Posts Tagged ‘pell grants’

Legislative Update: Congress in Recess Through the Midterms

Friday, October 28th, 2022

The last two weeks, lawmakers in Congress have remained in recess ahead of the upcoming midterm elections set to take place November 8. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new CTE data while the agency finalized new rules for postsecondary education. 

Congress Focuses on Midterms, Will Return Next Month

Both the Senate and House are currently only holding pro forma sessions until after the fast-approaching midterm elections take place on November 8. Lawmakers will return to Washington, D.C. to resume debate regarding the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process and other year-end priorities on November 14 as part of the “lame duck” session of the current 117th Congress. Advance CTE expects this year-end session to continue until December 16 when temporary federal funding legislation is scheduled to expire and could extend as far as December 24 before adjourning. 

ED Releases New CAR Report Data

This week the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) published performance and enrollment data from states’ Consolidated Annual Report (CAR) submissions as part of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). These data reflect learner performance during the 2020-21 program year and represents the first year that state performance data has been published under Perkins V since its reauthorization in 2018. Notably, these data make use of Perkins V’s new concentrator and participant definitions and also include new secondary CTE program quality indicators introduced by the legislation among several other changes. 

The data indicate a slight uptick in CTE enrollments, with 12 million CTE participants across the nation, including 8.3 million at the secondary level and 3.5 million at the postsecondary level. In addition, CTE concentrators had a graduation rate of 96 percent– substantially higher than the national average for all learners . The full set of data can be found here. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze and evaluate these data for other important trends and findings and will share those with the broader CTE community in the future. 

ED Publishes New Postsecondary Rules

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education finalized a new set of postsecondary rules intended to restrict proprietary school access to federal student aid and expand access to these funds for incarcerated learners. This final set of regulations was developed as part of a negotiated rulemaking panel tasked with finding consensus on these and several other issues of importance to postsecondary education. The first regulation– known informally as the 90/10 rule–stipulates that for-profit institutions cannot derive more than 90 percent of their revenue from federal sources. This new rule further limits what funding “counts” towards this calculation. The second rule focuses on whether and how for-profit institutions can convert to nonprofit status (known as change in ownership). The third and final major component of this rules package expands Pell grant program eligibility to include justice-connected learners. 

These new regulatory changes are set to go into effect July 2023. The full announcement can be found here

Nation’s Report Card Shows National Drop in Academic Achievement

On Monday, October 24, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Known informally as the nation’s report card, the NAEP is a nationally representative assessment that measures learner academic achievement in grades 4 and 8 in core academic subjects such as reading, math, science and other fields of study. The results released this week illustrate troubling trends in learner scores in math and reading between 2019 and 2022, with the majority of states reporting a decline in learner achievement in these subject areas for learners at both grade levels and across socio-economic and other learner subpopulations. 

Reacting to the NAEP results, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, “The results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are appalling, unacceptable, and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners. The data also represent a call to action for the important work we must do now for our students—especially those who have suffered the most during the pandemic.”

Department of Energy Unveils School Infrastructure Grants

On Wednesday, October 26, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $80 million in new funding availability to support K-12 schools in making needed infrastructure upgrades and related improvements. The funding was authorized as part of last year’s American Rescue Plan which authorized a “Renew America’s Schools” program and allotted $500 million for similar activities. K-12 schools, charter school boards and local education agencies can all apply for this first tranche of funding ahead of a January 2023 application deadline. More information on the program can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congressional Democrats’ Reconciliation Bill Signed Into Law as President Biden Makes Significant Announcement on Student Debt

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Over the last few weeks, President Biden signed another significant legislative package ushered through Congress by Democrats while apprenticeship programs celebrated an important anniversary as the Administration took further action on student loan debt. 

Inflation Reduction Act Signed Into Law

As shared previously, congressional Democrats recently announced that after a year and half of on-again-off-again negotiations they had finally found agreement on a legislative package that would make significant new investments in healthcare and climate change while raising revenues to offset the federal deficit by roughly $306 billion. Dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376), Democrats in Congress were able to advance this legislation using the budget reconciliation process– a legislative maneuver that allows lawmakers to approve legislation via a simple majority vote (and thus avoiding a likely Republican filibuster in the Senate). Previous versions of this proposal, known last year as the Build Back Better Act, envisioned significant new investments in Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development, but lawmakers were unable to come to consensus on these and many other initiatives originally included in this package. 

