Aacc federal legislative and regulatory update
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Aacc FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE and regulatory Update. MCCA July, 2014. David Baime Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Policy Analysis American Association of Community Colleges. Federal Legislative Overview. Funding/Pell Grant Program Status HEA Reauthorization WIA Reauthorization

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Aacc federal legislative and regulatory update

Aacc FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE and regulatory Update


July, 2014

David Baime

Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Policy Analysis

American Association of Community Colleges

Federal legislative overview

Federal Legislative Overview

  • Funding/Pell Grant Program Status

  • HEA Reauthorization

  • WIA Reauthorization

  • H.R. 3393 – AOTC Reform

  • Gainful Employment Regulations

  • Administration’s Ratings System

  • Title IX and Related Issues

Appropriations budget

Appropriations& Budget

  • Under Bipartisan Budget Act, funding levels were set for FY 2014 and FY 2015 and sequestration was partially replaced. Sequestration continues.

  • Senate Labor-HHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation June 12; further action stymiedby threat of full Committee amendments.

  • Senate results largely positive with exception of use of Pell Grant (temporary) surplus for other programs.

  • House markup may take place later in July.

  • CR for first part of FY 2015 now seems inevitable; and lame duck session afterwards.

Pell grants

Pell Grants

  • The automatic (CPI) increase in the maximum grant for 2014- 15 (starts July 1) brought total to $5,730 – an $85 increase.

  • Program has a surplus for FY 2015 and 2016; cost has been dropping. Beyond 2017 the program is slated to have significant shortfalls.

  • Reinstatement of eligibility for Ability-to-Benefit students remains a community college priority and partial restoration in FY 2015 is possible.

Hea reauthorization general

HEA Reauthorization: general

  • The Higher Education Act (HEA) was last reauthorized in 2008. Extensive hearing have led to introduction of House and Senate legislation. Legislation will not be enacted in 2014.

  • Congressional priorities include:

    • Increasing completion rates

    • Reducing “cost”

    • Accreditation reform

    • Better consumer information

    • Simplifying student aid programs

    • Innovative learning models

    • Regulatory relief (Senate task force established)

Hea reauthorization aacc priorities

HEA Reauthorization: aACC Priorities

  • Pell Grants: Maintain maximum grant without harmful limitations on eligibility; reinstate Ability-to-Benefit & Year-Round Pell eligibility; expand current 12 semester limit; provide some eligibility flexibility for both programs/students (2% of total).

  • Student Loans: Lower borrowing limits and give colleges authority to reduce loan maximum; “decouple” Pell Grant eligibility from that for loans; restructure loan default rates and penalties.

  • Affordability & Completion: Stronger state maintenance of effort; bolster articulation agreements to extent possible.

  • Measurement: Create accurate Federal graduation (combined with transfer) rate.

Hea reauthorization harkin bill


  • Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has released a draft comprehensive HEA reauthorization bill.

  • Staff shared early draft of bill with AACC. Further comments due August 29.

  • Legislation is ambitious, with major policy changes, far-reaching requirements on institutions, and new programs.

  • Highlights include year-round Pell reinstatement (but only for full-time students), partial “Ability-to-Benefit” reinstatement.

  • New programs focused on community colleges: dual enrollment (marred by extensive accompanying requirements) and workforce training program (similar to what might have been included in WIA).

Hea reauthorization harkin bill1


  • New Federal-State partnership program created; bitterly opposed by private non-profits.

  • New commission to examine success of institutions; would be problematic for community colleges.

  • Early draft included unit record data system with far-reaching data elements, but was pulled from draft; staff say it will return.

  • Stands 0.0001% chance of enactment in 2014.

Hea reauthorization alexander bennett bill

HEA REAuthorization: Alexander-Bennett bill

  • Significant bi-partisan legislation supported by possible chair of HELP Committee in 2015. Overall, quite positive for CCs.

  • Creates a two-item needs assessment system for Pell Grants, based on income and family size. Waivers permitted. Uses “prior-prior year” IRS data.

  • Restores year-round Pell Grant.

  • Allows aid administrators to reduce loan maximums if justified by post-completion earnings.

Hea reauthorization house bills and legislative activity

Hea reauthorization: house bills and legislative activity

  • House Education and Workforce Committee has reported 3 major HEA reauthorization bills, start of piecemeal reauthorization.

  • Bills approved on bi-partisan basis though Democrats’ amendments were thwarted by Republicans.

