Thursday, June 29, 2017
CHEA reports that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the White House announced appointments and are pursuing administrative actions that provide some sense of the Administration’s higher education agenda. USDE announced several appointments that will affect higher education:
- Kathleen Smith, former aide to Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and a current USDE employee, is the new senior advisor to the assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education and will be the acting assistant secretary.
- Adam Kissel, from the Charles Koch Foundation, will be the deputy assistant
secretary for higher education programs.
- Steven Menashi will be the deputy general counsel for postsecondary service
and have the delegated authority for the duties of the general counsel.
- Candice Jackson has been named deputy assistant secretary for civil rights
and will serve as acting assistant secretary for civil rights.
- Peter Oppenheim, education policy director and counsel for Republicans on the Senate HELP Committee, was nominated as assistant secretary for legislation and Congressional affairs, a position requiring Senate confirmation.
With regard to administrative actions related to higher education:
- U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has formed a committee of career employees and political appointees that will make recommendations for reorganizing USDE and reduce its workforce. The committee is scheduled to produce a draft restructuring plan for review and comment this summer, with a comprehensive plan to reorganize USDE expected in September 2017.
- A regulatory reform task force also has been established to oversee implementation of USDE’s regulatory reform initiatives. A progress report on the task force’s work was issued by USDE on June 22, 2017. Download Regulatory-reform-task-force-progress-report
- USDE published a request for comments on June 22, 2017, seeking suggestions on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement or modification. USDE is undertaking a regulatory review to identify regulations that eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation; are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives or policies; rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard for reproducibility; or derive from or implement Executive Orders or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified. Comments must be received no later than August 21, 2017, and can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
- The borrower defense to repayment rule will be delayed and renegotiated.
- The gainful-employment rule will be delayed and renegotiated.
A Notice of Intent to Conduct Negotiated Rulemaking on these two rules was published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2017. Public hearings on the rules will be held on July 10, 2017, in Washington, DC, and July 12, 2017, in Dallas, Texas.
- Increased funding for apprenticeship and worker training programs will be proposed. Apprenticeships that are federally registered must have an educational component, usually involving employers working with institutions or other education providers and with a minimum amount of credit-hour-equivalent learning being completed. Such apprentices earn an industry-recognized certificate that can lead to college credits at some institutions.
- USDE's Office for Civil Rights has said that it will discontinue its practice of automatically looking for systemic issues at colleges and universities as part of Title IV investigations and rather will make any determinations to conduct such examinations on a case-by-case basis.
- In several speeches, USDE Secretary DeVos has questioned reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and suggested instead rewriting the law, saying real change is needed.
For full DOE coverage read CHEA's monthly Federal Update: Number 59, June 26, 2017