While the package does contain some modest investments in workforce and education, primarily focused within the climate provisions of the package, potential opportunities for the CTE community regarding these new sources of funding will become clearer in the months ahead as the law begins to be implemented by various federal agencies. This more streamlined bill was cleared by the House in recent weeks and signed into law by President Biden on August 16. More information about the bill can be accessed here

Registered Apprenticeships Celebrate 85th Anniversary

This month marked the 85th anniversary of the enactment of the National Apprenticeship Act (NAA)– federal legislation first passed and last updated by Congress in 1937. Also known as the Fitzgerald Act, this legislation created the federal system of registered apprenticeship overseen and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In recognition of this milestone DOL has launched a new “ApprenticeshipUSA” brand to cultivate a better understanding amongst the public regarding registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs). Additionally, the agency has launched an online dialogue about the future of RAPs, soliciting feedback for how to improve these programs and related systems. This online portal for public input will remain open through September 5, 2022 and can be accessed here

As a reminder, National Apprenticeship Week is fast approaching (November 14-20), so be on the lookout for more updates from DOL in the coming weeks ahead for how to promote RAPs in local communities throughout the nation.     

President Biden Takes Executive Action on Student Debt 

On Wednesday, August 24, President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona unveiled the Administration’s plans to forgive up to $10,000 of federal student loan debt for borrowers making $125,000 or less annually. The plan would provide up to $20,000 in similar forgiveness for those who previously received a federal Pell grant and meet the same income eligibility requirements. In addition to this executive action, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced newly proposed regulations regarding how individuals pay back federal student loans in the future. Among these proposed changes are new plans to forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments for loan balances of $12,000 or less. ED estimates that this change would have the practical effect of allowing nearly all community college borrowers to be debt-free within 10 years. 

The White House’s factsheet on this executive action can be found here. Information regarding ED’s newly proposed income-driven repayment rules can be accessed here

CTE Research Network Grant Application Opportunity 

Last week, ED published a new grant opportunity inviting qualified applicants to lead the CTE Research Network. Authorized under the national activities section (Sec. 114) of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) and overseen by ED’s National Center for Education Research under the Institute of Education Sciences, the CTE research network is dedicated to researching various topics impacting CTE of national importance. Applications for this grant opportunity are due by February 23, 2023. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill While CHIPS Legislation is Signed into Law

Monday, August 8th, 2022

Over the last week, Senate Democrats united and passed significant new climate and healthcare legislation which is expected to be voted on  by the House later this week. Elsewhere President Biden signed new advanced manufacturing legislation into law while the Commerce Department announced new American Rescue Plan grantees. Meanwhile, House Republicans unveiled new postsecondary education legislation while the Senate confirmed a new postsecondary leader at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

Senate Passes Long-awaited Reconciliation Package

Over the weekend, the Senate remained in session to consider the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (H.R. 5376)– legislation that would make significant new investments in the nation’s capacity to produce and use greener sources of energy while expanding healthcare access for millions of Americans. The bill will generate more than enough new federal revenue to offset these investments while also decreasing the federal deficit by over $300 billion. Earlier iterations of this proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, included significant new investments in Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development, but lawmakers were unable to come to consensus on these and many other initiatives originally included in this package. Senate Democrats were able to pass this legislation by a simple majority vote via the chamber’s budget reconciliation process. The House is now expected to take up and pass this proposal later this week. 

President Biden Signs CHIPS & Science Act Into Law

As we shared previously, Congress recently approved the Chips and Science Act (H.R. 4346). This legislation will provide substantial new funding for the nation’s advanced manufacturing sector to increase the capacity to produce semiconductor chips– a component that is needed in many pieces of consumer electronics used by millions of people daily. On August 2, President Biden formally signed this legislation into law. Advance CTE and its partners were disappointed that language regarding the expansion of federal Pell grants for high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs was not included in the final package, along with a number of other important proposals initially considered as part of this legislation. 

