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Education Archive

 Weekly Update – August 25, 2008

 Higher Education Act Signed Into Law

On August 14th President Bush signed H.R. 4137, the "Higher Education Opportunity Act," which reauthorizes and makes changes to higher education programs. The bill includes provisions that simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, require institutions and lenders to adopt strict codes of conduct, increase college aid and support for veterans and military families, and expand Pell Grants.

 Weekly Update – August 1, 2008

 Higher Education Act Reauthorization Passes House and Senate

On Thursday, July 29, the House passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HR 4137) on a 380 to 49 vote. The Senate also passed the bill 83-8 on Thursday, sending it to the White House where President Bush is expected to sign it.

Long overdue, the bill sets higher education policy for the next five years. The final bill would increase the maximum authorized Pell grant for low-income students to $8,000 a year by the 2014-15 academic year – up from $5,800 -- and would allow grants to be used year-round and by part-time students.

Weekly Update – July 15, 2008

Higher Education Act Reauthorization Delayed

We have reported for months that negotiators were near completion of the first long-term, comprehensive renewal of the Higher Education Act (PL 105-244) in a decade, but two provisions in the House version of the bill (HR 4137) have led to a delay in completion of an agreement. The unexpected illness and absence of the bill’s lead sponsor, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (MA) have also complicated the process.

Senator Kennedy transferred negotiating responsibilities to Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD) in May, and she said before the July 4th recess that she and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (CA) hoped to reach a final deal shortly after lawmakers returned from recess. Nevertheless, there has been no new movement. The largest impediment is a “maintenance of effort” provision in the House version of the bill that penalizes states financially if they reduce their financial contributions to higher education. A second issue is a House provision that expands an aid program for historically African-American colleges and universities to increase the number of students pursuing Ph.D.s. to include those pursuing a master’s degree.

The seventh extension of the existing law, which authorizes programs under the law through July 31, was signed by President Bush on June 3.

Weekly Update – May 30, 2008

 House Aims to Garner Top Talent for Federal Workforce

Last week, before the House of Representatives adjourned for the Memorial Day recess, Representatives David Price (NC) and Christopher Shays (CT) introduced the Roosevelt Shays Act (HR6160) in response to the pending brain-drain in the federal workforce. According to the federal Office of Personnel Management, one third of the government’s top scientists, engineers, physicians, mathematicians, economists and other highly skilled workers will retire in the next five years. The new bi-partisan legislation aims to replenish the number of talented professionals employed by the federal government.

The Roosevelt Act would establish an elite scholarship program to fund graduate-level study in exchange for a civil service commitment in targeted, mission-critical occupational areas across the federal government in addition to creating a Foundation to administer and manage the scholarship program.

 Weekly Update – May 23, 2008

 HEA Legislation Delayed and Extended Yet Again

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy's (MA) absence from the Senate chamber due to his weekend hospitalization delayed negations to resolve differences between House and Senate higher education bills (HR4137, S1642) before the Memorial Day recess. Textbook costs and new penalties for states that slash funding to higher education are two polarizing items that still need to be worked out during negations on the higher education law (PL105-244) this summer.

On Tuesday, May 20, 2008, by voice vote, Congress extended the Higher Education Act (S3035) for another month after the current legislation expires next week due to Senator Kennedy's illness. Tuesday's passage of S3035 marks the sixth short-term extension of the higher education law (PL105-244).

 Weekly Update – May 16, 2008

 Conference Report on HEA Reauthorization Bill

Following the fifth short-term extension of the Higher Education Act this year passed just last week, Congress appears close to reaching accord on a conference report of the bill to overhaul the law. Following weeks of debate, Congress is once again focused on the higher education legislation which sets policy for federal aid to colleges, universities and students.

Congressional aides working on the compromise bill have reached tentative agreement on several sections of the measure, and a draft of the agreements reached so far is being circulated in Washington this week. With just about a week until legislators return to their districts for the Memorial Day recess, it is still unclear whether action on the conference report can be completed before Congress adjourns.

Weekly Update – May 9, 2008

House Chamber Passes HEA Extension

On Tuesday, May 6, 2008, the House of Representatives approved a short-term extension of the Higher Education Act of 1965 by a vote of 408-0 -- after the Senate had already cleared their one-month extension (S 2929) on April 29 -- one day before the previous one (PL 110-198) expired. Republican opposition to the passage of the extension in the House earlier this week was motivated by party objections to Democrats’ handling of the supplemental war funding bill.

The Higher Education Act (PL 105-244), which strengthens the educational resources of the nation’s colleges and universities, and extends financial assistance to students in post secondary and higher education, has not had a full rewrite in a decade. The new extension will give members of Congress until May 31 to complete negotiations on a more substantive extension and overhaul of the original Act of 1965. Both Congressman George Miller (CA) and Senator Edward Kennedy (MA) hope to reconcile the House and Senate versions (HR 4137, S 1642) and clear a final bill before the Memorial Day recess.

