DC Digest - March 16, 2010
In Today's Issue:
- Associations Urge Senators to Support Senate Patent Reform Amendment
- The Shrunken Student Aid Bill
- Education Secretary Addresses Rising College Costs
- Obama Proposal Seeks to Consolidate Minority Undergraduate STEM Programs
- U of Miami's Shalala Outlines Benefits of New GI Bill
- Opinions: Is Now the Right time to Convert to and All-Direct-Loan Program? v. Now is the Right Time to Convert to an All-Direct-Loan Program
ASSOCIATIONS URGE SENATORS TO SUPPORT SENATE PATENT REFORM AMENDMENT
Six higher education associations, including ACE and AAU, sent a letter to all senators on March 8 urging them to support the Senate Judiciary Committee’s latest amendment to the Patent Reform Act of 2009 (S. 515). The letter expands upon a statement of support the associations issued March 5, the day after the amendment was announced.
The associations’ letter says that the substitute amendment has made “significant improvements” to the version of the bill reported last May by the Committee, specifically regarding post-grant review procedures. Changes made in the substitute amendment, says the letter, “will greatly reduce the ability to use post-grant procedures for abusive serial challenges to patents and thereby also reduce the administrative burden on the [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office].”
Although the legislation does not contain all of the suggested revisions universities have advocated, the associations allow that the substitute amendment “reforms current law in a way that balances the interests of the various sectors of the patent community and substantially improves the patent system overall.”
Letter urging support of senate patent reform amendment
THE SHRUNKEN STUDENT AID BILL
As Congressional Democrats and the White House begin a last-ditch push to pass legislation to overhaul health care this week, it remains far from certain that a plan to revamp the student loan programs will be merged into the health legislation. While the odds of that happening are better than not, it is still possible that Democrat leaders will decide to ditch or postpone action on the student aid measure if they conclude that it could discourage even a few key lawmakers from supporting the health care bill.
But after several intense days of behind-the-scenes negotiations, a few things have become clear(er) about the stripped-down student aid bill that Congress may consider in the coming days: community college funds have been stripped, Pell Grants would increase by less than originally planned, and the measure would fall short of the Obama administration's original proposal.
The Shrunken Student Aid Bill (Inside Higher Ed)
Student Loan Bill Begins Showdown Week (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
Move on Student Loans Could Win Healthcare Votes, House Dems Say (The Hill.com)
EDUCATION SECRETARY ADDRESSES RISING COLLEGE COSTS
College students and educators are protesting major budget cuts and higher tuition at campuses nationwide, while more students are defaulting on their loans. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks with "All Things Considered" host Guy Raz about rising college costs and the push for students to get loans directly from the government.
Education Secretary Addresses Rising College Costs (NPR.org)
OBAMA PROPOSAL SEEKS TO CONSOLIDATE MINORITY UNDERGRADUATE STEM PROGRAMS
The Obama administration wants to consolidate federal science programs for minority-serving institutions into a single competitive grant program, a plan that is drawing questions on Capitol Hill.
The president’s 2011 budget would take separate small programs for historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions, and re-channel them into a single program, which administration officials said would still be aimed at students of color. Programs affected by the plan include the HBCU Undergraduates program (HBCU-UP); the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation; the tribal colleges and universities undergraduate program (TCUP) and Hispanic-serving institutions program. In their place, the administration would create the Comprehensive Broadening Participation of Undergraduate Institutions in STEM.
Obama Proposal Seeks to Consolidate Minority Undergraduate STEM Programs (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education)
SHALALA OUTLINES BENEFITS OF NEW GI BILL
University of Miami President Donna Shalala's guest post on the Washington Posts's education blog "The Answer Sheet" explains the educational benefits offered by the new Post-9/11 GI Bill to military veterans and service members. Below is a small excerpt:
"...the new GI Bill, which began disbursing benefits last August, accomplishes some new and equally important things. It not only helps veterans further their educations, it gives them the means to access the best that U.S. higher education has to offer. To date, the new GI Bill has issued nearly $1.9 billion in benefit payments. The Veterans Administration expects it to ultimately benefit more than 200,000 people."
Shalala Outlines Benefits of New GI Bill (Washington Post)
OPINIONS: IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME TO CONVERT TO AN ALL-DIRECT-LOAN PROGRAM? V. NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO CONVERT
The Chronicle of Higher Education ran these two opposing opinions on the direct-loan program debate, one arguing that the timing is right, the other arguing the timing is wrong.
Is Now the Right Time to Convert to an All-Direct-Loan Program?
Now is the Right Time to Convert to an All-Direct-Loan Program