However, the bill will provide some modest workforce development investments targeted specifically at sectors of the economy needed to produce semiconductor chips that may be of interest to the CTE community as the legislation is implemented in the months and years ahead. These investments include funding to broaden the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program to support workforce training partnerships benefiting manufacturers as well as $200 million in new funding for the National Science Foundation to promote wider workforce development recruitment into these fields. Advance CTE is continuing to analyze this legislation and will be monitoring the implementation of this law in future for further opportunities that may be created as a result of the bill’s recent enactment. 

House Republicans Introduce Short-term Pell Proposal 

Last week, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), committee member Elise Stefanik (R-NY), along with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) introduced the Responsible Education Assistance through Loan (REAL) Reforms Act. This legislation would make a number of changes to existing federal student loan programs which have been at the center of continued disagreement between Congressional Democrats and Republicans. In addition to these provisions, the legislation includes a slightly reframed proposal that would allow learners to use federal Pell grants in certain shorter-term CTE programs. The bill includes a different set of requirements for these programs to qualify for Pell grants, including provisions that would require graduates to realize earnings gains that exceed the costs of the program. While a similar proposal was not ultimately included in the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act legislation noted elsewhere, its inclusion here demonstrates continued congressional support for the need to provide better support for learners pursuing postsecondary educational pathways with more direct linkages to careers. A fact sheet about the REAL Reforms Act can be found here

Commerce Department Announces Good Jobs Grantees 

On August 3 the U.S. Department of Commerce announced $500 million in new grants for 32 regional workforce partnerships across the country. These grants were part of the Department’s “Good Jobs Challenge,” a grant initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan passed exclusively by Congressional Democrats last year. Awardees will be pursuing a number of education and training initiatives connected to key economic sectors to help support the ongoing recovery from the pandemic. Among the 32 grantees to secure funding through this program was Hampton Roads Workforce Council– a local workforce center in House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) district which he recently visited to promote these efforts. 

Senate Confirms Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education 

Last Thursday the Senate formally confirmed Nasser Paydar to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). Paydar was previously the Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Executive Vice President of Indiana University. In a statement following his confirmation, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona welcomed this new development saying, in part, “Dr. Paydar brings to the U.S. Department of Education more than three-and-a-half decades of experience as a university leader and educator, during which time he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to creating accessible pathways to college and careers for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.” 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Releases FY23 Funding Proposals While Congress Passes CHIPS Bill and Democrats Unveil New Reconciliation Deal

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee released draft federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) spending proposals, including legislation that would provide funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). In addition, Congress passed economic competitiveness legislation while Senate Democrats announced a new reconciliation deal focused on healthcare and energy policies. Elsewhere the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unveiled newly proposed postsecondary regulations. 

Senate Appropriations Committee Releases FY23 Spending Proposals

The Senate Appropriations Committee released draft proposals for each of the 12 annual federal fiscal year 2023 spending bills that compose the federal budget late last week. This release comes ahead of the upcoming start of FY23, set to begin on October 1. The Senate proposal envisions a total investment of $1.44 billion for the Perkins V basic state grant program– an increase of $60 million over current FY22 enacted appropriations. The Senate’s recommended increase in funding for state grants authorized by Perkins V exceeds an earlier FY23 proposal from the House, which contained an increase of $45 million for the program. While these proposed investments in CTE are encouraging and far exceed what the Biden Administration has proposed for the program to date, Advance CTE and its partners are continuing to advocate for a $200 million increase in Perkins V state grant funding to fully meet the needs of learners throughout the nation in the coming federal fiscal year.

The Senate’s FY23 proposal for Perkins V also recommends $60 million in additional funding for the law’s national activities account– an amount intended to support the Biden Administration’s “Career Connected High Schools” proposal. Advance CTE has previously shared concerns about this proposed competitive grant program and has urged lawmakers to use this funding for Perkins V state grants which would more equitably distribute funding and support a far larger number of the nation’s CTE learners. In addition to these suggested changes in funding for Perkins, the Senate’s FY23 funding proposal also recommends a five percent increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants authorized by Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act. For core Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) formula programs administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Senate is proposing a nearly six percent increase for these programs above FY22 enacted levels. 

