that rescinds the 2014 Gainful Employment Rule. The Obama-era rule stated that an educational program must prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation” to be eligible for funding from Title IV of the Higher Education Act, measured by data such as debt-to-earnings rates. This rule mainly impacts for-profit institutions, as well as non-credit programs at non-profit institutions. 

This repeal will be effective beginning July 1, 2020, but the administration announced that an early implementation option is available to institutions. If institutions are accepted for early implementation they will not have to submit 2018-2019 data. 

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education & Labor, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) opposed the gainful employment rule largely on the basis that it is biased against for-profit programs. Their committee counterparts took the opposing stance. House Committee on Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) statement opposing this repeal can be found here, and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray’s (D-WA) press release can be found here

Senate CTE Caucus Holds Event on Middle School Career Exploration

Earlier this summer, the Senate CTE Caucus held an event in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance that discussed how to make the most of middle school career exploration. In particular, the featured panel looked at the role of afterschool programs in showing students different career pathways. Check out this blog to learn more about topics covered during this event, and how afterschool programs can help address inequities in CTE. 

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Congress Introduces Legislation to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility, Secretary DeVos Speaks at Second Chance Pell Pilot

June 26th, 2019

This week, legislation was introduced in Congress to expand Pell Grant eligibility to short term programs and to high school students. Read below to learn more about these bills, Secretary DeVos’s remarks on Second Chance Pell, ESSA guidance, the 2019 Presidential CTE Scholars and apprenticeship updates from the Department of Labor. 

Congresses Introduces Legislation to Expand Pell Grant Eligibility 

Today the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, H.R. 3497, was introduced in the House by Representatives Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Steven Horsford (D-NV) and John Katko (R-NY). The JOBS Act was introduced in the Senate (S.839) this past March by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH). This legislation would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short-term postsecondary programs. Eligible short-term programs would have to be at least 150 clock hours over at least eight weeks, meet local or regional labor market needs, articulate to institutional credit and provide students with a recognized postsecondary license, certification or credential.

Additionally, over the course of this month the Go to High School, Go to College Act was proposed in both chambers of Congress. In the House, H.R. 3268 was introduced by Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY). A companion bill, S. 1888, was then introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA). The bill would authorize a new pilot program to evaluate the impact of expanding Pell Grant eligibility to students enrolled in dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment and early high school college programs. 250 institutions of higher education would be able to participate in the pilot, and students would be able to earn up to two semesters of college credit in high school before taking out of the 12 semester Pell limit. A summary of the bill can be found here

Secretary DeVos Delivers Remarks at Second Chance Pell Commencement

On June 25, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered commencement remarks to students in the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy, Oklahoma who completed Tulsa Community College’s Second Chance Pell pilot. In her speech, Secretary DeVos shared her intent for the Second Chance Pell experimental site pilot to become a permanent program. 

Advance CTE supports expanding Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated individuals, and lifting this ban is one of the organization’s priorities in reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  

Secretary DeVos Releases Final “Supplement not Supplant” Guidance

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released final non-regulatory guidance on the supplement not supplant requirement under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) following the 30-day public comment period. In a press release, Secretary DeVos stated that “This proposal does not change the legal obligations school districts have to make appropriate investments in education. It simply makes clear that a school district has significant flexibility in how it demonstrates compliance with the law.” To follow this new guidance, school districts need to demonstrate that a school’s Title I status was not considered when designating state and local resources to each school. 

2019 U.S. Presidential CTE Scholars Visit Washington, DC

Following the May announcement of the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars, the group was celebrated by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House this week during a ceremony in which each received a Presidential Scholar Medallion. In 2019, 161 students were selected out of the 5,200 candidates. Each year, 20 CTE students are selected from the pool of applicants, and this year’s Presidential CTE Scholars come from Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin. This program originated about 60 years ago, and expanded in 2015 to include exceptional CTE students. 

