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

New Higher Education Experimental Sites Initiatives Announced and College Scorecard Expanded

May 22nd, 2019

The big policy news related to Career Technical Education (CTE) in Washington, D.C. this week focused on postsecondary education. The importance of CTE was also recognized with the announcement of the U.S. Presidential CTE Scholars and a Senate CTE Caucus event. Read below to learn more about each of these updates.

Secretary DeVos Announces Higher Education Experimental Sites

This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos shared details about new and updated higher education  Experimental Sites Initiatives. The Experimental Sites Initiatives is authorized under the Higher Education Act to pilot and evaluate proposed changes in policy. Through each initiative, the Education Department waives the statutory or regulatory federal student aid requirements relative to that initiative for a limited number of institutions in order to test the effectiveness of that new program.

First, Secretary DeVos announced a Federal Work-Study Experiment that would give selected colleges new flexibilities for students to participate in private-sector work-based learning opportunities, including:

  • No limits on the amount of Federal Work-Study funding that institutions can provide to private-sector employers;
  • Increased funding for Job Location and Development, which institutions can use to establish apprenticeship intermediaries; and
  • A reduced wage share for certain private-sector employers (e.g., small businesses) involved with institutions that are part of the experiment.

Second, Secretary DeVos announced the expansion of the Second Chance Pell program, which allows incarcerated individuals to access Pell Grants, by providing an opportunity for additional institutions to apply for inclusion. The Second Chance Pell pilot program was created under the Obama administration in 2015, and renewed in February 2019.

Expanded College Scorecard Released by Secretary DeVos

Secretary DeVos announced changes to the College Scorecard, an online interactive tool that allows users to gather information on the cost and certain outcomes (e.g., median earnings, median loan debt, and loan default and repayment rates) of higher education institutions. New information can now be accessed through the College Scorecard, such as:

  • Data on 2,100 non-degree granting institutions;
  • Graduation rates and transfer information for non-first-time and non-full-time students;
  • Up-to-date metrics from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; and
  • Preliminary student loan debt data by field of study.


2019 U.S. Presidential CTE Scholars Selected 

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the top high school seniors across the country through the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, including students who excel in CTE. A U.S. Presidential Scholar in CTE must be nominated by their Chief State School Officer. All candidates then complete an application and are evaluated for academic achievement, character, and leadership by a review committee of secondary and postsecondary education leaders. The review committee selects the semifinalists from this group, and the Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of independent individuals appointed by the President from across the country and spanning a range of professional backgrounds, asses the remaining pool to choose the finalists. The Commission selects only 60 CTE semifinalists and up to 20 CTE finalists.

The 2019 final U.S. Presidential CTE Scholars have been selected, and include students from Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin.

Senate CTE Caucus Event Shines a Light on CTE Data

On May 21, Advance CTE’s Senior Policy Associate, Austin Estes, participated in a Senate CTE Caucus briefing on CTE data. The panel event also featured Catherine Imperatore from the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Dr. Bryan Wilson from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (an initiative of the National Skills Coalition), and Dr. Nicassia Belton from the Maryland State Department of Education. The panelists discussed the value of data to promoting equity and quality in CTE, and the challenges states face in improving the accessibility, quality, and use of their data as they prepare to meet new reporting and accountability requirements in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Advance CTE shared findings from this year’s State of CTE report, highlighting the need for cross-sector data sharing and partnership across the states.

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

House Appropriations Committee Marks Up Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs

May 10th, 2019

This week the House Committee on Appropriations marked up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill for Fiscal Year 2020 and released a report on the bill. Read below to learn more about the markup, congressional intent for the bill and what the federal investment in education means for CTE programs.