While the release of these spending proposals is an important step in the wider federal budget and appropriations process for FY23, Advance CTE does not expect the Senate to formally consider these proposals further. Instead, these proposals have been released to serve as a negotiating tool between the House and Senate to resolve differences between both chambers’ visions for the coming fiscal year and complete the FY23 budget. As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a robust investment in CTE as part of the annual federal appropriations process. All spending proposals released by the Senate last week can be accessed here

Senate Leaders Announce Reconciliation Deal 

After over a year of off-again-on-again negotiations among Democratic leaders, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that they had reached agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. If enacted, the legislation would make investments to expand the nation’s energy production capacity and expand healthcare access. These proposals would be funded through the establishment of a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent, allowing for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and other revenue generating provisions. As a result, the legislation is also intended to reduce the federal deficit by approximately $300 billion. First conceived as President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, this legislation initially proposed to invest significant new funding in CTE and workforce development. However, continued disagreement within the Democratic Congressional caucus forced this earlier proposal to be pared back considerably over the last year. Using the reconciliation process allows Senators to advance this legislation by a simple majority in the upper chamber, thus circumventing a likely Republican filibuster of the legislation. The Senate is expected to begin this process this week ahead of the start of its annual August recess scheduled to begin this upcoming weekend. 

Congress Approves CHIPS+ Proposal

As shared last week, Senate leaders announced a significantly pared back legislative proposal aimed at investing in the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity in critical sectors of the economy related to the production of semiconductor chips. Since that time, the Senate advanced this legislation out of the chamber by a wide bipartisan vote margin which was quickly followed by a comparable vote in the House. With the package now having cleared both Congressional chambers, the bill now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature and enactment. Advance CTE and its partners had been working to include provisions that would have expanded federal Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs as well as to make critical improvements to the nation’s collection of postsecondary education outcomes data. However, lawmakers were only able to find consensus on this narrower package. 

ED Releases Proposed Postsecondary Regulations 

Following two negotiated rulemaking convenings this past fall and spring, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published proposed regulations on several topics, including federal Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals and the way for-profit postsecondary institutions must calculate the amount of their revenue from non-federal sources (known informally as the 90/10 rule). The newly proposed rules would strengthen requirements that postsecondary institutions obtain at least 10 percent of their revenue from non federal resources by expanding what would be “counted” as part of this share of their revenue. In addition, the proposed regulations would codify the processes for which individuals who are in correctional facilities may access and use federal Pell grants for qualifying programs. A factsheet on these changes can be found here. ED is soliciting feedback from the wider public for the next month as it works to finalize these proposals. 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Pares Back CHIPS, While Biden Administration Highlights ARP Impact and Cybersecurity Workforce Needs

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

This week the Senate advanced more modest economic competitiveness legislation after deliberating on the proposal for more than a year. Elsewhere, the Biden Administration drew attention to workforce challenges in the cybersecurity space, while the U.S. Department of Education (ED) unveiled new school discipline guidance while Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden highlighted ongoing efforts to help learners recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Senate Advances More Modest CHIPS Proposal

After over a year of consideration, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a measure late Tuesday night, July 19, that formally began debate on economic competitiveness legislation intended to bolster the nation’s advanced manufacturing capacity in critical sectors of the economy related to the production of semiconductor chips. Currently known as “CHIPS+,” earlier iterations of this legislation, introduced in both the House and the Senate separately over the last year and a half, included significant new funding in education and workforce development. In particular, lawmakers had hoped to include an expansion of the federal Pell Grant Program to include high-quality, shorter-term CTE programs. Known elsewhere as the JOBS Act, this proposal would be key to cultivating the skilled workforce necessary to make investments envisioned under this legislation successful. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)– a key negotiator for the current CHIPS+ proposal and a long-time co-sponsor of the JOBS Act– recently highlighted the urgent need to enact this reform to the federal Pell grant program.

Despite these ongoing legislative efforts, lawmakers have remained unable to find consensus on these and many other provisions that were under formal consideration as part of a bicameral and bipartisan conference negotiation. As a consequence, the legislation currently under consideration in the Senate has been pared back considerably and does not include many of the provisions, like the JOBS Act, that Advance CTE believes are urgently needed. If enacted, however, the bill would create several new grant programs aimed at preparing students to enter into STEM and computer science fields, while also providing significant new subsidies to semiconductor manufacturers and designers. The measure was procedurally advanced on a bipartisan basis, 64-34 and will be considered by the Senate further next week.

