Commentary Archive
    Selected letters and statements from the 114th Congress
     

    Letter Sent to Senate Supporting America COMPETES Reauthorization (10/8/2015)

    On October 8, 2015, CGS President Dr. Suzanne Ortega sent comments to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s innovation and competitiveness working group offering suggestions on how the federal government can best build a STEM workforce. The working group is requesting stakeholder input as the Committee looks to reauthorize the America COMPETES law which is one of the federal government’s most critical investments in STEM education and innovation.

     

    Letter in Support of America COMPETES Reauthorization (8/21/2015)

    On August 21, 2015, CGS President Dr. Suzanne Ortega sent comments on current federal research and development (R&D) policy priorities to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s innovation and competitiveness working group. The working group is requesting stakeholder input as the Committee looks to reauthorize the America COMPETES law which is one of the federal government’s most critical investments in STEM education and innovation. 

     

    Comments to the Department of Education on Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Income-based Repayment Program (8/7/2015)

    CGS submitted comments to the Department regarding the proposed changes to the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income-based repayment program, referred to as Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE). As background, the negotiated rulemaking panel reached consensus in April on REPAYE and the public comment period closed on August 10, 2015. CGS expressed concerns that the final proposal may result in increasing the debt burden of graduate student borrowers, not based on any factor other than pursuit of an advanced degree. This is yet another example of a policy that creates an artificial distinction between undergraduate and graduate students, and has the potential to increase graduate student debt. CGS comments submitted were based on CGS’ original concerns when the rule was first proposed.

     

    Response to Senate HELP Committee Hearing, Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: The Role of Consumer Information in College Choice (5/12/2015)

    On May 12, CGS President Dr. Suzanne Ortega sent a letter to the Senate HELP Committee calling to their attention the CGS developed online resource, GradSense.org. During a hearing on this issue, the need for a debt-to-income tool similar to GradSense.org was mentioned.

     

    Response to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s HEA Whitepapers (4/29/2015)

    On April 29, 2015, CGS President Dr. Suzanne Ortega sent comments to the Committee in response to the whitepaper titled, Risk Sharing: Concepts and Proposals. CGS called for focusing on incentives to implement best practices, rather than on penalties.  

     

    Welcome Letter to 114th Congress (1/29/2015)

     

    Community Letter to House & Senate in Support of Perkins Loan Program (11/20/2015)

    On November 20, CGS signed onto a community letter along with 53 higher education organizations and 535 institutions of higher education to Senate and House Leadership Offices, as well as the Appropriations Committees. The letter urged Congressional leaders to support a one-year extension of the Perkins Loan Program. The program, which makes low-cost loans available to college students with demonstrated financial need, is strongly supported across the full continuum of American higher education sectors.

     

    Community Letter to Department of Homeland Security (11/18/2015)

    On November 18, CGS, along with 11 education associations, signed onto a community letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offering comments to the proposed regulation amending its F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in STEM fields from U.S. institutions of higher education.

     

    Community Letter to House & Senate Appropriations Committees in Support of FY2016 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill (11/16/2015)
    On November 16, CGS signed onto a community letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting that the Committees include higher education policy provisions within the FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills. The letter mentions that both Committees previously passed legislation which included language prohibiting the Department of Education from taking any further action in FY2016 on several regulatory efforts. The higher education community prefers that any action taken on these issues be done through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).

     

    CGS Joins Amicus Brief on University of Texas-Austin's Case for Affirmative Action Admissions Practices (11/02/2015)
    For the second time, the higher education community has filed an amicus brief supporting diversity in a landmark case before the Supreme Court of the United States.

     

    Community Letter to Senate in Support of Perkins Loan Program (9/28/2015)

    On September 28, CGS signed onto a community letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions encouraging the Committee to consider legislation extending the Perkins Loans Program which is set to expire on October 1, 2015. The letter suggested the Committee put forward a bill similar to pending legislation in the House of Representatives that would extend the program’s authority for one year, which would provide policymakers additional time to evaluate student federal financial aid programs.

     

    Community Letter to House in Support of Perkins Loan Program (9/28/2015)

    On September 28, CGS signed onto a community letter to the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 3594, a measure that would extend the Perkins Loan Program authority for one year. The program is set to expire on October 1, 2015. Additionally, the legislation extends authority for the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) and the Student Financial Aid Advisory Committee.

     

    Community Comment Letter to the Department of Labor (9/4/2015)

    On September 4, CGS along with16 higher education organizations submitted comments to the Department of Labor in response to recent proposed changes to overtime pay requirements for certain "white collar" employees, including postdocs. The letter was led by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). CGS has concerns with the regulation, including whether postdocs would continue to be exempt employees under the new regulation.