 Weekly Update – May 2, 2008

HEA Lapses in House in Republican Protest Over War Supplemental

On Wednesday, April 30, 2008, the primary law authorizing the nation’s student loan, aid and grant programs lapsed in the House. On Tuesday, April 29, 2008, by voice vote, Senate lawmakers approved a one-month extension of the Higher Education Act (S 2929) through May 31. House Democratic leaders tried to clear the bill by voice vote, but Minority Leader John Boehner (OH) objected, and the House did not clear it before the law expired.

Representative Boehner and other Republicans are angry that House Democrats may skip the Appropriations Committee markup process and bring the war funding bill directly to the House floor. Negotiators are making progress on legislation to overhaul and renew HEA, but did not have a deal ready to move by Wednesday, when the current short-term extension (PL 110-198)—the fourth this year—expired.

 Weekly Update – April 18, 2008.

Negotiations for Higher Education Act Reauthorization Underway

House and Senate Education Committee leaders on both sides of the aisle have been in discussion concerning the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Negotiators have made progress toward producing a compromise reauthorization bill, but a few contentious issues might delay completion until at least next month. The most contentious issue is believed to be a House provision supported by Chairman George Miller (CA) that would deduct the federal aid of states that slash their higher education funding to a level less than a rolling average of the previous five years.

 Weekly Update – March 7, 2008

Higher Education Conference Negotiations Postponed Until After March Recess

The Higher Education Act reauthorization bill will not come to the floor in either chamber until after the March recess. Members have been informally negotiating the House (HR4137) and Senate (S1642) bills since the House passed its measure on February 7 on a 354-58 vote. The Senate passed its higher education legislation 95-0 on July 24 of last year.

The underlying law (PL 105-244) has not been fully renewed for 10 years. Because of the delay in reaching a compromise, Congress will be required to pass another extension of the law, as the latest extension (PL 110-109), which is the third in this Congress, expires on March 31.

The lead Senate sponsor, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Senator Ted Kennedy (MA), said on Wednesday, March 5, that he and House counterpart, House Education and Labor Committee George Miller (CA), hope to have compromise legislation ready sometime after the two-week recess at the end of March.

Weekly Update – February 29, 2008

Pre-Conference Begins on the Higher Education Act Reauthorization

Staff members on the Senate and House Education committees have begun “pre-conference” discussions on reconciling their versions of the Higher Education Act reauthorization bills. According to Staff, it is expected to be a “month-long-plus” Conference and will probably not be finished before the latest extension of the act expires March 29. Their goal is to complete the conference in April.

The bills have some significant differences with cost being one of the most striking. The House legislation authorizes over $40 billion more than the Senate version - $53.6 billion over five years for the Senate measure and $97.4 billion for the House. In addition, the House measure calls for a much larger increase in the maximum-authorized Pell Grant, from the current $4,300 to $9,000 in the House bill compared to only $6,300 in the Senate bill. The Pell Grant increase accounts for $67 billion of the House bill's cost.

Weekly Update – February 15, 2008

Negotiations on Higher Education Reauthorization to Begin Soon

It is anticipated that staff from the House Education and Labor and the Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committees will soon begin discussions prior to a Conference Committee to resolve the differences between their Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bills. A Conference Committee is expected to meet in the next 6-8 weeks.

The current HEA extension expires on March 31, 2008.

Weekly Update – February 8, 2008

House Passes Higher Education Act Reauthorization

On Thursday, February 8, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved (354-58) legislation to renew the Higher Education Act of 1965, the primary laws governing colleges, universities, and federal student aid. The College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137) sets higher education policy for the next five years.

Specifically the legislation:

Contains a $20 billion increase in federal student aid, the largest boost since the G.I. Bill of 1944, according to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (CA); Authorizes the maximum level for the Pell Grant to $9,000 a year from the current school year award of about $4,300; Simplifies the federal financial aid process for students; Includes measures requiring colleges to disclose their relationships with lenders and banning banks that issue federally backed loans from giving gifts and entering into profit-sharing agreements with colleges; and Requires textbook publishers to disclose the price of books when they sell them to teachers and ends a practice in which publishers sell books and supplemental materials together, which can drive up costs for students. The bill will now head to Conference with the Senate.

Weekly Update – February 1, 2008

House Higher Education Vote to Take Place Next Week

According to the House Education and Labor Committee, the House is expected to vote on Thursday, February 7 on the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (H.R. 4137), the comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The legislation would set higher education policy for the next five years and address such issues as rising college costs, lender/financial aid professional relationships, simplification of the financial aid application process, and loan forgiveness for national need occupations, among others.

The last major action was completed by the Committee on November 14, 2007. The House Committee on Rules is slated to meet to report out a rule on the bill next Wednesday, with the full chamber set to vote the following day. If approved, a House-Senate conference committee will have to work out differences between HR 4137 and the Senate version (S 1642) passed by a 95-0 vote on July 24, 2007.