House Appropriations Committee Marks Up Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs

On Wednesday, May 8, the House Committee on Appropriations marked up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins October 1, 2019. The bill moved ahead on a 30-23 party line vote.
The Committee accepted an amendment by Chairwoman of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. DeLauro (D-CT). The amendment adds $103 million to the overall spending amount for the bill. Advance CTE was pleased to see that this allowed for an additional $10 million to be allocated to 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 this markup is an early step in the process to determine the amount of funding Congress will allocate to the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor for FY20. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet released their FY20 funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In addition, Congress must agree on the overall levels of spending for defense and non-defense discretionary spending before determining final allocations for the FY20 appropriations bills and associated programs. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.
House Appropriations Committee Releases Report on Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs
On Tuesday, May 7, the House Committee on Appropriations released its report on the Labor-HHS-Education FY20 appropriations bill, which provides additional information about congressional intent. The report reinforces the role of Perkins Basic State Grants in creating opportunities for secondary, postsecondary and adult learners. The report also highlighted:
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act) and the opportunity to use them to support  engineering and computer science education;
  • National Programs and support from the Committee for continued collection and dissemination of research in CTE while keeping funding level;
  • Cybersecurity and the need to better equip those who work in industries that regularly face cybersecurity threats, and how CTE programs can incorporate cybersecurity into the curricula related to critical infrastructure sectors;
  • Second Chance Pell and the need for research on the impact of Second Chance Pell in order to expand opportunities for incarcerated individuals to be eligible for Pell grants;
  • Federal Work-Study programs and how they can include community-based organizations and community service opportunities, but many students don’t know that these exist. The report pushes institutions of higher education to better communicate with students so that their Federal-Work Study experience can be connected to their career pathways of interest; and
  • High School Youth Apprenticeship programs and a  requirement for the U.S. Department of Education to submit a publicly available report on how apprenticeship funds are leveraged, including how the Department will expand high school youth apprenticeship programs.

Committee for Education Funding Highlights New Skills for Youth in Kentucky

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) released its analysis of the President’s FY20 budget, and hosted a panel on Education Matters: Investing in America’s FutureAdvance CTE was excited to include Leslie Slaughter, Kentucky State Coordinator for the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) Initiative, as one of the panelists to speak about the impact NSFY has had in expanding CTE opportunities for learners, and what continued work is possible with an increased federal investment. Leslie shared that “despite the growing need, federal support for CTE has fallen short of what is necessary to prepare a 21st century workforce. With greater support for CTE, apprenticeships, and other workforce development programs, students across the country would have greater access to accelerated career pathways and work-based learning that is coordinated to the needs of their regional communities.”
The full panel included:
  • Dr. Rick Carter, Principal, Athens High School, Athens, AL
  • Dr. Herman Felton Jr., President, Wiley College, Marshall, TX
  • Kathryn Roots Lewis, Director of Libraries and Instructional Technology, Norman Public Schools, Norman, OK
  • Leslie Slaughter, State Coordinator, New Skills for Youth Initiative, Frankfort, KY
  • David Young, Superintendent, South Burlington School District, Burlington, VT
There was a collective call for an increased federal investment in education, and a push for every person to reach out to their representatives and express why this is so important.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs

May 1st, 2019

The big news this week related to Career Technical Education (CTE) was that the House Appropriations Committee released their draft spending bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on Monday, April 29. Read below to learn more about what bill includes, yesterday’s mark up, and how you can get involved in a campaign to double the federal investment in CTE.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs 

On Tuesday, April 30, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up their appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins October 1, 2019. The bill passed out of the subcommittee on a voice vote.

Overall, the bill included a six percent increase for federal education programs and a 10 percent increase for labor programs above the amounts Congress allocated in Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). The bill proposed a disappointing increase of $37 million, or less than three percent, for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a joint statement in response.

The bill includes some notable increases for key education and workforce programs:
  • 13 percent increase for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA);
  • 24 percent increase for Title II Supporting Effective Instruction Grants authorized under ESSA;
  • 27 percent increase for Federal Work Study;
  • 9 percent increase for Federal TRIO programs;
  • $150 increase in the maximum award for Pell grants; and
  • 56 percent increase for Apprenticeship grants

It is important to note that this markup is an early step in the process to determine the amount of funding Congress will allocate to education and labor programs for FY20. While it is expected that the proposal will go before the full House Appropriations Committee in early May, the Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet released their draft FY20 funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In addition, Congress must agree on the overall levels for defense and non-defense discretionary spending before determining final allocations for the programs contained within the FY20 appropriations bills. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

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

New Report on States’ ESSA Report Cards, A Push for Colleges to Complete Equity Audits

April 26th, 2019

Even though Congress is in recess, new reports and recent events have kept the attention on Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about a new analysis of state report cards required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), equity audits for postsecondary institutions, and two recent events in Washington, D.C. that featured CTE.

Data Quality Campaign Report Sheds Light on States’ ESSA Report Cards   

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) has updated its annual review of state K-12 report cards, illuminating for the first time how states are reporting and communicating student progress in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) era. States made some bold commitments in their ESSA plans, but DQC’s analysis shows that there is still work to do. According to their analysis, 41 states do not include disaggregated achievement data for at least one federally required subgroup. Twenty seven states do not include data on postsecondary enrollment. These are challenges states will need to address as they prepare to meet the data collection and reporting requirements under Perkins V.

Center for American Progress Encourages Colleges to Conduct Equity Audits

One part of the Center for American Progress’s (CAP) Beyond Tuition initiative to improve affordability, quality and accountability in higher education is for colleges to carry out equity audits. CAP defines equity audits as “internal reviews of key policies and practices to identify those that fail to effectively serve underrepresented students.” Senator Schatz (D-HI) recently introduced the College Equity Act, which includes implementation of equity audits in colleges and corresponding grant funding based on the outcomes of the audit. Find more information in CAP’s article, Equity Audits: A Tool for Campus Improvement.

Convening on Rethinking Correctional and Reentry Education Includes CTE 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Educated hosted a convening on Rethinking Correctional and Reentry Education: A Second Chance at Learning with the purpose of highlighting and advancing the “conversation around the administration-wide goal of rethinking education for incarcerated individuals.” The day included panels on state and local programs, student and educator perspectives, as well as remarks from the Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson. A common theme, especially when hearing from state and local leaders, was that CTE plays an important role in educational programming for those who are incarcerated. A breakout session in the afternoon on how Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) can support education for incarcerated individuals highlighted that both laws provide opportunities to do so, but there is a lack of clarity on how this can be done. Looking for opportunities for how to promote collaboration across Perkins V and WIOA? Check out Coordinating Across Perkins V and WIOA, a brief from Advance CTE and the National Skills Coalition.

Workforce Preparation was a Resounding Theme at Reagan Institute Summit

The Reagan Institute Summit on Education (RISE) – hosted by the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute, which aims to promote the former President’s legacy through policy and ideas – was held in Washington, DC on April 11. A major focus of this year’s summit was career readiness. Senator Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, made the case for expanding eligibility for Pell grants to both individuals who are incarcerated as well as learners in short-term credential programs. Representative Foxx (R-NC), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, also made the case for strengthening workforce preparation opportunities in order to ensure that learners do not accrue significant amounts of debt without a credential to show for it. Other policymakers suggested ideas such as using H-1B visa funds to support training in high-need industry areas or piloting risk sharing funding models to hold institutions of higher education accountable for the workforce outcomes of their graduates. Overall, the theme of the day was that support for career preparation in high school and college is widespread.

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

New Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grants, Congress & Administration Look at HEA

April 17th, 2019

Congress was busy last week heading into the two-week recess with activity on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and appropriations. Read below to learn more and find out about news from the Administration on the Innovation and Modernization grant program authorized under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and higher education.

41 Senators Sign CTE Funding Letter  

Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) was joined by 40 additional Senators who signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter that encouraged robust funding for Perkins. The letter was sent to the Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member, Senator Murray (D-WA) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as they begin the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020). The widespread support for the letter is a testament to your advocacy efforts! You can see if your Senators signed on to the letter in this blog post from our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) – please be sure to send a thank you note to those who signed!

Looking to continue 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.

House Holds Hearing on U.S. Department of Education Priorities

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” In particular, the hearing focused on the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget. A variety of topics were covered, such as secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, expanding Pell grant eligibility to short-term programs, federal student aid delivery and support for Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A video of the hearing and statements from Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Secretary DeVos can be found here. The statement from Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) can be found here.

Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grant Now Accepting Applications

On April 15, applications became available for the Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Program to “identify, support, and rigorously evaluate Evidence-Based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize CTE and ensure workforce skills taught in CTE programs…align with labor market needs.” Over $2 million in total are available for this grant, and up to six grants will be awarded to scale evidence-based innovative programs that lead to better student outcomes and program effectiveness. Grantees will receive between $400,000 and $500,000 for a 36 month project. Each grantee must match awarded funds with non-Federal funding sources.

The one absolute priority for all applicants is to “submit a plan to create, develop, implement, replicate or take to scale Evidence-Based, field-initiatives innovations to modernize and to improve effectiveness and alignment of CTE with labor market needs and to improve student outcomes in CTE.” In addition, there are three Competitive Preference Priorities: programs that will improve STEM and computer science student outcomes; programs that serve the majority of students from low-income households and programs that serve students in Qualified Opportunity Zones. A webinar will be held by the U.S. Department of Education on April 25 to provide additional information.

Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Reached Consensus

The negotiated rulemaking committee reached consensus on all three regulation packages proposed by the Education Department after months of hearings and rounds of edits to the originally proposed regulatory language. The panel of negotiators agreed to changes on issues such as accreditation, federal distance education rules, competency-based education, federal aid programs for religious institutions and a change to the TEACH grant program that would provide teachers whose grants were changed to loans an opportunity to appeal.

In order to reach consensus, the Administration removed some proposals, such as changing the scope of regional accreditors and giving colleges receiving federal aid permission to outsource over 50 percent of a program to an unaccredited external entity. Now, the Education Department will publish the agreed upon regulatory language in the Federal Register and allow for public comments. The new rules must be finalized before November in order to be enacted in the summer of 2020. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos put out a statement in support of the committee’s consensus.

Senate Holds Hearing on Higher Education Act Reauthorization

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing last week on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Strengthening Accountability to Protect Students and Taxpayers.” This hearing explored topics such as the role the federal and institutional roles in ensuring accountability and how data can better support all students. A video of the hearing and all witness testimonies can be found here. HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) press release on the hearing can be found here, and the statement from Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) can be found here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

155 Representatives Sign CTE Funding Letter, President Signs Executive Order on Higher Ed

March 28th, 2019

With two hearings this week on the President’s budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020), appropriations season is in full swing! Read below to learn more about the hearings, the Representatives who signed a letter to support funding for CTE, and updates on both higher education and K-12 education.

155 Representatives Sign CTE Funding Letter

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, were joined by 153 additional Representatives from both parties who signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter that encouraged strong funding for Perkins. The letter was sent to the Chairwoman, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member, Tom Cole (R-OK) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as they begin the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020). The widespread support for the letter is a testament to your advocacy efforts! You can check this spreadsheet to see if your Representative signed on to the letter – please don’t forget to send a thank you note to those who signed!

Looking to continue 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.

Secretary DeVos Testifies at House and Senate FY2020 Education Budget Hearings

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies held hearings on the President’s FY2020 budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education on March 26 and March 28, respectively. Secretary DeVos testified before both committees and both hearings covered a wide variety of topics, from student loan debt to school discipline to school safety and more. In addition, there was much discussion around issues affecting CTE, such as teacher shortages, expanding Pell grant eligibility to high-quality, short-term programs, apprenticeship, and the proposed elimination of two programs that can support CTE and other efforts: the Supporting Effective Instruction grants authorized under Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants authorized under Title IV-A of ESSA. While the President’s budget proposed level-funding for CTE State Grants, multiple members of Congress expressed support for CTE and the need to change the perception of CTE.

