Registration Open: July 2019 Federal Update Webinar

Capital Rotunda and US flag

As Congress rolls into August recess, what is on the “must do” list for September and beyond? Will a budget deal emerge to raise the caps on both defense and non-defense discretionary funds? Could the government default on its debt, or will Congress raise the debt ceiling? What about the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations deadline of September 30? Is the government going to shut down? Is the Higher Education Act reauthorization in motion or stalled, and what does either one mean for fall congressional activity?

These questions and more will be explored in this AACTE member exclusive webinar. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the AACTE Advocacy Center federal page.

Register today!

July 30, 2019      5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT                      

July 31, 2019      11:00 a.m. – 12 noon EDT            

Note: Like the Congress, AACTE Federal Update Webinars is taking an August recess. Watch for the blog post announcing the September Federal Update Webinars for dates and times. 

Congress is in for a Long Summer

Early morning traffic near the U.S. Capital
Congress came back to Washington this week with a boatload of work to do in the short few weeks before the next recess, in August. It could be a long hot summer.

First up: Budget and Funding

When Congress left for July 4 recess, the House had passed almost all of the 12 required funding bills and the Senate had not begun with any of the 12 bills. September 30 marks the end of the fiscal year; without the new spending bills signed into law, a government shutdown will be in the offing. With Congress scheduled to be in recess most of August, the pressure is on.

The holdup is the budget—or the overall spending cap, which the House, the Senate, and the White House must agree to pass. While the House adopted its own budget caps, they are higher than those that the Senate or the White House will accept. Added to the mix is the pending need to raise the debt ceiling (this is the borrowing limit for the federal government, which routinely needs to be raised to avoid default). Thus, the pressure is on from three corners: budget, FY 2020 funding bills, and debt ceiling.  These three dire needs are in the mix together and there is an effort to wrap their resolution into one package—possibly before the August recess. Learn more.

Senate Confirms New Higher Education Leader for Department of Education

What Should Educators Keep an Eye on in Washington this Summer?

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Congress is headed out of town today for the week-long July 4 recess next week.  Check your local July 4 parades and picnics—Members of Congress often show up there and it is a great time to connect with them!

 What Can we Expect When Congress Returns July 8?

  • Congressional Schedule
    The Congress returns July 8 for about four weeks. Then they head into the August recess.  They will be back for about four weeks in September. This equals about 27 legislative days left before the October 1 beginning of the FY 2020 fiscal year. Conventional wisdom holds that the closer we get to being all consumed by the next election, the less Congress will get done. Time is short, but there are always surprises!
  • Appropriations
    Once again, we may be facing a government shutdown in October. Before that time all 12 appropriations bills must be completed, and some action on the debt ceiling must be taken. (The debt ceiling is when the government is about to exceed its borrowing authority and thus, must increase the amount it can borrow, in order for the government to continue to function.) This is a tall order with only 27 legislative days.
  • Higher Education Act
    The Senate HELP Committee has been working for months on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Yet the long-awaited draft has yet to materialize.  The big hold up appears to be how colleges and universities should respond to allegations of sexual assault on campus—a provision housed in Title IX of federal civil rights law.  In fact, HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) asked a bipartisan group of six senators to meet to try to resolve this issue. 

What Should We be Watching in the Federal Agencies?

Massive Spending Bill Passes House with Large Increases for Education

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Today makes summer official! The House has certainly given us something to celebrate!

    1.  Massive Spending Bill Passes House with Large Increases for Education!
      Education advocates are taking a moment to rejoice in a funding bill (H.R. 2740) that passed the House this week (with a vote count of 226-223) calling for a record high level of spending for the Department of Education bringing total investments to $75.9 billion. Big winners in the bill include Title I, special education and social emotional learning.  Notably, the bill cuts funding for charter schools by 10%.

      The rejoicing is tinged with the knowledge that this is as good as it will get for education spending. Unfortunately, the Senate will not have numbers this high, as the budget caps, which are yet to be determined, will undoubtedly require lower figures. And the Trump Administration has indicated that it would veto this bill. 

      The focus now turns to the Senate where Appropriations chair Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has indicated that they will begin moving bills in July. But that pesky budget deal lurks around the corner.

      See the CEF charts on individual education program funding.

AACTE Member Exclusive: June Federal Update Webinars


As we transition into summer in the northern hemisphere, timing for the U.S. Congress gets tight and tighter. August recess looms with a short time frame to wrap up the work on the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process in September. How many of the 12 bills waiting to be passed will be completed by September 30? How many agencies will operate under a Continuing Resolution? Will there be a deal to raise the caps on non-defense and defense discretionary spending? When will the federal government reach its debt ceiling and how does that impact the appropriations process? And what is unfolding with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act?