Weekly Update – January 4, 2008

Higher Education Amendments Become Law

On December 21, 2007 the President signed S. 2371 to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make technical corrections regarding untaxed income and benefits, Income-Based Repayment for married borrowers filing separately and Teach Grants.

A comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act was not completed during the first session of the 110th Congress and is expected to be on the agenda in the second session.

Weekly Update – November 16, 2007

The House Education and Labor Committee Approved Higher Education Act Renewal

On Thursday, November 15, the House Education and Labor Committee unanimously approved a five-year comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the primary federal law expanding college access for low and middle-income students. The College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (H.R. 4137) would reform and strengthen the nation’s higher education programs to ensure that they operate in the best interests of students and families.

The bill is likely to go to the House floor shortly after the Thanksgiving break. The Senate passed its version by a 95-0 vote in July. This bill would complement the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 that was signed into law on September 27, which slashed subsidies to lenders such as Sallie Mae, in order to boost the funds available for student aid. This legislation strengthens those previously approved provisions to avoid further conflicts of interest in the student loan industry.

The bill would increase the maximum authorized Pell grant for low-income college students to $9,000 per year, from $5,800, and would allow the grants to be used year-round. In addition, the legislation would address the rising cost of college by encouraging colleges to limit price increases, ensuring that states maintain their commitments to higher education funding, and providing students and families with consumer friendly information on college pricing and the factors driving tuition increases.

The legislation would also streamline the federal student financial aid application process; make textbook costs more manageable for students; strengthen college readiness programs; increase college aid and support programs for veterans and military families; improve safety on college campuses and help schools recover and rebuild after a disaster; ensure equal college opportunities and fair learning environments for students with disabilities; and strengthen our nation’s workforce and economic competitiveness by boosting science, technology, and foreign language educational opportunities.

Weekly Update - October 26, 2007

House Passes another Higher Education Act Extension

On Tuesday, October 22 the House approved “The Third Higher Education Extension Act of 2007” which provides for an unrevised six-month extension of the Higher Education Act through April 30, 2008. The move marks the ninth temporary extension of HEA since 2003.

Weekly Update - October 5, 2007

House Republicans Introduce Higher Education Legislation

On October 4, 2007 House Education and Labor Committee Republicans introduced H.R. 3746, the College Access and Opportunity Act, that builds upon reforms proposed by Republicans in recent years to expand college access, accountability, and affordability.

The College Access and Opportunity Act seeks to achieve Republican goals to empower higher education consumers; create common sense reforms of student financial aid programs to better serve changing student populations; and address the issue of rising college costs.

More specifically, the legislation aims to give consumers more information about what they’re paying for; establishes a college affordability comparison to help put the cost increases into perspective; protects students from financial aid conflicts of interest; makes accrediting agencies more accountable; and makes transfer of credit policies public.

In addition, it will strengthen Pell Grants; simplify the financial aid process; ensure fair treatment of institutions of higher education; strengthen federal college access programs; and support minority serving institutions.

In order to strengthen financial aid opportunities, this measure will ensure fair loan terms for parents and graduate students; create a one-stop financial aid website; and target loan forgiveness to priority fields.

Weekly Update - September 28, 2007

Bush Signs College Cost Reduction Act into Law

On Thursday, September 27, President Bush signed legislation overhauling federal student loan programs that will give needy students more help in paying for college.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which becomes effective Monday, October 1, reduces subsidies to lenders, redirects that money to allow more than $20 billion in additional grants and loans to students, and eases the repayment process for students over the next five years. It is the largest increase in federal financial help for students since the G.I. Bill.

Congress overwhelmingly backed a compromise version of the student-aid legislation earlier this month. The House approved it 292-97; the Senate vote was 79-12. All lawmakers who voted against the bill were Republicans.

The bill is the lone reconciliation measure called for under the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21), which allows members to tap into funds from federal entitlement programs and use them to expand spending on discretionary programs as long as they agree to put some of the money toward deficit reduction. This procedural maneuver was included in the budget resolution to protect it from a Senate filibuster, which would have required 60 votes to overcome.

Weekly Update – September 7, 2007

Congressional Leaders Finalize Student Aid Conference Negotiations

Both the House and the Senate are expected today to adopt the conference report accompanying the College Cost Reduction Act (HR 2669) that would cut about $20 billion from student loan lender subsidies and use the funds to increase aid to college students and reduce student loan interest rates.

Congressional leaders reached an agreement on the compromise legislation on Wednesday that essentially splits the difference between the House and Senate bills, taking elements of both. The College Cost Reduction Act reduces rates on student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over four years, and authorizes roughly $11 billion in new funding to raise the maximum amount for Pell Grants for low-income students. The legislation also includes $750 million in deficit reduction as mandated by the 2008 budget resolution.

On Thursday, September 6, President Bush withdrew his threat to veto the legislation, explaining that the compromise bill responded to his call to “significantly increase funding for Pell Grants.”

