In This Section

AAU Weekly Wrap-up


June 3, 2016




Two Democratic leaders of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on June 2 sent a letter to House appropriators urging that the House FY17 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill preserve the Pell Grant program surplus for the program and not redirect the funding to unrelated programs or agencies.

Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the full education committee, and Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), ranking member of the higher education subcommittee, asked appropriators to use the estimated $7.8 billion surplus to raise the Pell Grant maximum award.

In April, a group of 19 higher education associations, including AAU, sent a letter to House and Senate appropriators expressing strong opposition to using any of the surplus funds outside of the Pell Grant program.


Organizations Oppose Restrictions on DoD-Funded Medical Research

AAU is one of 137 national organizations, medical associations, universities, and academic medical centers that sent a letter on June 1 to leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee opposing restrictions on medical research supported by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The FY2017 National Authorization Act (S. 2943), which will be considered by the Senate next week, would prohibit DOD from funding medical research unless the research “would protect, enhance, or restore the health and safety of members of the Armed Forces.”

The letter states that the bill as approved by the Armed Services Committee, “could jeopardize funding for research activities that have broader relevance to the U.S. military, including the health and well-being of military families and veterans, and the efficiency of the military health care system.”

The letter continues, “The medical research programs at DoD directly impact the health and lives of the U.S. military, including combat veterans and their families. They include important medical research programs related to several forms of cancer and other disorders. Grants awarded through these programs have led to breakthroughs on nerve regeneration and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – key developments favorably impacting our newest wounded warriors. Other programs provide groundbreaking research on psychological health, Gulf War Illness, spinal cord injury, and hearing and vision loss (which comprise a significant portion of current battlefield injuries). Many of these diseases occur at greater rates in those who have served in the military.”

The letter also raises concerns about provisions that “would place unnecessary and burdensome acquisition compliance and auditing requirements on programs that are already serving the taxpayer well.”



The Department of Commerce and the State Department have issued new and revised definitions of key terms pertaining to export controls. The changes affect the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) . AAU had joined with the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in commenting on ITAR and EAR definitions that were proposed in June 2015.

The most important development is that the State Department did not revise the ITAR definition of “fundamental research.” AAU, joined by the other university associations and several individual research universities, had expressed serious concerns about a proposed change to the ITAR definition of “fundamental research.” This proposed revision, they said, would have had a chilling effect on university-industry collaborations involving industry-sponsored research in which the industrial sponsor requires pre-publication review for proprietary information.

The State Department also did not address other key university concerns relating to the definitions of “Defense Services” and “Public Domain.” The State Department has said that it plans to delay issuing these ITAR definitions until next year. While a delay will allow for additional consideration of the issues, it is unclear what actions the department will ultimately take.

The revised export control regulations were issued in the form of a final EAR rule on which the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security has said it will continue to accept comments. The State Department changes were issued as an interim final ITAR rule on which additional comments will be accepted for 30 days. Both rules will take effect in 90 days.



AAU is seeking applicants for the position of Senior Policy Analyst. The position is responsible for identifying and conducting research and policy analysis in areas of higher education and science policy that underpin AAU’s advocacy activities and policy positions. Responsibilities include: designing and conducting research, surveys, and analyses; compiling and organizing data; and preparing policy studies, papers, and other written communications on a variety of topics of importance to research-intensive universities.

The full job description, applicant qualifications, and other information are available at: Careers at AAU. The deadline for applications is Monday, June 13.

Please visit us at and follow AAU on Twitter and on Facebook.


View more articles about this topic in our archives