Biden Administration Highlights Cybersecurity Workforce Needs

On Tuesday, July 19, the Biden Administration convened a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit to highlight the ongoing and urgent need to create and prioritize career pathways programs that lead to careers in cybersecurity. As part of the summit, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce announced a new initiative aimed at bolstering and expanding apprenticeship programs to prepare individuals for careers in cybersecurity. This “120-day Cybersecurity Sprint” is intended to promote existing registered apprenticeship programs and support the creation of new programs aimed at addressing this urgent labor shortage. Additional information on this effort can be accessed here. More on the summit can be found here

ED Releases New School Discipline Guidance

ED unveiled new guidance on Tuesday, July 19, for states and school districts to help K-12 education leaders address longstanding disparities in discipline for learners with disabilities. The guidance follows a 2018 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that learners with disabilities, particularly learners of color, face disproportionate rates of school discipline as compared to their peers. The guidance re-emphasizes the requirements of Section 504 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) while highlighting best practices regarding implementation. The guidance can be found here and a related press release from USED can be found here.

Secretary Cardona, First Lady Biden Launch Pandemic Relief Tour

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Jill Biden announced a joint. nationwide tour. In the coming days, the duo plan to highlight the impact of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in helping students recover from the impacts of the pandemic, recover from lost instructional time, and provide enrichment and academic opportunities during the summer months. In particular, Cardona and Biden aim to emphasize how the $122 billion in ARP funding has helped more learners access out-of-school and summer enrichment programs as a means to accelerate learning. More information on the tour can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Secretary Cardona Testifies and Makes State CTE Visit

Friday, May 6th, 2022

Over the last two weeks U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before House appropriators while also leading several efforts to celebrate the importance of teachers and promote much-needed reforms to the Pell Grant program. Elsewhere, lawmakers introduced legislation to attract and retain a robust teacher workforce while the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee highlighted the importance of workforce development and apprenticeship programs. 

Secretary Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

On Thursday, April 28, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies regarding the Biden Administration’s 2023 federal fiscal year (FY23) funding requests for programs overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). This hearing is part of wider, ongoing efforts in Congress to consider aspects of President Biden’s FY23 budget request released a few weeks ago. During his formal testimony, Secretary Cardona focused on the need to close opportunity and achievement gaps by investing more in educational programs, addressing student mental health needs, growing the educator workforce, and building creative on-ramps to more affordable college and career pathways. During the hearing, lawmakers discussed a wide range of issues, including STEM education and lingering stigmas attached to “skilled trades” instruction. An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony, can be found here

Although the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program was not mentioned explicitly during this hearing, House CTE Caucus co-chairs Reps. Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA) successfully led a Dear Colleague letter calling for robust funding for this program ahead of Cardona’s appearance. Nearly a third of Representatives in the House, 127, signed on in support of this letter– a reflection of the strong support the program has in Congress. 

Lawmakers Introduce RAISE Act 

Coinciding with national Teacher Appreciation Week, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act– legislation that, if enacted, would provide a sliding scale of refundable annual tax credits specifically for teachers. Tax credit amounts would be determined by school poverty levels where teachers work. Importantly, CTE instructors who meet state certification requirements would be eligible for up to $15,000 in tax credits. Advance CTE is proud to endorse this legislation and urges its swift enactment to help address persistent teacher shortages across the country. More information on the proposal can be found here

Cardona Promotes Pell Grant Modernization 

Secretary Cardona attended an event celebrating Second Chance Month last week, where ED announced it had invited 73 postsecondary institutions to participate in the third round of the Second Chance Pell Experiment– an effort that expands access to Pell grants for incarcerated individuals. During this event Secretary Cardona also expressed support for the expansion of the Pell Grant program for high-quality short-term CTE programs. As a reminder, lawmakers in Congress are debating whether to include a short-term Pell Grant program provision as part of wider conference negotiations over economic competitiveness legislation. Recently the Senate held a series of procedural votes to formally begin this negotiation process. Advance CTE has continued to advocate in favor of this change which is modeled after legislation long sponsored by Sens. Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH). 

ED Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week 

This week commemorates Teacher Appreciation Week—a time to honor the contribution of teachers nationwide. As part of these efforts,. Secretary Miguel Cardona kicked off the week with a visit to Richmond, Virginia to tour high school and postsecondary CTE programs with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). The event also included a visit to Richmond’s Teacher Residency Program which aims to attract and retain teachers in high-needs subject areas. Later in the week, Cardona hosted a roundtable further celebrating teachers and the invaluable contributions that they make each day. At this event, the Secretary discussed a public service loan forgiveness waiver announced last fall aimed at discharging student debt carried by eligible teachers. 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Odds & Ends 

 

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: FY22 Omnibus Signed Into Law

Friday, March 18th, 2022

This week President Biden signed a full-year spending package for the current fiscal year, providing several increased investments of note to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. In addition, Advance CTE continues to encourage its members and partners to support legislation to improve learner access to Pell Grants for high-quality, short-term postsecondary CTE programs. Finally, be sure to encourage your Senators and Representatives to join the House and Senate CTE Caucuses if they have not already done so! 

President Biden Signs FY22 Omnibus Into Law

As we shared last week, Congress successfully passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package which provides full-year funding for the remaining six months of the current 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). This spending package provides support for federal education and workforce development programs, including the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). On Tuesday, March 15, President Biden formally signed the legislation into law. The legislation provides an additional $45 million for Perkins V’s basic state formula grant program (an increase of nearly 3.5 percent). The legislation makes a host of other notable investments to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, including increased investments in apprenticeship expansion efforts, career education programs at community colleges, and other important funding beneficial to expanding CTE opportunities to more of the nation’s learners. 

With the FY22 funding process now complete, the FY23 budget and appropriation process can now formally begin. This process typically begins with the release of the President’s budget request to Congress, which Advance CTE expects to be released in the coming weeks. Once the Biden administration’s budget request is published and sent to Congress, lawmakers will formally begin efforts to craft the necessary spending bills (12 in total)  that compose the federal budget. Ahead of these efforts, the Senate confirmed Shalanda Young to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week by a margin of 61-36. This agency is tasked with leading the formulation of the Biden Administration’s FY23 budget request and will be a key stakeholder in future FY23 federal appropriations negotiations this year. As these efforts and more continue to take shape, Advance CTE is working to ensure robust investments in CTE. 

In the meantime, be sure to check out Advance CTE’s updated Perkins funding resource reflecting the new investments made by Congress in FY22. 

Sign-on to Support Pell Grants for High-Quality CTE Programs

Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the JOBS Act– legislation that would make long-overdue improvements to the federal Pell Grant program by expanding eligibility for high-quality shorter-term postsecondary CTE programs. As lawmakers continue to negotiate and craft forthcoming legislation to increase the competitiveness of the American economy, this reform would significantly enhance the nation’s ability to provide pathways for workers and learners to earn valuable postsecondary credentials needed in today’s economy. 

To help ensure lawmakers understand the importance of this legislation and the role it has in ensuring that postsecondary education is truly working for everyone, Advance CTE encourages state and local CTE affiliates, including individual nonprofit CTE institutions serving postsecondary learners, to sign-on in support of this letter ahead of anticipated legislative action later this year. Please share and add your support by the end of this month! 

Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

In conjunction with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education are working to encourage Senators and Representatives over the next several weeks to join their respective CTE Caucuses if they have not done so already. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Full-Year Spending Package for FY22 with CTE Implications

Friday, March 11th, 2022

This week Congress passed a long-awaited full-year spending package for the 2022 federal fiscal year (FY22). The legislation provides encouraging increases for programs of interest to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. In addition, Advance CTE encourages its members and partners to sign-on in support of the  Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, legislation that would make much-needed reforms to the federal Pell grant program. Finally, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made a number of new announcements, including the availability of new discretionary grant funding. 

House Passes FY22 Omnibus Spending Legislation With CTE Funding Increase

After relying on a series of short-term funding extensions (known as Continuing Resolutions or CRs) for the first six months of FY22, Congress is finally on the precipice of enacting a full-year, comprehensive spending legislation. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 9, lawmakers in the House unveiled a $1.5 trillion FY22 omnibus spending bill which combines all 12 regular appropriations bills covering the entirety of the federal government and related programs for the current federal fiscal year into a single legislative package. Initially, this package also contained additional supplemental aid to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and to meet unaddressed needs from the pandemic.