Weekly Update - August 3, 2007

House and Senate Agree on Conference Report for America Competes Act

On Thursday, August 2, Congress approved broad legislation to promote math and science skills and develop the technology needed to compete in the global economy.

The House-Senate compromise combines elements of five bills already passed by the House creating programs to encourage people to study and teach math and science, support high-risk technology research and increase funds for the National Science Foundation and other science-based agencies.

The House voted 367-57 in favor of the conference report on HR 2272, “America COMPETES Act,” while the Senate approved the bill on a voice vote.

The bill calls for spending $33.6 billion over the next three years for science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and education programs across four federal agencies.

President Bush has expressed concerns about the legislation’s funding levels and priorities, but is expected to sign it.

The Higher Education Act is Temporarily Extended

On Thursday, August 2, President Bush signed S. 1868, the “Second Higher Education Extension Act of 2007,” which extends programs under Higher Education Act of 1965 through October 31, 2007, into law.

Weekly Update – July 27, 2007

Senate Passes Higher Education Reauthorization with Bi-Partisan Consensus

On Tuesday, July 24, the Senate approved legislation to renew the primary laws governing colleges, universities, and federal student aid. The Higher Education Amendments of 2007 (S 1642) would -among many other things - raise the maximum Pell Grant to $6,300, simplify the process to apply for federal financial aid, restrict the relationships between lenders and colleges, and increase scrutiny of colleges that raise tuitions sharply. Demonstrating a rare bi-partisan consensus, the Senate passed the legislation by an overwhelming 95-0 margin.

According to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman, George Miller (CA) this bill includes critical provisions that the House has already passed in the Student Loan Sunshine Act, including those to address corrupt practices within the student loan industry. The House has yet to consider its own comprehensive legislation to strengthen and renew the Higher Education Act (PL 105-244).

The bill now awaits conference with the House. After the vote, Senator Kennedy, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, suggested that there is an “outside chance” that Congress could finish a conference on both the higher-education reauthorization and student loan industry bills before the August recess. The Senate’s action later in the day, however, indicated otherwise when they passed legislation to temporarily extend the current law for three additional months, through October 31. The current extension (PL 110-44) is set to expire on July 31.

Weekly Update – July 20, 2007

Senate Passes Bill to Boost Student Aid

Early Friday morning, the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to bolster college financial aid by about $18 billion by cutting federal subsidies to lenders.

The Higher Education Access Act of 2007 (S. 1762), approved by a 78-18 margin, would cut interest rates for student borrowers, provide loan forgiveness for graduates pursuing certain public-service careers, and cap loan repayment installments at 15 percent of monthly income.

In addition, would increase funding to low income Pell Grant recipients. The annual maximum level for Pell grants would go up in stages to $5,400 a year by 2011 from the current $4,310 maximum.

To pay for the proposal, lawmakers would cut roughly $18 billion in federal subsidies to banks that issue government-backed student loans. The measure would include $950 million in deficit reduction. Budget rules mandate that $750 million of the savings to go toward reducing the federal deficit.

The House passed its companion legislation (H.R. 2669) last week and the measure will now move to conference.

(Weekly Update – July 13, 2007)

House Passes College Financial-Aid Bill

On Wednesday, July 11, the House passed the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (HR 2669), which would bolster college financial aid by about $18 billion over the next five years and cut federal subsidies to lenders.

The bill is the lone reconciliation measure called for under the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21), which allows members to tap into funds from federal entitlement programs and use them to expand spending on discretionary programs as long as they agree to put some of the money toward deficit reduction. This procedural maneuver was included in the budget resolution to protect it from a Senate filibuster, which would require 60 votes to overcome. The legislation, however, is still at risk as the Administration has threatened to pursue a Presidential veto. In the end, the final 273-149 vote falls shy of the two-thirds vote needed to override a veto.

Democrats have called the passage of the bill the “single largest effort to help students pay for college since the GI Bill.” The legislation, would increase Pell Grant scholarships by $500 over the next five years, cut interest rates on need-based loans in half, and allow forgiveness of loans for those in public service professions and provide for nearly $1 billion in deficit reduction.

House Education Committee Republican Ranking Member Howard “Buck” McKeon (CA) led yesterday’s Republican effort to scale back on entitlement spending and redirect a larger amount of reconciliation funds to increase Pell Grants. His amendment proposed a reduction in student loan subsidies to fund a Pell Grant increase of $350 for FY 2008 and $100 thereafter. It was defeated 239-181.

Over the next few weeks, attention will turn to the Senate’s companion legislation, the Higher Education Access Act of 2007. The lender subsidy cuts contained in the Senate bill are slightly lower than those approved in H.R. 2669. The chamber is expected to take up its reconciliation measure later this month; a conference will then be required.

(Weekly Update – July 3, 2007)

Legislation to Prepare Workers for 'Green Collar' Jobs to Fight Global Warming

On Wednesday, June 27, the House Education and Labor Committee passed The Green Jobs Act of 2007 (HR 2847), by a vote of 26 to 18. The bill, introduced by Congressman Hilda Solis (CA) and Congressman John Tierney (MA), authorizes up to $125 million in funding to establish national and state job training programs to help train American workers for jobs in the renewable energy and energy-efficiency industries.

