Earlier today, the White House released a budget overview and the budget tables for the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request. At 1:30 on April 10th, the U.S. Department of Education will hold a briefing to discuss the President’s education requests. The briefing will be held in the Department’s Auditorium in the LBJ Building, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, in Washington DC.
The briefing will also be live streamed for those outside of the DC area.
UPDATE: Here is the Department of Education portion of the budget.
Two ideas of note for higher education a higher education Race to the Top and introducing a market interest rate for student loans. Senators Alexander, Burr and Coburn introduced a bill yesterday that would accomplish the student loan reform proposed by the President in the budget, although there may be a difference on the exact terms of the interest rate – so perhaps there is a consensus on this proposal. The Race to the Top proposal appears to be the proposal raised in last year’s budget:
A Higher Education Race to the Top (RTT) Competition.
Building on the success of this program in both early education and k-12 education, the Department of Education will shift the focus of RTT in 2014 to promoting comprehensive reforms in postsecondary education. The Budget provides $1 billion to support competitive grants to States that commit to driving comprehensive change in their higher education policies and practices, while doing more to contain their tuition and make it easier for students to afford a college education. This change establishes RTT as a fund that promotes system-wide reform efforts and can shift its focus each year to support the most promising and comprehensive solutions to strengthen public education and improve outcomes from preschool through college.
Makes Student Loan Interest Rates More Market-Based.
Under current law, interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans are slated to rise this summer from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. At a time when the economy is still recovering and market interest rates remain low, the Budget proposes a cost-neutral reform to set interest rates so they more closely follow market rates, and to provide students with more affordable repayment options. The rate on new loans would be set each year based on a market interest rate, which would remain fixed for the life of the loan so that student borrowers would have certainty about the rates they would pay. The Budget also expands repayment options to ensure that student borrowers do not have to pay more than 10 percent of their discretionary income on loan payments.
There is no doubt that the current budget battles happening in Washington DC will have an impact on education issues. The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, has issued a number of reports that provide helpful insight on some of the events going on in DC:
The “Fiscal Cliff” and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
Reaching the Debt Limit: Background and Potential Effects on Government Operations
The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
And for those of us that need an “I’m Just a Bill“-like refresher on US Government:
Introduction to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress
Overview of the Authorization-Appropriations Process
Budget Reconciliation Legislation: Development and Consideration
Entitlements and Appropriated Entitlements in the Federal Budget Process
And, in case you don’t remember — and didn’t watch the clip — the bill in “I’m Just a Bill” was to require school buses to stop at railroad tracks.
Status of Appropriations Amendment that Would Prohibit Use of Title IV Funds for Advertising
Recently, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed Labor-HHS appropriations bill S.3295 incorporating an amendment (Section 309, which amends Section 119 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act), first proposed by Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), that restricts the use of federal funds in admissions activities.
The “Hagan Amendment” prohibits institutions of higher education from using any federal funds “disbursed or delivered to an institution on behalf of a student or to a student to be used to attend the institution,” on certain marketing and advertising activities. This would, at a minimum, include all Title IV and military education funds, and would likely include funds provided under Department of Labor programs (Workforce Investment Act) and certain Department of Health and Human Service programs (loans to students pursuing health professions) as well.
The bill prohibits using such funds for a number of activities: Continue Reading