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Apprenticeship Program Updates

On June 24, the U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule on Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). This proposal outlines the requirements for entities such as trade, industry groups and employer groups, educational institutions, state and local governments, non-profit organizations and unions to be recognized as a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE). This is significant because the SRE would set the standards for high quality IRAPs and monitor for compliance. 

The Department also announced the Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant. Funding will be awarded to private-public apprenticeship partnerships in the information technology, advanced manufacturing and healthcare sectors. More than 85,000 apprentices will be the recipients of this grant through participation in newly-formed or expanded existing apprenticeship programs. Twenty-three academic institutions and the corresponding industry partner will be awarded this grant across Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

House Passes Appropriations Bill and Holds Hearing on Higher Education

June 21st, 2019

This week, the House of Representatives passed a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations bill. Read below to learn more about this appropriations update, the latest House hearing on higher education and the new accreditation handbook issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

FY2020 Appropriations Bill Passes in the House

On June 19, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20)  $1 trillion minibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2740, that included funding for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) on a 226-203 vote. Bundled into this minibus were the funding bills for Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water. The bill included close to $1.3 billion for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants- leading to a total increase of $47 million over the amount provided by Congress for FY19.

It is important to note that the final House bill is unlikely to pass into law. The Senate Appropriations Committee has still not yet released their FY20 funding bill for Labor-HHS-Ed. In addition, Congress has not yet agreed on the overall levels of spending for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, which must happen before final allocations for the FY20 appropriations bills can be determined. Congressional leadership and administration officials met this week to attempt and come to an agreement, however, talks are ongoing.

Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

House Holds Hearing on Pathways to a College Degree

The House Committee on Education & Labor held a hearing in preparation for Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization on “Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree.” In their opening remarks, both Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) both discussed how the traditional higher education landscape has changed, and innovative postsecondary practices must be implemented to meet the needs of each and every learner.

The panel of witnesses included:

  • Judith Marwick, Provost, William Rainey Harper College
  • Tomikia LeGrande, Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Charla Long, Executive Director, Competency-Based Network
  • Sameer Gadkaree, Senior Program Officer, Joyce Foundation

The witnesses spoke about a variety of topics, including competency-based education, dual enrollment, student support services, and the persistent equity gaps in higher education.

You can watch the full hearing here and read statements from Congressman Scott and the witnesses here.

U.S. Department of Education Issues New Accreditation Handbook

On June 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a revised Accreditation Handbook to be referred to by college accrediting agencies. The guidelines are not required, but are how accreditors will be evaluated by the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary DeVos shared the intention to streamline requirements with this handbook- this new version is 28 pages, compared to the last one that was issued in 2012 and was 88 pages. One of the new additions to the handbook is a site visit to the accreditor by a department staff member.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

House Appropriations Minibus and U.S. Department of Education Proposed Accreditation Regulations

June 14th, 2019

This week, the House of Representatives continued to move forward with the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process. Read below to learn more about this appropriations update, new proposed higher education regulations, a postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) fact sheet and how you can get involved in a campaign to double the federal investment in CTE.

House FY2020 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

On June 10, the House of Representatives moved ahead with the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations process by packaging it with the funding bills for the Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water, into what is called a “minibus” appropriations bill, H.R. 2740. Members of the House proposed a total of 189 amendments to the Labor-HHS-Ed portion of H.R. 2740, and the House Committee on Rules determined that 77 of these would  be considered. Representative Angie Craig (D-MN) proposed one of these amendments, an amendment that brings attention to the importance of CTE (however, it does not increase or decrease the money allocated to CTE State Grants). It is anticipated that the full House will vote on this appropriations package next week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet released their FY20 funding bill for Labor-HHS-Ed. In addition, Congress has not yet agreed on the overall levels of spending for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, which must happen before final allocations for the FY20 appropriations bills can be determined.Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

New College Accreditation Regulations from U.S. Department of Education

This week, the U.S. Department of Education published the proposed regulations to change the federal requirements for college accreditation to the federal register for a 30-day public review. These regulations are a result of the negotiated rulemaking process that concluded with  consensus in April. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a statement on the proposed regulations, which would reduce some of the regulatory requirements and simplify state authorization rules for distance education. Proposed updated rules for distance education and innovation, TEACH grants and faith-based institutions are expected to be published soon.