The Green Jobs Act would also help identify and track the new jobs and skills needed to grow renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. Among other things, this effort would link research and development in the green industry to job standards and training curricula.

The new job training programs would create jobs to put workers on a path to financial self-sufficiency. Funding for the programs could be used to pay for occupational training, as well as for support services for workers entering the training program, such as child care. Priority for these training programs would be given to veterans, displaced workers, and at-risk youth.

(Los Angeles Annual Meeting - June 21-23, 2007)


On June 6, by a voice vote, the House of Representative passed a temporary extension of programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965. Section 2(a) of the Higher Education Extension Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-81) is amended by striking ‘June 30, 2007’ and inserting ‘October 31, 2007.’

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. If enacted the extension gives Congress an additional four months to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.


On June 14, eighteen of the twenty-one members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee sent a letter to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in which they “respectfully” asked her to refrain from issuing any new regulations until Congress passes legislation to renew the Higher Education Act.

The U.S. Department of Education had planned to propose changes in federal regulations governing the higher education accreditation system by July, with the goal of having them take effect a year from now, before the Bush Administration ends. However, if the Department moves forward in this regard, it would be defying Congressional direction to do otherwise.

The letter from the bipartisan group of senators, who represent all but three Republicans on the Senate education panel, represents an upturn in Congressional pressure on department officials not to proceed with their plans to use the federal regulatory process to try and transform the higher education’s system of self-regulation. Those efforts, which grew from the work last year of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education have been controversial among many accreditors and college officials, who have accused the Department of seeking changes that are not supported in underlying federal laws governing accreditation, which have not changed since 1998.

The text of the Senators’ letter and a list of signers can be seen in Appendix III. The members of the Senate panel who did not sign the letter were Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (UT), Wayne Allard (CO), and Tom Coburn (OK).

On Wednesday, June 20, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a markup of the Higher Education Access Reconciliation Act and the Higher Education Amendments of 2007.

College Cost Reduction Act of 2007

On June 14, on a 30 to 16 vote, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (H.R. 2669). Drafted by Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee George Miller (CA), the legislation would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $100 per year for five years, cap student loan payments to a manageable percentage, cut interest rates in half and cancel a student's debt after twenty years of repayment.

The bill would cut roughly $19 billion from lender and guarantor fees and redirect these funds to student aid. Republican committee members stated that the Democrat’s proposal was “extracting too much blood” from lenders.

Ranking Member Howard (Buck) McKeon (CA) offered substitute legislation that would have cut lender and guarantor payments by roughly $13.8 billion and redirected those funds to Pell grants. Additionally, his legislation would have corrected current law to equalize Direct Loan and FFEL PLUS loan rates at 7.9 percent, invested $12 billion in Pell grants to increase the maximum grant by $350 in 2008, provided approximately $2 billion for deficit reduction and created no new entitlement spending. His proposal was not approved by the Committee.

No Child Left Behind Act Reauthorization

President Bush and Congressional leaders from both parties continue to express their desire to reauthorize the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act before the August congressional recess. The present goal of both Committees is to mark up a reauthorization overhaul bill this summer. The House and Senate Education Committees have been actively holding hearings on NCLB this spring, and a draft bill is expected to start the negotiations in earnest sometime in June.

Among other provisions, the proposal will likely include changing Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) to a growth model and make it more flexible, amending the accountability model and rethinking assessments; redefining and clarifying teacher quality, and the assignment of highly qualified teachers to high-poverty schools; assessing English language learners and students with disabilities; resolving inequities among state standards and proficiency cut offs; revising the language concerning supplemental educational services and choice; rethinking the flexible use of funds and even the Title I formula; differentiating sanctions given the various level of needs schools have and forms of transformation; and addressing the controversy over whether there is too much emphasis on reading and math at the expense of other subjects or whether it is an issue of time on a subject versus courses taken.

Conventional wisdom holds that the spending bills will dominate the fall Congressional session, so if Congress fails to reauthorize NCLB before the August recess the process is likely to be pushed into 2008 or beyond.

(Weekly Update – June 16)

House Education and Labor Committee Passes College Cost Reduction Act

In response to the rising cost of higher education and the controversy surrounding the student loan industry, a bill under consideration in the House could reduce student loan interest rates, cut lender profits and forgive $5,000 in student loans for graduates who enter a social service profession.

On June 14, on a 30 to 16 vote, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (H.R. 2669). Drafted by Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee George Miller (CA), the legislation would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $100 per year for five years, cap student loan payments to a manageable percentage, cut interest rates in half and cancel a student's debt after twenty years of repayment.

