In this edition, several higher education bills are queued up for floor consideration, President Killeen speaks with our Illinois in Washington internship program, and UIS hosts its annual DC alumni event.
The Latest on Appropriations
A few appropriations bills have inched forward since our last e-newsletter. Last week, the House passed its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 defense appropriations bill. Within the DOD funding bill, basic research was cut by $185 million (8%), and DARPA received a $37 million boost. Both the House and Senate appropriations committees passed their own interior (NEH, EPA) appropriations bills. In both versions, NEH received modest increases compared to FY2016 (House: + $2 million, Senate: + $500,000).
This week, the Senate resumed consideration of its Commerce-Justice-Science (NSF, NASA, DOJ, Commerce) funding bill. Also, the House appropriations committee approved its homeland security funding bill. Below is an updated chart on where things are at:
House Education Committee Advances Higher Ed Bills
The House Education Committee passed five targeted bills this week that are part of a piecemeal effort to reauthorize components of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Approved with unanimous support, they included:
- H.R. 5529, the Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act: authorizes additional grant activities for Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), including developing or growing dual enrollment programs. It would also allow HSIs to encourage Hispanic students to pursue doctoral degree programs in health care.
- H.R. 5528, the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act: would ensure that students are able to use prior-prior year income data when applying for federal financial aid, so that they can receive earlier notification of their total federal financial assistance.
- H.R. 5530, the HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act: aims to improve the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program by increasing oversight and offering financial counseling and technical assistance.
- H.R. 3179, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act: aims to promote financial literacy by increasing counseling requirements for recipients of federal financial aid, including augmented exit counseling.
- H.R. 3178, the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act: attempts to streamline published college data made publicly available by the Secretary of Education through the creation of a consumer-tested College Dashboard.
The American Council on Education led a community letter commenting on the legislative package. The letter expresses overall support, but raises some concerns regarding implementation.
Killeen Praises Urbana's DC Internship Program
University of Illinois President Tim Killeen attended and delivered remarks at a reception for the Illinois in Washington (IIW) program, which brings Urbana undergraduate students to DC to study and experience working in the nation's capital, through a combination of coursework and internships in a wide range of organizations, including non-profits, congressional offices, government agencies, and think tanks. In attendance were IIW students, IIW program staff, IIW advisory board members, and DC Illini Club board members.
UIS Chancellor Visits DC-Area Alumni
University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch was in DC this week for UIS' annual “Network and Learn” event. Chancellor Koch welcomed the crowd of DC-area UIS alumni, friends, and students and provided a campus update before introducing this year's presenter, Chris Mooney, the Director of the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). Mooney spoke about the budget impasse in Illinois.
Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations