- Budget and Appropriations Update
- White House Releases FY20 Budget Proposal
- Senate Votes to Block National State of Emergency Border Funds
- House Appropriations Committee Announces Public Witness Days
- Justice Department Announces Charges in College Admissions Scheme
- Wyden Introduces Bill to End Tax Break for Certain College Donations
- CNSF Urges Appropriators to Provide NSF $9B in FY20
- House and Senate Education Committees Discuss Higher Education Act Reform
- Upcoming Events
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
The White House Monday released its proposed FY20 budget, which called for sweeping cuts to non-defense discretionary spending. The proposal sets overall spending at $4.7 trillion, including $1.317 trillion in total discretionary funding, a 1.8 percent cut below FY19 levels.
These drastic reductions in funding would harm scientific research, the future workforce, and America’s position as a leader in global innovation at a time when surveys show the majority of Americans believe the federal government should support science and technology research.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU President Troubled by Sharp Science Cuts in White House FY20 Budget Proposal, AAU Summary of the Trump Administration FY20 Proposed Budget (updated 3/13/19), AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table.
The Senate yesterday approved a House-passed resolution to block the president’s declaration of a national state of emergency, which would transfer $3.6 billion to construct a wall along our southern border. President Trump at 3:30 p.m. today vetoed the measure. The veto could be overturned by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate, though reports say this is unlikely.
The House Appropriations Committee this week announced its deadlines to submit testimony for its subcommittees public witness days. The Senate has not yet announced its deadlines.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES CHARGES IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCHEME
The Justice Department Tuesday announced indictments in “Operation Varsity Blues,” an investigation into college admissions scandal that allegedly involves wealthy parents conspiring to guarantee their children admission through bribing university coaches and administrators, falsely deeming their children student athletes, and committing standardized test fraud. Fifty indictments have been announced, and though the U.S. attorney says schools are not involved in the scam.
Some House Democrats have called for the House Education and Labor Committee to hold hearings on admissions practices while it works to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
President Mary Sue Coleman released a statement on the scheme, saying that these accusations unfairly tarnish leading educational institutions and stand in stark contrast to our missions.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has more.
WYDEN INTRODUCES BILL TO END TAX BREAK FOR CERTAIN COLLEGE DONATIONS
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Rob Wyden (D-OR) yesterday announced he intends to introduce legislation to end the tax breaks for donations made to colleges and universities before or during a related student’s enrollment. The Senator said this move would help prevent future college admissions schemes as seen in “Operation Varsity Blues.” Wyden stated; “The federal government shouldn’t be perpetuating this system by awarding tax breaks to these contributions, contributions that return to the donor a benefit of inestimable value.”
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU President Comments on Admissions Fraud Allegations
HOUSE AND SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEES TACKLE HIGHER ED REFORM
The House Education and Labor Committee Wednesday held a hearing titled “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach.” During the hearing, Members heard from educators, financial aid experts, and current students, and discussed college affordability issues and student loan programs. This is the first of five announced hearings on HEA reform.
The Senate HELP Committee Tuesday held a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Simplifying the FAFSA and Reducing the Burden of Verification.” During the hearing, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) laid out their plan to simplify the FAFSA by reducing the number of questions and simplifying the verification process for students and parents. Chairman Alexander was optimistic that the Senate would move forward with bipartisan legislation to reduce the FAFSA from 108 questions to between 15-25.
CNSF URGES APPROPRIATORS TO PROVIDE NSF $9B IN FY20
The Coalition for National Science Funding, of which AAU is a member, yesterday wrote to House and Senate appropriators to request Congress work together to raise the budget caps for non-defense discretionary spending in FY20 and FY21, and appropriate $9 billion for NSF in FY20. The letter says; “A bold approach to NSF funding is necessary in FY 2020 to provide needed support for the potentially transformational Big Ideas initiatives, protect core programs that sustain broad science and engineering fields, build and operate world-class research infrastructure, and train the future STEM workforce for the United States to remain globally competitive.”