Ranking Member Howard (Buck) McKeon (CA) offered substitute legislation that would have cut lender and guarantor payments by roughly $13.8 billion and redirected those funds to Pell grants. Additionally, his legislation would have corrected current law to equalize Direct Loan and FFEL PLUS loan rates at 7.9 percent, invested $12 billion in Pell grants to increase the maximum grant by $350 in 2008, provided approximately $2 billion for deficit reduction and created no new entitlement spending. His proposal was not approved by the Committee.

(Weekly Update – June 8, 2007)

The Higher Education Act is Temporarily Extended

On June 6, by a voice vote, the House of Representative passed a temporary extension of the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965. Section 2(a) of the Higher Education Extension Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-81) is amended by striking 'June 30, 2007' and inserting 'October 31, 2007'.

The extension gives Congress an additional four months to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

Education and Public Schools
Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell Awarded High School Reform Planning Grant from The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Press Release (4/18)
U.S. Mayor Article (5/1)

Video: Building Working Relationships: Mayors and School Superintendents
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly along with their superintendents described how and why they work together in education at the annual meeting of the Council of Great City Schools.
Click here to view the town meeting.

No Child Left Behind
Fact Sheets for Mayors
Talking Points for Mayors

  • Education Standing Committee


  • Intergovernmental Group Letter on Education Appropriations (September 13, 2004)


  • Upcoming Events and Activities
    • Council of Great City Schools Meeting to be held in Las Vegas from October 20 through 24, 2004.
    • The remaining schedule for Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative summer workshops: Anaheim (July 21-23), St. Louis (July 28-30), and Boston (August 2-4). Registration is closed, but all workshop materials will be made available through the web site below. The Research-to-Practice Summit is slated for July 20, by invitation only. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

    Mayors Outline Plans for Greater Involvement in Public Schools at Education Summit Hosted by USCM and The Broad Foundation
    Press Release (9/23)


  • After-School Programming

    After School Update on Project 2010
    Mayors who have signed on to be partners of the project for full funding and expansion of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program.

