Archives: Higher Education

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Concrete Results: The Reg Reform Effort at U.S. Department of Education

Late last week the Department of Education (“ED”) announced the release of the second report of its Regulatory Reform Task Force.  The report recommends ED withdraw nearly 600 antiquated guidance documents–a big step forward in cleaning-up its regulatory and guidance portfolio. Under Executive Order 13777, the Task Force continues to review ED’s regulations and sub-regulatory guidance as … Continue Reading

Free Speech on Campus Remains Front Burner Item for Congress

Congress continues to focus upon free speech on campus.  Tomorrow (October 26, 2017), the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a free speech hearing in room 430 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Witnesses include Dr. Robert Zimmer of the University of Chicago, Ms. Nadine Strossen of New York Law School, … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice Engages on Campus Free Speech

In a refreshing message delivered earlier this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for a “national recommitment to free speech on campus” while speaking at the Georgetown University law school. To the point, on September 26th the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Statement of Interest in a free speech case that two students filed … Continue Reading

Streamlining and Simplifying Federal Student Aid

Earlier today (March 21), the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hosted a hearing focused upon streamlining and simplifying federal student aid.  The subcommittee heard from a Vice Provost, a financial aid administrator, an education policy expert, and a representative of a think tank.  More … Continue Reading

Preliminary Injunction Halts Obama Administration’s Transgender Bathroom/Locker Room Policy

On Sunday, August 21, 2016, a federal court in the northern district of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction halting the Obama Administration’s highly controversial transgender bathroom/locker room guidance first-announced in the spring of this year.  The court’s decision is here. Significantly, the decision stated the U.S. Department of Education failed to follow Notice and … Continue Reading

Oklahoma Wesleyan University Joins Lawsuit Challenging Title IX Sexual Assault Guidance

Yesterday, Oklahoma Wesleyan University joined pending litigation in the District of Columbia–now titled John Doe and Oklahoma Wesleyan University v. Catherine H. Lhamon, et al., 1:16-cv-01158-RC–challenging the U.S. Department of Education’s controversial Title IX Sexual Misconduct Guidance issued on April 4, 2011 in a Dear Colleague Letter.  Plaintiffs contend the Department’s Office for Civil Rights violated … Continue Reading

Title IX, Transgender Students, Locker Rooms and Bathrooms

On both the K-12 and higher education fronts, school districts and institutions of higher education continue to face Title IX lawsuits brought by transgender students or their parents over schools’ policies on bathroom and locker room use.  In the two most prominent cases, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board (Eastern District of Virginia) and Johnston … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Holds Notice and Comment Rulemaking Required

In a 2-1 decision  announced on November 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Texas court’s injunction against executive actions of the Department of Homeland Security that had sought to give quasi-legal status and work permits to certain undocumented immigrants.  In so holding, the court noted the executive actions constituted, … Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Role of Consumer Information in College Choice

As part of the backdrop to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 10:00 AM on the Role of Consumer Information in College Choice.   Witnesses are Mark Schneider, Ph.D., Vice President and Institute Fellow at the American … Continue Reading

Ed and Workforce Committee Sets Higher Education Hearing

The House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training has scheduled a hearing on “Strengthening America’s Higher Education System” for Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 10:00 AM in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building. Headlining the witness list is the Honorable Mitch Daniels, Jr. President of Purdue University.  Other witnesses include Dr. … Continue Reading

Committee to Examine Report on Higher Education Regulations

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the recently-released (Feb. 12, 2015) report of the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education, “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities” on February 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM.  Two witnesses are on the agenda:  Dr. William E. Kirwan, Chancellor of the … Continue Reading

Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association: Case to Watch For Notice and Comment Rulemaking by Federal Agencies

In a closing watched case that could implicate notice-and-comment rulemaking in all federal agencies, the Supreme Court heard oral argument last week in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association.  The legal question before the court— Whether a federal agency must engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act before it can significantly alter an interpretive … Continue Reading

Next Stop on Affirmative Action in College Admissions

The next stop in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (affirmative action in college admissions) will once again be the Supreme Court should a petition for cert be filed and granted. Earlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the petition by Ms. Fisher for the entire membership of the … Continue Reading

New Gainful Employment Rule Challenged

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia earlier today (Nov. 6, 2014), the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) argues the U.S. Department of Education’s recent final regulation (214 pages) on gainful employment is unlawful, arbitrary and capricious, outside the scope of authority of the Higher Education Act … Continue Reading

Federal Student Aid Handbook Updates for 2014-2015

The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Education continues to roll out updates to its six (6) volume electronic Federal Student Aid Handbook for 2014-2015—a “go to” searchable resource.  The Handbook is the plain English explanation of federal financial aid (how it works, requirements for disbursing and managing loans, grants, … Continue Reading

Higher Education Items to Watch in FY2015 Department of Education Budget

While new and major initiatives in the Department of Education’s FY2015 budget are generally on the K-12 side of the ledger, on the higher education side the Department proposes $7 billion in mandatory budget authority for a new College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus Grants’ program.  These Bonus Grants would be used to reward colleges that … Continue Reading

Higher Education Reauthorization Hearings Continue In Senate on Thursday

The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee moves forward with another higher education reauthorization hearing on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Focusing on TRIO and GEAR UP—programs designed to assist low-income, disadvantaged, and other similarly situated students prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education—the committee will hear … Continue Reading

House Passes ESEA Reauthorization; Senate Reaches Interest Rate Deal

Last Friday, July 19, the House passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act–its version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA)–by a vote of 221-207. The message?  State and local control. Last reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the ESEA has continued in recent years under annual appropriations … Continue Reading

Coming Soon: New Changes to the Jeanne Clery Act

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“Act”) after the bill cleared the Senate earlier in February. Given the Act will soon be signed into law, institutions of higher education should take note, if not already, of several significant amendments to the Jeanne Clery Act … Continue Reading

Administration Seeks to Use Federal Student Aid and Accreditation to Control Tuition and Student Outcomes

In its policy plan released after the State of the Union message, the Obama Administration intends to leverage federal student aid and the accreditation process to control the price of tuition and student outcomes in higher education.  The release–“The President’s Plan for a Strong Middle Class & Strong America“–consists of eight pages of bullet points … Continue Reading

University President Held Personally Liable for Due Process Violations

Several days ago a federal jury found the President of Valdosta State University liable for $50,000 in compensatory damages for failing to follow notice and due process procedures prior to expelling a student.  With a Complaint first filed in 2008, Barnes v. Zaccari involved student Haden Barnes’ protest of Valdosta State’s decision to build two parking structures.  The … Continue Reading

House and Senate Hearings Set For Next Week on Schools, Workplace, and NCLB Waivers

Next week the House Education and Workforce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold hearings on February 5 (Tuesday) and 7 (Thursday) respectively.  Ed and Workforce meets at 10:00 a.m. on the fifth in Room 2175 to consider training and workforce issues, federal actions that impede job growth, K-12 education reform … Continue Reading

Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Installs Lawyer as Sixth President

Earlier today the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) installed Edward O. Blews, Jr. as the sixth president of its association–an organization committed to advancing Christian higher education. The CCCU consists of 171 institutions around the world focusing on the arts and sciences.   Trained as a lawyer, Blews comes to the position with … Continue Reading