Legislative Update: National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization and Senate FAFSA Hearing

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. Read below to learn more about what is included in this bill, a Senate hearing on student financial aid and the extended deadline for postsecondary institutions to receive stimulus funding. 

House Introduces National Apprenticeship Act 

On Thursday, the Democrats of the House Committee on Education and Labor released a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. The new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately 1 million new apprenticeships. The Act authorizes $400 million in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) with annual increases of $100 million, up to $800 million in FY25. Additionally, this would codify the role of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, codify the role of State Apprenticeship Agencies and create an interagency agreement between DOL and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The full Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday, September 24, 2020. 

A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here

Senate Holds Hearing on FAFSA Reform

Earlier this week the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a “Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA” hearing. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has long advocated for updating the complicated and burdensome Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. After announcing his retirement from Congress, Senator Alexander is continuing to push for FAFSA simplification to be completed before he moves on. 

Witnesses for the hearing included: Kim Cook, Executive Director of the National College Attainment Network; Rachelle Feldman, Associate Provost and Director of Scholarships and Student Aid for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kristin Hultquist, Founding Partner of HCM Strategists; Dr. Bridget Terry Long, Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton, Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College of Columbia University. 

ED Announces Extension for Higher Education CARES Act Funding

ED reopened the application period for funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that is authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The department opened back up the application process through September 30, 2020. Postsecondary institutions can apply for funding at grants.gov. Additional details can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Comments are closed.