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Higher Education

On March 21, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities. The executive order provides direction across three categories: Promoting First Amendment Rights, Improving Transparency and Addressing Student Loan Debt. First, the executive order reinforces existing requirements for colleges receiving federal funding for research to support free speech. Significantly, the order directs the U.S. Department of Education to add program level data on student outcomes for the first time to the College Scorecard, an online interactive tool that allows users to gather information on the cost and certain outcomes (e.g., median earnings, median loan debt, and loan default and repayment rates) of higher education institutions. The executive order also calls for the U.S. Secretary of Education to lead the research and reporting of policy options for risk sharing with student loan debt so that the federal government, institutions and other entities- not only the student- have a financial stake in students’ ability to repay loans. The research must address: state and institution transfer policies, how states and institutions can increase dual enrollment opportunities, and other ways to increase student success, particular in completing postsecondary programs of study. Secretary DeVos’s statement on the executive order can be found here and Senator Alexander’s (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, statement can be found here.

More than Twice As Many States Counting Career Readiness than in 2014

A new report from Advance CTE, Achieve, Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers through the New Skills for Youth initiative examines state and federal accountability systems to see how states are measuring college and career readiness. The report, called Making Career Readiness Count 3.0, finds that the number of states with career readiness metrics in their systems has more than doubled from 17 in 2014 to 40 in 2019. The report breaks down common approaches to measuring college and career readiness and offers critical questions for states to consider as they implement new measures.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

Contact Your Representative to Support the Federal Investment in CTE

March 20th, 2019

The congressional appropriation process is now underway and there’s lots of news about  the Higher Education Act (HEA). Read below to learn more about how to support the federal investment in CTE by contacting your Representative about signing a “Dear Colleague” letter and how Congress and President Trump are focusing in on HEA .

Contact your Representative to Support the Federal Investment in CTE by March 22 

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, will be sending a “Dear Colleague” letter to the Chairwoman, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member, Tom Cole (R-OK) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies respectfully encouraging that they consider strong funding for Perkins. Please contact your Representative to encourage them to sign on to the letter by visiting ACTE’s Take Action page and scroll to “Ask Your Representative to Sign Perkins Funding Letter” and click “Take Action.” You can also find your representative, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to their office, and then ask about the Representative’s interest in signing on to a “Dear Colleague” letter to support strong funding for Perkins. Interested Representatives can contact the offices of Representatives Langevin (D-RI) or Thompson (R-PA) to sign on. The deadline to sign on is 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, March 22.

White House Releases Proposal for Higher Education Reform

On March 18, the Trump administration released its principles for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), led by Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President. The administration seeks to “increase access to affordable, flexible, and innovative postsecondary education and skills attainment.” The following goals were outlined:

  • Reorient the Accreditation Process to Focus on Student Outcomes;
  • Increase Innovation in the Education Marketplace;
  • Better Align Education to the Needs of Today’s Workforce;
  • Increase Institutional Accountability;
  • Accelerate Program Completion;
  • Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • Encourage Responsible Borrowing;
  • Simplify Student Aid;
  • Support Returning Students and
  • Give Prospective Students More Meaningful and Useful Information about Schools and Programs.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor efforts in Congress to reauthorize HEA and provide updates.

Congress Introduces Higher Education Legislation

On March 14, Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) reintroduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. 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.

Also on March 14, Senators Cassidy (R-LA), Warren (D-MA), Scott (R-SC) and Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced the College Transparency Act. This legislation would create a student-level data network within the National Center for Education Statistics and promote transparency and accuracy in postsecondary student data.

On March 12, Senators Kaine and Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act. This legislation aims to help address teacher and principal shortages, particularly in rural areas.

Advance CTE is proud to support all three of these bills, and will continue to advocate for legislation that reflects our HEA recommendations.

Congress Holds First HEA Hearings of 2019

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held its first HEA hearing this year on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Simplifying the FAFSA and Reducing the Burden of Verification.” Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) agreed that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be simplified to be more accessible.

The House Committee on Education and Labor also held its first of five announced HEA hearings on “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach.” In his opening remarks, Chairman Scott (D-VA) share that his goal is to pass comprehensive higher education reform, with a focus on access and affordability. Topics that came up throughout the hearing included improving the purchasing power of Pell Grants, simplifying FAFSA, responding to state disinvestment in higher education, making college more affordable and simplifying student loan repayment.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

 

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