    Mayor Jerry E. Abramson, Louisville, KY
    Mayor Irma L. Anderson, Richmond, CA
    Mayor Ross C. Anderson, Salt Lake City, UT
    Mayor Alan M. Arakawa, County of Maui, HI
    Mayor Mark Asmundson, Bellingham, WA
    Mayor Alan Autry, Fresno, CA
    Mayor Scott Avedisian, Warwick, RI
    Mayor Robert A. Baines, Manchester, NH
    Mayor James M. Baker, Wilmington, DE
    Mayor Kay Barnes, Kansas City, MO
    Mayor Tom Bates, Berkeley, CA
    Mayor Gary Becker, Racine, WI
    Mayor Mark Begich, Anchorage, AK
    Mayor William V. Bell, Durham, NC
    Mayor Tony Benavides, Lansing, MI
    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York, NY
    Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Elizabeth, NJ
    Mayor Mark D. Boughton, Danbury, CT
    Mayor Spence. H. Broadhurst, Wilmington, NC
    Mayor Jane L. Campbell, Cleveland, OH
    Mayor David N. Cicilline, Providence, RI
    Mayor Robert D. Coble, Columbia, SC
    Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Columbus, OH
    Mayor Daniel Coody, Fayetteville, AR
    Mayor Roberta Cooper, Hayward, CA
    Mayor James Dailey, Little Rock, AR
    Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago, IL
    Mayor Heidi Davison, Athens, GA
    Mayor Timothy J. Davlin, Springfield, IL
    Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., New Haven, CT
    Mayor Manuel Diaz, Miami, FL
    Mayor James E. Doyle, Pawtucket, RI
    Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando, FL
    Mayor Dalton S. Edge, Chesapeake, VA
    Mayor John M. Fabrizi, Bridgeport, CT
    Mayor Richard E. Filippi, Erie, PA
    Mayor Elizabeth G. Flores, Laredo, TX
    Mayor Paul D. Fraim, Norfolk, VA
    Mayor Lois J. Frankel, West Palm Beach, FL
    Mayor Shirley Franklin, Atlanta, GA
    Mayor James A. Garner, Hempstead, NY
    Mayor Edward D. Garza, San Antonio, TX
    Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, Las Vegas, NV
    Mayor Ron Gonzales, San Jose, CA
    Mayor Robert Good, Albany, CA
    Mayor Mark Green, Union City, CA
    Mayor Michael A. Guido, Dearborn, MI
    Mayor James K. Hahn, Los Angeles, CA
    Mayor Patrick H. Hays, North Little Rock, AR
    Mayor George Heartwell, Grand Rapids, MI
    Mayor John W. Hickenlooper, Denver, CO
    Mayor Keith P. Hightower, Shreveport, LA
    Mayor Keith A. Holliday, Greensboro, NC
    Mayor Fred Homer, Laramie, WY
    Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, Pleasanton, CA
    Mayor Heather Hudson, Greenville, MS
    Mayor Timothy C. Idoni, New Rochelle, NY
    Mayor Judith Jacobson, Butte, MT
    Mayor Michael J. Jarjura, Waterbury, CT
    Mayor Gerald D. Jennings, Albany, NY
    Mayor Beverly Johnson, Alameda, CA
    Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr., Rochester, NY
    Mayor Marshall H. Kamena, Livermore, CA
    Mayor Richard J. Kaplan, Lauderhill, FL
    Mayor Vera Katz, Portland, OR
    Mayor Elizabeth A. Kautz, Burnsville, MN
    Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, Detroit, MI
    Mayor Scott L. King, Gary, IN
    Mayor Edward I. Koch, New York, NY (1978-1989)
    Mayor Stanley F. Leach, Moline, IL
    Mayor Janet Lockhart, Dublin, CA
    Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, Stamford, CT
    Mayor Judy Markowitz, Bloomington, IL
    Mayor Anthony M. Masiello, Buffalo, NY
    Mayor William M. Mattiace, Las Cruces, NM
    Mayor Patrick McCrory, Charlotte, NC
    Mayor Rhine McLin, Dayton, OH
    Mayor Susan D. Menard, Woonsocket, RI
    Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Boston, MA
    Mayor Linda Milam, Idaho Falls, ID
    Mayor Gary Monahan, Costa Mesa, CA
    Mayor Mike Moncrief, Forth Worth, TX
    Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, Annapolis, MD
    Mayor Arlene J. Mulder, Arlington Heights, IL
    Mayor Dick Murphy, San Diego, CA
    Mayor Tom Murphy, Pittsburgh, PA
    Mayor Timothy P. Murray, Worcester, MA
    Mayor C. Ray Nagin, New Orleans, LA
    Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco, CA
    Mayor Gregory J. Nickels, Seattle, WA
    Mayor Dennis J. Nordfelt, West Valley City, UT
    Mayor Chuck Oberlie, Michigan City, IN
    Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf, Virginia Beach, VA
    Mayor Martin O'Malley, Baltimore, MD
    Mayor Beverly O'Neill, Long Beach, CA
    Mayor Eric J. Perrodin, Compton, CA
    Mayor Bart Peterson, Indianapolis, IN
    Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, Huntington, NY
    Mayor John Peyton, Jacksonville, FL
    Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic, Akron, OH
    Mayor Gary A. Podesto, Stockton, CA
    Mayor Bill Purcell, Nashville, TN
    Mayor Stephen R. Reed, Harrisburg, PA
    Mayor Graham Richard, Fort Wayne, IN
    Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Charleston, SC
    Mayor Lionel Rivera, Colorado Springs, CO
    Mayor Randy Roach, Lake Charles, LA
    Mayor Joseph C. Scarpelli, Brick, NJ
    Mayor Douglas P. Scott, Rockford, IL
    Mayor Coleen L. Seng, Lincoln, NE
    Mayor Francis G. Slay, St. Louis, MO
    Mayor David W. Smith, Newark CA
    Mayor Nathan H. Smith, Portland, ME
    Mayor Wayne Smith, Irvington, NJ
    Mayor John F. Street, Philadelphia, PA
    Mayor Michael A. Sullivan, Cambridge, MA
    Mayor Charles F. Tooley, Billings, MT
    Mayor Jose Torres, Paterson, NJ
    Mayor Judith Valles, San Bernardino, CA
    Mayor Robert Wasserman, Freemont, CA
    Mayor Anthony A. Williams, District of Columbia
    Mayor Charles R. Worley, Asheville, NC
    Mayor Shelia Young, San Leandro, CA
    Mayor John T. Yunits, Jr., Brockton, MA


  • Grant Opportunities

    • "NEH 2005 Summer Seminars and Institutes". Every year, the National Endowment for the Humanities offers K-12 teachers the chance to participate in a series of Summer Seminars and Institutes on various topics in the humanities. Participants receive stipends of $2800-$3700 to cover full travel costs, living expenses, books, and other research materials. Seminars are limited to 15 participants and are led by university scholars with a special interest or expertise in the specific subject. Larger institutes of 25 to 35 students cover broader themes and are often team-taught. Past programs have taught topics in literature, music, history, art, and cultural studies, and have been held in locations like Vienna, London, New York, Washington, Ireland, and Italy. All full time teachers in American K-12 schools, as well as librarians and administrators, are eligible to apply.
      Application Deadline: 3/1/2005. (2004 information)


    • "Victor Clarke Afterschool Grants". The Victor Clarke Youth Incentive Program offers grants of up to $1,000 to afterschool nonprofits, specifically to create or maintain amateur youth radio programs. Funds can go towards the purchase or maintenance of equipment, instruction materials, and publicity. A preference is given to programs providing some degree of local matching funds. All nonprofit afterschool programs in the United States are eligible to apply.
      Applications accepted year-round.


    • "Toyota TAPESTRY Grants". The 2005 Toyota TAPESTRY program will award 50 grants of up to $10,000 each and a minimum of 20 "mini-grants" of $2,500 each to K-12 science teachers with proposals for innovative science projects that can be implemented in their school or school district over a one-year period. Proposals should demonstrate creativity and vision, and model a novel way of presenting science. All K-12 teachers of science residing in the United States or U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply, as are elementary teachers who teach science in a self-contained classroom setting or as teaching specialists.
      Application Deadline: 1/19/2005.