Advance CTE and Higher Learning Advocates Release New Factsheet

Advance CTE and Higher Learning Advocates released a new fact sheet on 101: Career Technical Education as part of the Higher Learning Advocates 101 resource series. This document provides an overview of what CTE is, postsecondary CTE outcomes and funding mechanisms for CTE programs. Check out the full fact sheet here.

Get Involved in the Campaign to Double the Investment in CTE

Looking to support efforts to increase the federal investment in CTE? Check out www.ISupportCTE.org, the website for the campaign to double the investment in CTE. In February, the CTE community launched this shared campaign and we invite everyone to join us in asking employers to sign onto a statement that supports doubling the investment in CTE. The signatures collected from employers will be a critical component to building visibility and support for CTE with members of Congress. Check out the share page to find a one-pager, PowerPoint, social media toolkit, and more that you can use and modify to spread the word about the campaign.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

NCES Report on the Condition of Education, Update on the Innovation and Modernization Grants

June 5th, 2019

This week brings new research on postsecondary education in the U.S., as well as an important update on the Innovation and Modernization Grants authorized under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Read below to learn about the newest reports on higher education, how to apply to be a peer reviewer for the Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grants, and the latest Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations resource.

NCES Released 2019 Report on the Condition of Education

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the annual Condition of Education report. The congressionally mandated report includes data and analysis for 48 indicators across four categories: 1) Preprimary, Elementary and Secondary Education; 2) Postsecondary Education; 3) Populating Characteristics and Economic Outcomes and 4) International Comparisons. This year’s report also included a “spotlight indicators” section that examines postsecondary education enrollment (e.g., broken down by socioeconomic status) and outcomes (e.g., completion and transfer rates for nontraditional undergraduate students).

Some of the findings in the report include:

  • Undergraduate enrollment increased by 27 percent between 2000 and 2017, and by 2028 undergraduate enrollment is expected to increase by 17.2 million students;
  • In the fall of 2017, 75 percent of undergraduate learners at four-year institutions were enrolled full-time and 37 percent of undergraduate learners at two-year institutions were enrolled full-time;
  • From 2000 to 2017 the median earnings of young adults was consistently higher for those with some type of postsecondary attainment than without; and
  • The number of postsecondary certificates and degrees awarded increased from the 2000-2001 and 2016-2017 school years.

Check out the full report, At a Glance document and Highlights document for more information.

New NSC Policy Brief Details  Postsecondary Consumer Reports

A new policy brief from the National Skills Coalition, Consumer Reports for Today’s Postsecondary Students, outlines the different consumer-facing postsecondary reports currently in play. The report explains the required performance measures and reports for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), as well as the measures included in the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. The report also discusses the value of reporting short-term post-graduation labor market outcomes.

Call for Peer Reviewers to Apply by Friday, 6/7 for Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Program

The Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) in the U.S. Department of Education put out a call for peer reviewers for the Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Program (Perkins I and M). The review process will take place across three weeks from the end of June to the middle of July. Reviewers should fit the following qualifications:

  • “Persons who are career and technical education (CTE) school leaders, teachers, district leaders, foundation officers, university faculty (who work with CTE), researchers, evaluators, professional development providers, or other individuals who have significant and current CTE experience and expertise at the secondary or postsecondary level.
  • Persons who are interested in identifying what is new or innovative nationally in CTE, and in determining how those innovations can be successfully implemented and evaluated.
  • Persons who are excellent writers, good critical thinkers, and committed to completing assigned tasks in a professional and timely manner.”

In order to apply, resumes (at most five pages) must be sent to PerkinsIandMgrants@ed.gov by this Friday, June 7.

Appropriations Fact Sheet Shared by the House Committee on Appropriations

As the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process continues, the House Committee on Appropriations released a one-page fact sheet on the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill outlining some of the funding increases the bill allocated to the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services and Education.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

 

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