U.S. Department of Education Announces Process for TEACH Grant Reconsideration

As the U.S. Department of Education is engaging in negotiated rulemaking on the TEACH grants, the Department announced that it is opening a process for reconsideration of conversion. TEACH grant recipients study to teach in a high-need field and commit to teaching in a high-need school in their chosen field for 4 years. Recipients have an 8-year window in which to complete these 4 years of service. If a TEACH grant recipient does not complete this service, the grant funds received convert to Direct Unsubsidized Federal Loan. For those TEACH grant recipients whose grant(s) were converted to loan(s) and who met or are meeting the TEACH grant service requirements, a reconsideration can be requested.

The Department shares the following on its webpage:

If you met or are meeting the TEACH Grant service requirements within the eight-year service obligation period, but had your grants converted to loans because you did not comply with the annual certification requirement, you can request reconsideration of those conversions.

AACTE at the Table for Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is moving forward with negotiated rulemaking around a large number of issues dealing with federal student financial aid in the Higher Education Act, commonly known as “Title IV,” and AACTE will be at the table. Last fall, the Department put out a call for nominations for negotiators to be part of a full committee and three subcommittees, and this week announced the list of negotiators, which includes 18 AACTE member institutions.

The full committee will cover issues around accreditation and innovation, and the subcommittees will advise the full committee on the following issues: faith-based entities, distance learning, and TEACH grants. The first committee and subcommittees sessions will take place next week, January 14–18.

In addition to AACTE member participation, I will be representing the Association and its members on the TEACH grant subcommittee. Negotiators also include a number of AACTE partners. To see the full list of negotiators for the full committee and each of the subcommittees, along with the supporting materials, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Would you like to learn more about the law that establishes the processes around negotiated rulemaking? Review the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990, or read a five-page summary of the negotiated rulemaking process.

Register for November 2018 Federal Update Webinar

With the election over, Congress returns to Washington, D.C. to wrap up the year—and for some members, their time in Washington. As the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate start the lame-duck session, some attention is turning to the 116th Congress that begins in January.

With Congress finishing the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill on time (September 30), it is important to remember that a large portion of the federal government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR). With a deadline of December 7, the CR brings with it contention and the potential for a government shutdown. It is also unclear what else the Republican majority will want to do in the last weeks of its leadership in the House and what the Senate can get done as well.

FY18 Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Recipients announced

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) named the 2018 recipients of the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program on Friday, September 28. In total, the DOE funded 17 grantees from the $43.1 million appropriated by the U.S. Congress in the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill.

The TQP grant program is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education (IHEs). To be an eligible grant recipient, the IHE must offer a baccalaureate or graduate program in education, and collaborate with PK-12 partners. Other requirements include the IHE’s educator preparation program and college of arts and sciences work in partnership with a high-need school or schools in a local, high-need district. This helps prepare teacher candidates to teach in high-need fields by providing practical experience in these schools during their training. The innovative partnerships between IHEs and PK-12 schools transform educator preparation programs as well as provide benefits to teachers in the classroom.

FY19 Spending Bill Heads to Finish Line

On Thursday, September 13, 2018, a spending deal was reached on both the Department of Defense and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (labor-H) spending bills. These two bills were combined into one bill by the U.S. Senate and sent to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The two bodies then went into conference on the package, and a deal was reached. The next steps are to pass the agreement, known as a conference report, before the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2018).

FY19 Appropriations Move Forward as Election Season Kicks Into High Gear

As the focus of Congress turns toward accumulating “wins” for members to use to get re-elected, the appropriations process has taken an unexpected turn – work is getting done.

As I have shared with AACTE members in recent Federal Update webinars, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL, chair of appropriations in the U.S. Senate) and Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ, chair of appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives) committed to seeing the appropriations process return to “normal” this year–and that commitment is coming to fruition. By the end of June, the Senate had moved all 12 appropriations bills through subcommittee and full committee, and the House is on track to do so by the August recess.

Federal FY19 Appropriations on the Move

On June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) moved its Fiscal Year 2019 bill through markup. Despite the FY19 increase of $18 billion for nondefense discretionary funds from the deal made earlier this year, the House FY19 Labor-H bill received no additional funds (the Labor-H bill contains about 32% of the nondefense discretionary funds found across all federal agencies).

Given this challenge, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the programs that AACTE advocates for receive level funding or a small increase:

New Advocacy Resource: TEACH Grant Vignettes

As reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) continues in Congress, AACTE is unveiling a new resource to support members in their advocacy efforts with members of Congress. The TEACH Grant Vignettes, collected in 2017 and 2018, provide powerful narratives on the significance that the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants have on access and financial assistance for teacher candidates.

Here is a sample vignette from an undergraduate grant recipient at Northern Kentucky University:

Register Today for June Federal Update Webinar

The federal appropriations season for Fiscal Year 2019 is kicking into high gear during the month of June, with committee markups of the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill scheduled in both the House and Senate. On top of that, there is a growing possibility that the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, a problematic bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), will come to the floor of the House for a vote in June.

Whether or not you just attended AACTE’s Washington Week, this is a great opportunity to continue growing your advocacy capacity by staying informed – there have been numerous developments in this past week alone! We encourage you to watch the webinar with your students and colleagues, as the content covered in the webinar can help inform their advocacy for the profession.

Gangone Testifies to Federal School Safety Commission

On June 6, while AACTE members and partners were on Capitol Hill advocating for educator preparation as part of AACTE’s Day on the Hill, Association President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone was testifying before the Federal School Safety Commission at a listening session at the U.S. Department of Education.

The Commission, tasked with quickly providing meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school and headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is composed of the leadership of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Last week’s meeting was the fourth since the Commission’s inception in March of this year and the first public listening session.

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