Late Wednesday night lawmakers in the House passed this omnibus package, via separate votes, on a bipartisan basis—after stripping out additional pandemic aid due to lack of support but leaving the Ukrainian aid in place—sending the package to the Senate for further consideration. Late last night the Senate took up and passed the omnibus by a margin of 68-31. With current federal funding set to expire late today (March 11), Advance CTE expects President Biden to sign the legislation into law imminently, so as to avoid a lapse in federal appropriations. 

Overall, the legislation provides an additional $2.3 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (ED)– a 3.2 percent increase over 2021 federal fiscal year (FY21) levels. The FY22 omnibus also contains a number of new investments of note to the CTE community. These include $45 million in additional funding for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act’s (Perkins V) basic state grant program. This new level of investment brings total Perkins V state grant funding to $1.38 billion (a 3.4% increase compared to FY21 levels). In addition, the omnibus provides $60 million in additional funding (a 5 percent increase) for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants contained in Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The bill also increases the maximum award amount for Pell Grants by $400, bringing this new total to $6,895 per grant.

The omnibus also provides roughly $500 million in additional funding for the DOL, representing an increase of 3.6 percent for the agency. Significantly, the legislation provides $50 million in additional funding to expand registered apprenticeship programs (a 27 percent increase), bringing total funding for this purpose to $235 million for FY22. Overall, the legislation increases funding for programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by $249 million, bringing the total for these activities to $5.66 billion (a roughly 4.6 percent increase compared to FY21). Finally, $50 million of the overall funding being provided to WIOA is dedicated specifically to expanding career training and education programs offered at community colleges, including consortia of other eligible postsecondary institutions. 

Advance CTE applauds these and other critically important investments made through this legislation and will continue to provide the CTE community with additional updates regarding this legislation’s impact on states, districts, schools, and institutions in the future. In the meantime, Advance CTE’s federal policy agenda can be found here

Lend Your Support to Pell Grant Modernization 

Advance CTE and its partners have continued to advocate for the enactment of the JOBS Act – legislation that would make long-overdue improvements to the federal Pell Grant program by expanding eligibility for high-quality shorter-term postsecondary CTE programs. As lawmakers continue to negotiate and craft forthcoming legislation to improve the competitiveness of the American economy, this reform would drastically enhance the nation’s ability to provide pathways for workers and learners to earn valuable postsecondary credentials needed in today’s economy. 

To help ensure lawmakers understand the importance of this legislation and the role it has in ensuring American global economic competitiveness, Advance CTE encourages state and local CTE affiliates, especially nonprofit CTE institutions, to sign-on in support of this letter ahead of anticipated legislative action later this year. 

DOL and DOT Sign MOU 

On Monday, March 7, the DOL and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalizing their commitment to collaborate in two main areas: 

This MOU is intended to support the ongoing implementation of the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed last year. A press release on the announcement can be found here

DOL Grant Opportunities

Over the past few weeks, DOL has published the following discretionary grant opportunities which may be of interest to the CTE community:

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Brittany Cannady in Legislation
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Updated Advance CTE Recommendations for HEA Reauthorization

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

As Congress consider reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), Advance CTE reviewed our HEA recommendations. Last month, we added a recommendation to lift the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals.

From 1972 to 1994, all those incarcerated in state or federal prisons were eligible to receive Pell Grants. However, in 1994 President Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control Act banned access to Pell Grants for all incarcerated individuals. In 2015, President Barack Obama announced the Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative– which allowed for those incarcerated to access Pell at experimental sites for the first time since 1994. In February the U.S. Department of Education approved renewal of this pilot program. There are now 67 participating colleges and universities and over 100 federal and state prisons included in this program- leading 12,000 incarcerated individuals to utilize Pell funding. While this has been positive progress, there are over 1.5 million people incarcerated- and only a small portion of those who are otherwise eligible for Pell are able to access it.

A recent report by the Vera Institute of Justice and Georgetown Law School’s Center on Poverty and Inequality found that in state prisons- which hold the majority of prisoners in this country- about 463,000 people are eligible for Pell Grants. Currently, only 50 percent of those previously incarcerated find formal work in their first year after release from prison. The report found that if 50 percent of state prisoners who are Pell eligible are able to enroll in a postsecondary program, the rate of employment for formerly incarcerated individuals in their first year after release from prison would increase by 2.1 percent.

Support for expanding Pell access has been voiced across both parties. For example, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Committee on Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) have all stated support. U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has also mentioned an interest in lifting this ban.

