DC Digest - June 1, 2012
In Today's Issue:
- Duke and UNC Presidents Urge NC Senators to Oppose Cuts to NSF PoliSci Program
- Why Student Aid is NOT Driving Up College Costs
- Republican Leaders Offer Two New Offsets for Student Loan Interest Rate Fix
- Slow Progress on FY13 Appropriations Bills
- Education Dept puts $8.7 Million into College-Savings Project for Needy Students
- NEA Awards First Research Grants
DUKE AND UNC PRESIDENTS URGE NC SENATORS TO OPPOSE CUTS TO NSF POLISCI PROGRAM
Duke President Richard Brodhead and UNC System President Thomas Ross sent letters to Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan on May 25 urging them to oppose any efforts to cut funding to the National Science Foundation's Political Science Program during the Senate’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.
Earlier this month, the House approved its version of the FY13 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill with an amendment that would de-fund political science research.
Brodhead-Ross Letter to Senator Burr (pdf)
SLOW PROGRESS ON FY13 APPROPRIATIONS BILLS
The House and Senate continue making slow progress on the FY13 appropriations process.
The House Appropriations Committee has approved seven out of 12 funding bills, two of which—Commerce-Justice-Science and Military Construction-Veterans —have passed the House. The other FY13 appropriations bills that have been approved in full committee are: Defense, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Operations. Still pending in subcommittee are Agriculture, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has also approved seven of its 12 bills: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy & Water, Homeland Security, Military Construction-Veterans, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-HUD. Still pending in subcommittee are Defense, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, and Legislative Branch.
Senate leaders had expected to take their first bill, Commerce-Justice-Science, to the floor shortly. However, CQ.com reports that consideration may be delayed over new concerns that the National Weather Service reprogrammed FY12 funds without the approval of Congress. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has said she intends to ask Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to delay moving their bill until questions about the Weather Service reprogramming are answered.
Status of Appropriations Legislation for FY13 (thomas.loc.gov)
REPUBLICAN LEADERS OFFER TWO NEW OFFSETS FOR STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATE FIX
House and Senate Republican leaders yesterday offered two new proposals for covering the cost of keeping the interest rate on student loans from doubling to 6.8 percent on July 1, reports the Washington Post. The issue has been stalemated over dueling House and Senate proposals for covering the $6 billion cost of maintaining the current 3.4 percent interest rate for one year.
In a letter to President Obama, the four top Republican leaders suggested that the cost of keeping the lower interest rate for one year could be paid for by increasing the amount that federal employees contribute to their retirement accounts, or by a combination of three cost-saving proposals, including limiting the duration of borrowers’ in-school interest subsidy to 150 percent of the normal time needed to complete their educational programs.
The Post reports that the letter was sent to the President a few hours after Speaker Boehner told House Republicans in a private meeting that he did not expect Congress to reach a compromise on the issue before July 1, requiring a retroactive fix.
The Senate last week rejected both a Democratic plan (S. 2343) to pay for the one-year extension by eliminating a tax break for certain corporations and the Republican House-passed plan (H.R. 4628), which would eliminate funding for a preventive health fund created by the Affordable Care Act.
GOP Leaders Press President Obama on Preventing Student Loan Rate Hike (speaker.gov)
Hill GOP Leaders Make New Offer to Obama in Fight Over Student Loan Rates (Washington Post)
WHY STUDENT AID IS NOT DRIVING UP COLLEGE COSTS
David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, writes in an opinion piece appearing in the Washington Post:
The re-emergence of the so-called Bennett hypothesis in policy discussions, media coverage, and federal appropriations threatens to make a bad situation worse. According to the hypothesis, named after former Education Secretary William Bennett, who promoted the notion in the 1980s, student aid has allegedly given colleges and universities “license” to increase tuition, meaning that federal student aid has not made higher education more accessible or more affordable.
There is not a shred of empirical evidence of a causal relationship between federal student aid and tuition increases at public and private nonprofit institutions, including institutions with high published prices and large endowments.
Why Student Aid is NOT Driving Up College Costs (Washington Post)
ED DEPT. PUTS $8.7 MILLION INTO COLLEGE-SAVINGS PROJECT FOR NEEDY STUDENTS
The U.S. Department of Education will put $8.7-million into a project to open college-savings accounts for low-income middle- and high-school students, the department announced on Thursday. The College Savings Account Research Demonstration Project will support college-savings accounts and financial counseling for 10,000 participants in the GEAR UP program, which aims to prepare disadvantaged students for college. The effort will also analyze the effect of the college-savings accounts by studying how students who receive them compare with a control group.
Ed Dept Releases Proposal to Help Thousands of Disadvantaged Students Access College Through Savings Accounts (ed.gov)
NEA AWARDS FIRST RESEARCH GRANTS
For the first time in the 47-year history of the National Endowment for the Arts, the agency's Office of Research & Analysis will award grants to 15 research projects to investigate the value and impact of the arts in the United States. These grants, totaling $250,000, support projects designed to use existing, high-quality datasets to examine novel and significant research questions about the arts. The grantees are from 11 states and their awards range from $10,000 to $30,000.
For the First Time in its History, the National Endowment for the Arts Awards Grants for Arts Research (arts.gov)