While We Continue To Monitor Submission of the Program Integrity and Institutional Accountability NPRM Submission to the White House, We Will Also Be Focused on Key Congressional Activity Too

Last Friday, we shared with everyone two key actions that were taken to delay the “150% Rule” and/or prevent the “Bare Minimum Rule” from becoming effective on July 1st. CSPEN shared with the community Congressional efforts, in the form of a bipartisan letter sent to Secretary of Education Miguel Cordona requesting a delay in implementation of the regulations until July 1, 2025, and judicial efforts in the form of litigation filed in the Northern District Court of Texas’ Fort Worth Division by 360 DEGREE EDUCATION, LLC, d/b/a Cortiva Institute School of Beauty, Health, and Wellness, and THE COALITION FOR CAREER SCHOOLS stating in the complaint that the regulation:

“… should not take effect because it is substantively and procedurally invalid. It exceeds the agency’s statutory authority by exercising control over programs of instruction that the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (‘HEA’) reserves to the States, see 20 U.S.C. §§ 3403(a)–(b); it presents a textbook case of “arbitrary and capricious” rulemaking, e.g., Louisiana v. United States Dep’t of Energy, 90 F.4th 461, 469–77 (5th Cir. 2024); and it fails to reflect a logical outgrowth of the proposed rule that went through the statutorily mandated negotiated rulemaking process, see Mock v. Garland, 75 F.4th 563, 584 (5th Cir. 2023).”

We went on to share with recipients of CSPEN’s emails that we were also anticipating the U.S. Department of Education’s pending submission of the final draft of the 2024 Program Integrity and Institutional Accountability Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) from the Department to the White House. As of today’s email, the submission has not yet been posted on the Office of Management and Budget’s, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website, be we continue to monitor the process and the imminent posting of the NPRM in the near future. And will notify the community immediately upon its posting.

In the meantime, there are several key Congressional activities taking place this week that we will also be monitoring and reporting upon.

Key Congressional Actions This Week
House Floor Consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY25
Beginning later today, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a Rules Committee meeting to determine the floor proceedings and amendments to be eligible for consideration as part of Full House floor consideration of H.R. 8070 – Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025, along with several other House Resolutions.

This process is important to the higher education community for a number of reasons, including most notably the inclusion of support higher education access for military servicemembers and their families, as well as the potential for other key amendments to be considered. As it stands now, over 1,300 amendments have been submitted for consideration, including:

  • a bi-partisan Amendment #943 (Submitted by Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Robert Scott (D-VA)) that allows for Pell Grants to support low-income students enrolled in high-quality, short-term education programs that will equip students with the necessary skills to be prepared for work in high-demand fields that are aiding our national security and global competitiveness, such as advanced manufacturing, shipbuilding, cybersecurity, and other fields that the Department of Defense has identified as necessary for filling shortfalls in the defense industrial base workforce.
  • a Democratic Amendment #1167 (Submitted by Representative Ramirez (D-IL) which seeks to provide that educational assistance paid under Department of Veterans Affairs educational assistance programs to an individual who pursued a program or course of education that was suspended or terminated for certain reasons shall not be charged against the entitlement of the individual.

CSPEN supports the First Amendment, which provides students seeking short-term educational opportunities with access to Federal Pell Grants regardless of the institution of higher education they choose to attend and the modality in which the education is provided. We strongly encourage the Rule Committee to declare this amendment in order and for the Full House to support its adoption as part of the House NDAA bill.

CSPEN has concerns with the Second Amendment, and the underlying bi-partisan bill (H.R. 1767) which has the potential to treat different sectors of the higher education community inequitably. Moreover, we do not see the need for this provision to be included, due to the fact that H.R. 1767 was already passed by the U.S. House under suspension of the rules, and is already awaiting Senate consideration. For these reasons, we hope that the Rules Committee will not declare this amendment in order.

CSPEN will continue to provide updates once the House Rules Committee has made their decision and the bill prepares for Full House floor consideration later this week.

Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee WIOA Hearing
Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12th the Senate HELP Committee will host a full committee hearing beginning at 10AM ET, entitled “The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Supporting Efforts to Meet the Needs of Youth, Workers, and Employers.”

The hearing will include five witnesses:

  • Taylor White
    Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship
  • David Bradley
    Jobs for the Future
  • Monty Sullivan
    Louisiana Community and Technical College
  • Lisa Bly-Jones
    Chicago Jobs Council
  • Matthew Dickerson
    Mid-South Extrusion

CSPEN will be watching the proceedings live on the HELP Committee’s broadcast, which can be accessed here (www.help.senate.gov/hearings/the-workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act-supporting-efforts-to-meet-the-needs-of-youth-workers-and-employers), and we will provide a summary later in the week.

What’s Next
As noted above, CSPEN remains on high alert monitoring the OMB/OIRA website for Department submission of the Program Integrity and Institutional Quality NPRM to the White House. We will notify the community as soon as it is posted and will soon after be sharing with you various summaries of key issues and talking points for your consideration in advance of CSPEN’s request for an Executive Order 12866 listening session with representatives from both the Department and the Administration. We also encourage all interested parties to consider whether or not you want to request your own opportunity to share perspectives, concerns, and recommendations with the Administration.

We will also provide updates and more information on any actions with respect to the prior notices on the 150% Rule AND new updates this week on the Congressional activities related to the NDAA and the Senate HELP Committee hearing. We will, however, NOT be hosting a webinar this week as we recognize that some within our community will be attending CECU’s Annual Conference. Our next Federal Legislative & Regulatory Update webinar will be on Thursday, June 20th at 2PM ET.