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May 2013 Public Policy Review

by on May 22, 2013

The intent of this monthly blog is to provide NASPA Region-II readers with updates associated with a few current and emerging issues of public policy that are of interest to institutions of higher education, especially in regard to the NASPA Public Policy Agenda priorities for 2012-2013:

 

  • Student success and college completion
  • Issues related to undocumented students
  • Cost of and funding for higher education, including related accountability efforts
  • Campus Safety and Security

 

Links are provided to related websites and on-line articles (when available) but the reader should not assume these to be the only such resources.    If you have any ideas for topics, please contact Region II Public Policy Rep Thomas Grace at thomas.grace@nyu.edu.

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COST OF AND FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION:

STUDENT RIGHT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO ACT

This proposed Congressional legislation would require colleges to collect and disaggregate data related to graduates’ salaries by major and program; graduation and remediation rates; success rates for students who receive a Pell Grant or veterans’ benefits; and other benchmarks not currently collected in such detail. The bill also calls for a federal “unit record” database — a database administered by the Education Department that could track students through college and into the work force….

  

COST OF AND FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION:

STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATE BILLS

On May 16th, 2013, Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would keep the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent for another two years at a cost to the government of $8.6 billion.  The interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans, need-based loans that don’t accumulate interest while students are enrolled in college, will double to 6.8 percent on July 1st if Congress does not act…

 

And other bills also have been presented to address the issue of escalating college cost and the related debt burden.  Among them….( thank you to Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D. Vice President for Research and Policy NASPA for the following information)

  

House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) have introduced a bill to address the pending rate increase by moving the federal student loan system to a variable rate.  H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, would move all federal student loans (except Perkins Loans) to a variable interest rate tied to the 10-year Treasury Note.  Under this proposal, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans would be calculated using  the 10-year Treasury Note plus 2.5 percent.  Graduate and parent PLUS loans would be an additional 2 percentage points higher than Stafford.  Loans would be recalculated yearly, and rates could increase or decrease yearly throughout the life of the loan.  An interest rate cap is set at 8.5 percent for Stafford and 10.5 percent for PLUS and graduate loans.

On the Senate side, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) have introduced a bill aimed at a long-term solution for student loan interest rates.  The Responsible Student Loan Solutions Act of 2013 sets interest rates annually based on the 91-day Treasury bill, plus a percentage determined by the Secretary of Education to cover program administration and borrower benefits.  Subsidized Stafford loan interest rates are capped at 6.8 percent, and parent and unsubsidized rates are capped at 8.25 percent.   It would also allow borrowers who have higher fixed-rate federal student loans to refinance.

Additionally, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced a bill, the Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act, that would provide a one-year fix to the impending interest increase by setting the rate for federal subsidized Stafford loans at the primary interest rate offered to banks through the Federal Reserve.  This would set rates at 0.75 percent.

 

STUDENT SUCCESS AND COLLEGE COMPLETION:

THE COLLEGE BOARD

This College Board website offers information about, and links to resources concerning, programs and policies that organizations and policymakers may implement to effectively address the ten recommendations of the College Completion Agenda.  The policies listed here were collected in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The programs illustrated here come from the annual CollegeKeys Compact™ compendium of best practices for addressing the needs and challenges of low-income students and helping them get ready for, get into and get through college.

STUDENT SUCCESS AND COLLEGE COMPLETION:

HISPANIC COLLEGE-GOING RATE TOPS WHITE RATE

An all-time high of 69 percent of Hispanics who graduated from high school in 2012 enrolled in college that fall, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center.    This is a greater proportion than that of white graduates that year….

 

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS:

DELAYS AT THE BORDER DUE TO NEW SEVIS RELATED REGS

Universities are reporting that students arriving in the United States are experiencing delays at border checkpoints since the implementation of new procedures requiring the verification of Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) status at border checkpoints.   The new procedures were put in place after it was found that an international student accused of aiding in the destruction of evidence related to the Boston Marathon bombings was allowed to reenter the country on a terminated visa…

CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY:

U.S. FINES YALE $165,000 FOR MISREPORTING SEXUAL OFFENSES

Underscoring the importance of meeting institution’s obligation to adequately report and address sexual misconduct matters, the U.S. Education Department notified Yale University that it intends to fine the institution $165,000 for failing to include several sex offenses that occurred nearly a decade ago in Yale’s Clery report…

 

 

CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY:

CAMPUS SEXUAL VIOLENCE ACT (SaVE Act)

The The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (“VAWA”), which President Obama signed into law on March 7, 2013 imposes new obligations on colleges and universities under its Campus Sexual Violence Act (“SaVE Act”) provision, Section 304. Those obligations refine and clarify, and to

some extent change, existing legal requirements and government agency enforcement statements.   Most importantly, as the American Council on Education notes in its summary, institutions of higher education must review their policies and practices to assure compliance with this new law…

 

 

CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY:

STATES ARE DEBATING WHETHER TO ALLOW GUNS ON CAMPUS

Pennsylvania – Five of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities ended their blanket bans on concealed weapon carry under guidance from the state system, but political leaders quickly shifted gears and told PA institutions to sit tight — leaving those that already switched over stuck with new policies allowing guns on campus….

Texas –  The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted 4-2 to send a bill to the full Senate that will allow licensed gun holders to carry their weapons into classrooms and campus buildings.

 

NASPA–  Several professional and student organizations have taken a position on campus safety as it pertains to the issue of the carrying of concealed weapons by students.  Links to some of these statements and other resources are available on the NASPA website…

 

National Conference of State Legislatures – The website of this organization has info on state and federal action on this issue…

UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS:

ACCESS AND TUITION

With action stalled on the Dream Act at the federal level, public policy is now being examined – and action taken – on a state by state basis. Some recent developments are…

Minnesota – Minnesota would become one of the most generous states in the nation toward undocumented college students under a plan recently approved by the state Senate. The new measure would allow undocumented students to become eligible for state financial aid, in-state tuition and private scholarships. It would make Minnesota one of 16 states to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students and one of just four to offer them financial aid….

 

 

Indiana – A bill passed by the Indiana Senate and headed to the Governor’s desk will restore in-state tuition to about 200 undocumented college students, some of whom are speaking out about the issue…

 

Colorado – House of Representatives , working with the Governor’s office, passed a measure to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition…

Pennsylvania – bill in the state Senate Education Committee to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition…

New York – Rally in Albany to support the passage of the New York State Dream Act…

Educators for Fair Consideration and The College Board – both agencies published a manual for parents of undocumented students seeking to attend college….

From → Public Policy

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