The AACTE June 2019 Federal Update webinars will share the latest on these questions in this members-only opportunity. Plus there is always time to get your questions answered at the end of the webinar, including topics or happenings that were not covered in the update.

We offer the webinar on two different days and at different times to accommodate schedules and time zones, and we will also post a recording on the AACTE Advocacy Center’s federal page so you can stay in the know even if you cannot attend in person.

Register today!

Tuesday, June 18, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT

Wednesday, June 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT  

Washington Update: Budget and Appropriations

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

After a 10-day Memorial Day recess, Congress returned for a brief three-day session and then hit the road again. They will roar back into town next week with a plate full of funding issues to address.

  1. Budget and Appropriations: House on the Move!

The House

Democrats are vigorously exercising their hard-won majority in the House by moving rapidly on spending bills for FY 2020. By early next week all 12 appropriations bills will have moved through Committee markups and be ready to go to the House floor. House leadership has announced its intent to see all 12 bills passed by the end of June! 

Grant Opportunity for Hispanic-Serving Institutions


The Department of Education is seeking Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) applicants to apply for a portion of a new $24 million developmental grant created to address low completion rates among Hispanic postsecondary students.

This new grant is open to all HSIs that demonstrate a commitment to developing ways to identify and address the strengths and weaknesses of their institution’s enrollment, retention, and support for Hispanic and low-income students. The Department of Education will support projects designed to expand the number of Hispanic students at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional level and that help to facilitate their rates of graduation. HSI programs hoping to use the grant to expand and enhance the academic offerings, program quality, faculty quality, and institutional stability of colleges and universities that serve a majority of Hispanic students are encouraged to apply.

Awards will not exceed $600,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The deadline for applying for these FY19 awards is July 15, 2019.

Those institutions interested in applying are encourages to visit grants.gov.

Do you have questions about this announcement? Please contact me at wcummings@aacte.org

Washington Updates: Student Aid, Brown vs. Board of Education 65 Years Later

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Today marks the 65th Anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court landmark decision that established the principle that separate is not equal. How far have we come? Much to contemplate here. You will see below that a House education panel spoke loud and clear on that topic: we have a long way to go. 

  1. Trump Proposes Taking More Funds from Pell Grants – to Fund Moonshot? Huh?

This week President Trump submitted to Congress some revisions to his original budget request. Notably, he took back the proposed cut he originally made for Special Olympics (after great bipartisan outrage); but he also added a new cut in the form of an additional $1.9 billion to the Pell grant surplus. It appears that the Pell cut would go toward funding the President’s proposed 2024 NASA moonshot! Education advocates were outraged. As Jon Fansmith of the American Council on Education put it: “Do I want to make college more expensive to fund space travel to the moon and Mars?” Hmmmm …

The President had already requested a $2 billion cut in Pell funding.  So the total $3.9 billion recission would result in the Pell surplus being exhausted by 2022! This request is likely to be ignored on Capitol Hill, as no one—Republican or Democrat—ever really contemplated cutting Special Olympics.  And while the Pell Surplus has been modestly raided in the past, a $3.9 billion cut is highly unlikely. 

Register Today for a May 2019 Federal Update Webinar

May has the Congress working hard! The U.S. House of Representatives (House) is moving forward at an intense pace on the 12 appropriations bills, moving the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill through the full committee first.

What are the funding levels for programs important for the profession? Where are the House and the U.S. Senate on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act? What else is unfolding that could impact the profession? These topics and more will be covered in the AACTE member exclusive May 2019 Federal Update webinar, offered on two different days and at different times of the day to accommodate member schedules. A recording of the webinar and the slides will be posted on the AACTE Advocacy Center’s federal page.

Register for the webinar that fits your schedule:

May 21, 2019     5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT 

Registration Link

May 22, 2019     11 a.m. – 12 noon EDT

Registration Link

Washington Update: Federal Investment in Public Education

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

I’m downright excited to have some GREAT news to report from Washington! Some of our leaders want to increase the federal INVESTMENT in public education!  Hallelujah. 

  1. House Moves Expansive Education Funding Bill through 8 Hour Marathon Mark up

This week Chair of the House Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) successfully moved her spending bill out of the full Appropriations Committee.  The bill retains its overall 6% increase for education from last fiscal year, bringing the Department of Education to $75.9 Billion, and features significant increases for key education programs.

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