The month of March 2019 was characterized by a considerable amount of activity on Capitol Hill and by the Trump Administration involving the topic of higher education. Regarding the latter, mention was made on page three of this issue of the newsletter about President Trump’s introduction of a federal budget proposal for FY 2020, which begins on October 1 of this year. Apart from proposed spending reductions in key health programs and activities, his budget includes a cut for the Department of Education, a stream-lined repayment process for student loans, and the elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The Department’s reduction would be about $8.5 billion or 12%, including a cancellation of surplus funds in the Pell Grant program. Whether any of these proposed changes ever see the light of day will require the approval of Congress, which does not seem highly likely.
The Congressional arena had its own highlights with hearings on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). Last renewed in 2008, this legislation authorizes various programs within the Department of Education, including the federal aid programs that support students wanting to pursue a postsecondary education. The House Committee on Education and Labor conducted the first of five scheduled bipartisan HEA hearings on the topic, “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms To Bring Higher Education Within Reach” and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on “Reauthorizing The Higher Education Act: Simplifying The FAFSA And Reducing The Burden Of Verification.” Both events were covered thoroughly by ASAHP staff. Comprehensive summaries were placed on the Association’s NEWSWIRE on March 12 (Senate Hearing) and March 14 (House Hearing). These items then were distributed to the membership on March 15.
Meanwhile, a set of proposals from the White House was released on how to reform the HEA through legislation and revise higher education regulations. The list calls for the accreditation process to focus on student outcomes, asserting that current compliance-focused federal requirements inhibit innovation and that accrediting organizations need to return to the primary purpose of ensuring educational quality. Congress is requested to streamline the 10 federal recognition standards to focus on educational quality and student learning. The proposals also call for defining accrediting organizations by the mission of their institutions, rather then geographically, as regional accreditors currently are structured.
Department Of Education Negotiated Rulemaking
The Department of Education (USDE) held the second of four sessions of its negotiated rulemaking (a process to reach agreement on the terms of a proposed administrative rule or regulatory change) on accreditation and other topics on February 19-22, 2019 in Washington, DC. The first session was on January 14-16, 2019, the third one is scheduled for March 25-28, 2019, and the fourth on April 1-3, 2019. A main committee focuses on accreditation while three subcommittees address distance learning and educational innovation, faith-based entities’ participation in Title IV programs, and TEACH Grants. At the February session, the committee received reports from the subcommittees, responded to questions posed by the Department, and addressed several proposed regulations, including: permitting accrediting organizations to waive certain criteria for institutions to encourage innovation, transferring credit among institutions, and limiting the number of states in which a regional accrediting organization could operate.
Borrower Defense to Repayment Regulations
On November 1, 2016, the Department of Education published final regulations concerning borrower defense to repayment and other related matters in the Federal Register. The original effective date (July 1, 2017) of these regulations was delayed by the Department, but by order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the 2016 final regulations from the Obama Administration must take effect. They govern loan forgiveness for defrauded borrowers, ban some types of mandatory arbitration agreements, give federal officials new tools to go after troubled colleges, and require for-profit colleges to warn students if alumni have low loan repayment rates. The current Administration now must implement them.
More Articles from TRENDS March 2019
COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH NONADHERENCE
Suggests how factors affecting both caregivers and patients can result in nonadherence to treatment interventions. Read More
PRESIDENT’S CORNER—ASAHP MEMBER FOCUS
Curt Lox, Dean, Brooks College of Health Professions at the University of North Florida, is featured in this issue of TRENDS. Read More
FEDERAL BUDGET RELEASE AND PROPOSED LEGISLATION
The Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget for FY 2020 and legislation is introduced in Congress involving higher education. Read More
HEALTH REFORM DEVELOPMENTS
Discusses: the introduction of the Medicare For All Act Of 2019; an effort to repeal the ACA medical device tax; a bipartisan initiative to reduce health care cost growth; and a bill to prevent health care fraud. Read More
QUICK STAT (SHORT, TIMELY, AND TOPICAL)
Selected Estimates Based On The National Health Interview Survey, January To September 2018
Electronic Health Behaviors Among U.S. Adults With Chronic Disease
Use Of Toilet Seats To Detect Chronic Heart Failure
Medical And Health Data Wearable Read More
AVAILABLE RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONICALLY
Emerging Technologies To Support An Aging Population
School Success: An Opportunity For Population Health
CARE Act Implementation: Progress And Promise Read More
IMPACT OF MARIJUANA LAWS ON HEALTH AND LABOR SUPPLY
Provides information about the effects of state medical marijuana laws on the health and labor supply of adults age 51 and older, with a focus on individuals with medical conditions that may respond positively to treatment involving marijuana. Read More
GLOBAL SYNDEMIC OF OBESITY, UNDERNUTRITION, AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Refers to a proposed rationale for international-level policy interventions that have the potential to mitigate harmful health consequences associated with these three problems. Read More