Eliminating the ban on Pell in all prisons would give hundreds of thousands access to postsecondary education, and allow these learners to pursue meaningful employment after incarceration. Advance CTE recommends reinstating Pell Grants in prisons to allow all learners the opportunity for postsecondary attainment, and set them up for career success.

Advance CTE’s full recommendations for HEA reauthorization can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Legislative Update: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2017 Perkins Funding Bill as Stakeholders Review Newly Proposed ESSA Regulations

Friday, June 10th, 2016

United States CapitalYesterday, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $161.9 billion funding measure for federal programs falling under the jurisdictions of the U.S. Departments of Labor (Labor), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education (ED) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The overall allocation of funding made available for this bill, known as a 302(b) allocation, was $270 million below FY 2016 levels. This meant that programs falling under this part of the budget all faced reductions in order to stay within the new FY 2017 cap even before individual funding decisions were made by the committee this week.

The legislation, as passed yesterday, would provide level funding for state formula grants under the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins)— approximately $1.117 billion overall for law’s Title I program or the same amount the program has received since FY 2014.

The bipartisan bill, the culmination of negotiations between Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) is the first time Labor-HHS-ED funding legislation has passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee since 2009.

Overall the bill reduces ED’s budget by $220 million from the previous fiscal year although this figure does not take into account changes that would be made to the department’s largest program—federal Pell grants. A key piece to understanding the committee’s decision-making on this legislation date back to March when, at that time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a $7.8 billion surplus for Pell grants in the coming fiscal year.

In light of these additional funds, Senate appropriators have proposed to use a portion of this year’s Pell surplus to reinstitute “year-round Pell”— a provision the Obama Administration scrapped in 2011 as a cost savings measure which allows students to use their Pell awards during the summer months and accelerate their postsecondary studies. The bill also increases the maximum Pell award for the 2017-18 academic year to $5,935 although year-round recipients are capped at 150% of that maximum.

The Senate Appropriations Committee however took another chunk out of this surplus by also proposing to use a significant portion of it to fund other non-student-aid items in the budget, including a $2 billion proposed funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Many higher education organizations, as well as the Congressional Tri-Caucus, voiced strong opposition to this proposal saying, in part, “Students cannot afford to continue subsidizing other areas of the budget.”

Advance CTE agrees with these concerns and believes that any additional funding freed up as a result of a Pell surplus should be used exclusively for education. However, such a move by lawmakers further underscores the importance of increasing or dissolving current “budget caps” that have been in place for several years as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, legislation that constrains the amount of resources available for important investments in our nation’s education system among other vital national priorities.

In addition to these provisions, the recently passed bill also proposes to cut Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state formula programs by 3% or $73.8 million while providing a 10% increase for USDOL’s apprenticeship grant program to $100 million overall.

With the Senate’s work on a Labor-HHS-ED bill complete for the time being, attention turns to the House of Representatives where the appropriations committee in that chamber is widely expected to consider their version of the bill before recessing in mid-July. Although the deadline for all FY 2017 funding legislation is September 30th, the limited amount of legislative days left on the Congressional calendar will likely necessitate a temporary stop-gap funding measure—known as a continuing resolution— to put difficult (and final) federal budget decisions for FY 2017 until after the Presidential election this November.

Nevertheless, these appropriations bills will likely be used as a starting point for future negotiations on federal spending later this year. They are important mileposts for what the CTE community should expect with regards to education and workforce development funding for the coming fiscal year, but it is important to keep in mind that this legislation has not been enacted.

Be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis on the federal appropriations process as events continue to unfold.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Proposed ESSA Rules

As part of the ongoing implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), legislation that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) released a draft version of rules outlining proposed requirements for state plans, accountability systems, and reporting responsibilities.

This new batch of proposed regulations— known as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)— is open for public input and comment until August 1, 2016. Overall the NPRM hews closely to the newly passed law, providing substantial new flexibility to states and locals with regards to implementation. By comparison, another departmental proposal on so-called “supplement-not-supplant” regulations was met with far more concern earlier this month as we shared previously.

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback to the department for how to improve upon this proposal by the above deadline. A summary of the rules can be found here, the full proposal is over this way, and comments can be submitted via this portal.

Odds & Ends

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

By Steve Voytek in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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