  • Legislation headed to House floor week of July 21.

  • H.R. 4983 is most important bill, establishing new “College Dashboard” and data to populate it that derives from current IPEDS system. Legislation:

    • Creates 3 graduation rates (100%, 150% and 200%) that exclude transfers. AACC supports transfer inclusion and 300% window and is working to make changes.

    • Would report debt levels; link to BLS wages; variety of information on students and student aid.

    • Bill eschews student unit record data system and eliminates “watch lists.”

Hea reauthorization house bills and legislative activity1

HEA Reauthorization: house bills and legislative activity

  • H.R. 4984 creates new counseling requirements for institutions. Changes include annual loan counseling, and specific counseling for Pell Grant recipients (new).

    • Opposing enhanced counseling is politically problematic but AACC is concerned about institutions’ ability to comply.

  • H.R. 3136 would create a new competency-based demonstration program at ED. Legislation would allow ED to waive a broad range of statutory and other requirements that limit institutions’ ability to deliver competency-based education.

  • AACC supports House legislation – but changes are needed. Bills will not be enacted in 2014.

Workforce investment act wia reauthorization

Workforce Investment Act (WIA)Reauthorization

  • Bi-partisan House and Senate negotiations led to agreement in early summer, 10 years after law’s expiration.

  • Legislation (WIOA) now approved, by overwhelming margins, by both chambers.

  • Legislation good but not perfect; AACC endorsed.

  • Highlights include: retains CC role on local boards (and some state boards); increased contracting authority; better integration of adult education into training programs and career pathways.

  • Imperfections: subsequent trainer eligibility criteria are problematic; community colleges not made full partners in system; no CC-specific program; infrastructure provisions.

H r 3393 aotc reform

H.R. 3393 – AOTC Reform

  • Black-Davis Legislation, H.R. 3393, Student and Family Tax Simplification Act, is headed to the House floor.

  • Legislation was bi-partisan, growing out of tax reform effort.

  • Legislation lost Democratic support when income phase-outs were increased, thereby benefitting more students but creating “pay for” issue for Ds.

  • Loss of bi-partisanship major blow to bill’s prospects.

  • AACC strongly supports bill, alone among major higher education associations:

    • It targets aid to needier students with increased refundability.

    • Resolves issue related to Pell Grant offset that decreases CC awards.

    • Ends inappropriate subsidies to more affluent students.

Gainful employment nprm

Gainful Employment NPRM

  • Regulation largely targeted at for-profit colleges.

  • Community colleges bear brunt of regulation in non-profit higher education.

    • GEprograms include all Title IV-eligible certificate (non-degree) programs at community colleges and nearly all educational programs at for-profits.

Gainful employment metrics

Gainful Employment Metrics

  • Programs’ Title IV eligibility judged primarily by:

    • Debt-to-Earnings

    • Program Cohort Default Rates (pCDR)

    • Debt-to-Earnings - 30 or More Title IV Completers

    • pCDR – More Than 30 Title IV Borrowers


> 12%


> 30%

> 30%

Ge aacc proposed modifications

GE – AACC Proposed Modifications

  • Focus on programs with high indebtedness—just 9% of all CC GE students take out federal loans.

  • Programs with a median loan debt of $0 should automatically pass debt-to-earnings & pCDRmetrics.

  • Remove or limit pCDR for programs with low borrowing incidence.

  • Reduce the burden on smaller programs (majority of CC offerings) by not requiring initial reporting.

Obama college ratings system

Obama College Ratings system

  • Administration currently working on higher education ratings system, to take effect for 2015-16 school year. Draft of system delayed to this fall.

  • Serious effort with extensive stakeholder input.

  • Proposal calls for eventually tying federal aid to the ratings system; this requires Congressional action.

  • AACC does not support ratings system – not an appropriate federal role and not relevant to most community college students.

Title ix and sexual assault

Title IX and Sexual Assault

  • The issue of sexual assault on college campuses has reached a fever pitch.

  • Community colleges are not a primary focus, but are deeply implicated

  • Colleges remain responsible for Title IX compliance. Compliance with complicated law can be difficult.

  • Colleges also must report information under Clery Act, and new regulations on the Violence Against Woman Act are forthcoming.

  • Senators McCaskill and Gillibrand have held 3 roundtables; circulated survey on campuses sexual assault, etc., and released results; will be introducing legislation.

  • AACC establishing legal advisory panel to help guide activity.

Aacc federal legislative and regulatory update

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