    • "3D Action Grants". 3D Life Adventures offers grants of up to $500 for creative student-led initiatives or curricula aimed at fostering cultural and/or natural diversity. Projects should be student-conceived and administered, but sponsored and overseen by an adult mentor. Recently funded programs have included environmental education curricula, community improvement projects, and local community partnerships.
      Applications should be submitted one month before the scheduled start of the project.


    • "Toshiba America Foundation Grants". Toshiba America Foundation offers small to moderately sized grants to improve the quality of science and mathematics education in U.S. communities by investing in projects designed by K-12 classroom teachers. Recently funded projects include the implementation of innovative mathematics curricula, materials for the hands-on study of environmental science issues, and equipment for a teacher-designed astronomy curriculum. All K-12 schools and teachers in the United States are eligible to apply.
      Application Deadlines: 10/1/2004 for K-6 programs; 8/1/2004 and 2/1/2005 for 7-12 programs. Applications for grants under $5000 accepted year-round.


    • "Corporation for National Community Service Grants". The Corporation for National and Community Service will offer grants of $30,000 to $100,000 to support AmeriCorps Professional Corps programs that address, among other issues, community shortages of qualified professionals in education and related fields like health care, child development, and social work. Professional Corps organizations bring thousands of teachers, health workers, and other vital professionals to communities that face critical shortages and/or growing demand. Eligible applicants include a wide range of nonprofit organizations, and city and local government entities. Other detailed eligibility restrictions apply.
      Application Deadline: 8/17/2004.
      Click here for more information.


    • "Starbucks Foundation Literacy Grants". The Starbucks Foundation will offer grants of $5,000 to $20,000 to support innovative community literacy programs that build upon reading curricula and encourage personal development through tutoring or mentoring. Priority is given to proposals that specifically target low-income communities and underprivileged or at-risk youth. K-6 schools and community nonprofits in the United States are eligible to apply.
      Application Deadline: 10/1/02004.


    • Education Policy Fellowship Program" -- The Institute for Educational Leadership's flagship program, the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), is a ten-month in-service professional development program designed to prepare mid-level leaders in public and private organizations to exercise greater responsibility in creating and implementing sound public policy in education and related fields. EPFP participants hold full-time positions in diverse organizations at the local, state, and national levels. The program currently operates in sites in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington, DC--and a New Jersey site will open in the fall of 2004.
      Application deadline: August 2004.


    • "Department of Education Forecast of Funding" -- This document lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the Department of Education has invited or expects to invite applications for new awards for FY 2004 and provides actual or estimated deadline dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs. The lists are in the form of charts -- organized according to the Department's principal program offices -- and include programs and competitions previously announced, as well as those they plan to announce at a later date. Note: This document is advisory only and is not an official application notice of the Department of Education. They expect to provide updates to this document through July 2004.


    • The application deadline for the Governor's Education First Partnership Award has been extended to July 30, 2004. To get a copy of the application, go to


    • "Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)" -- More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. The result of that work is the FREE website.


    • Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants -- The Dirksen Congressional Center will award a total of $35,000 in grants next year to fund practical classroom strategies to improve the quality of teaching and learning about civics with a particular emphasis on the role of Congress in the federal government. Grants are intended to assist in the development of innovative curricula that will improve the quality of civics instruction by designing lesson plans, creating student activities, and applying instructional technology in the classroom. Teachers and teacher-led student teams in grades 6-12 are eligible to apply, as are independent individuals and organizations with an interest in curricular development.
      Application Deadline: 5/1/2005


    • American History Workshops for Professional Development -- The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering K-12 educators individual grants of $500 to attend its Landmarks of American History Workshops. These are weeklong residence programs of scholarship and discussion focusing on various topics in American history and conducted at significant historical sites. All K-12 classroom teachers in public, private, parochial, and charter schools within the United States and its Territories are eligible to apply, as well as administrators, librarians, substitute teachers, and classroom paraprofessionals at these schools.
      Application Deadline: 3/15/05 (Tentative)


    • Dow Awards The Dow Chemical Company has made available $20 million in grant funds to support proposed initiatives concentrating on math and science, teacher training, and parental involvement for K-12 school districts. Grant proposals should focus on giving K-12 students science and engineering experiences, giving teachers the training to provide these experiences, and fostering parental and community involvement. School districts and school boards nationwide, as well as programs that promote systemic education reform in math and science, are eligible to apply. Special attention is given to school districts around communities where Dow is located.
      Application Deadline: Varies


  • Mayoral Leadership in Education Meeting (October 21, 2002)
  • For information about Education issues, please contact:

    Kathy Amoroso
    Assistant Executive Director
    U.S. Conference of Mayors
    1620 I St., NW, 4th Floor
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 861-6723 (w)
    (202) 293-2352 (f)