     

    Community Letter in Support of America COMPETES Reauthorization (8/12/2015)

    On August 12, 2015 the Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI), of which CGS is a member, sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s innovation and competitiveness working group expressing support for federally funded research. The Senate working group requested stakeholder input as the Committee looks to reauthorize the America COMPETES law which is one of the federal government’s most critical investments in STEM education and innovation. 

     

    Community Thank You Letter to Senate Finance Committee (7/22/2015)

    CGS signed onto a community letter on July 22 to thank the Senate Finance Committee for including two year extensions of the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses (tuition deduction) and the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Charitable Rollover in the final tax extenders package.

     

    Community Letter in Support of Tax Extenders Package (7/17/2015)

    CGS signed onto a community letter on July 17, encouraging policymakers to extend both the tuition deduction and IRA provisions which expired in 2014. A two year extension of the above-the-line tuition deduction would restore benefits to students and families, providing another tool to help reduce the cost of college. An extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover would provide colleges and universities with better predictability and a longer window of time to use this incentive to raise new or increased contributions at a time when private giving has becoming increasingly important to helping maintain access to higher education.

     

    Community Letter to U.S. Congress Calling for Policies and Investments to Drive Innovation (7/16/2015)

    CGS signed on to the community statement “Innovation: An American Imperative,” led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and released June 23, 2015. The statement, which included signatures of over 250 industry, science, and higher education organizations, is a call to action urging Congress to enact policies that make investments to ensure that the United States remains a global innovation leader.

     

    Community Letter to U.S. House Appropriations Committee in Support of FY2016 Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill (6/23/2015)

    On June 23, 2015, CGS signed onto a community letter to the House of Representative’s Appropriations Committee offering support for the FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill for its emphasis on higher education. The letter was delivered prior to the full Appropriations Committee consideration of the bill on June 24, 2015. Community concerns with the bill are mentioned as well, including the $4 million decrease in funding for the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, one of the few remaining federal programs that assists graduate students. The letter requests the Committee increase funding for GAANN as budget negotiations continue.

     

    Community Letter to U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Committees (5/19/2015)

    On May 19, 2015 the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF), of which CGS is a member, sent a letter to the Senate and House appropriators expressing concern with the House FY2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. The science community is concerned with the report language accompanying the bill which requires NSF to dedicate 70 percent of its funding to only four research directorates, forcing the agency to reduce over $250 million, 16 percent of the combined budget, from the remaining two directorates: Geosciences and the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Such reductions would have a negative impact on the disciplinary and interdisciplinary research supported by these two directorates, impacting research as diverse as disaster prediction and recovery, prediction of extreme weather events, weak links in cybersecurity, children’s learning, and big data.

     

    Community Letter to U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Working Group on Business Income Tax (4/15/2015)

    On April 15, 2015 CGS joined a community letter lead by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) regarding the importance of the tax-exempt status of colleges and universities. Without this exemption, colleges and universities would be subject to taxes on gifts received.

     

    Community Letter to U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce (2/23/2015)

    On February 23, 2015 CGS joined a community letter that was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.R. 970, Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act. The legislation repeals three federal regulations that restrict choice and opportunity in higher education: the gainful employment regulation, the state authorization regulation, and the federal credit hour regulation. CGS heard from graduate deans that these three regulations could have a negative impact on the programs they offer.

     

    Community Letter to Department of Education (2/2/2015)

    On February 2, CGS along with 30 education associations, signed onto a community letter to the Department of Education offering comments to the proposed teacher preparation quality regulations. 

     

    Letter to Sponsors of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (1/22/2015)

    On January 22, 2015 CGS joined a community letter organized by the American Council on Education and sent to the U.S. Senate in support of the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015 (“I-Squared bill”), recently introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The legislation increases the H-1B cap for temporary work visas for programmers, engineers, and high-skilled workers. It also lifts the existing cap on the advanced degree exemption.

     

    Selected letters and statements from the 113th Congress

     

    Response to Census Bureau's Comment Request on ACS 'Field of Study' Proposed Data Collection (12/15/2014)

    On December 15, CGS sent written comments in response to the Census Bureau’s Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American Community Survey Content Review Results. CGS urged the Department of Commerce to retain Person Question 12 (Undergraduate Field of Degree), where respondents are asked to provide specific major(s) of any bachelor’s degrees received by the person with the highest degree in each household.

     

    Letter to Chairman Ryan (9/4/2014)
    Response to discussion draft legislation titled "Expanding Opportunity in America" released by the House Budget Committee in July 2014.

     

    The Council of Graduate Schools' comments on Senator Harkin's (D-IA) Higher Education Affordability Act discussion draft. (August 2014)

     

    Letter to Senator Alexander (6/12/2014)
    Response to June 8, 2014 statement by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

     

    Letter to Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Alexander (3/31/2014)
    Response to the March 27, 2014 hearing, "Strengthening the Federal Student Loan Program for Borrowers," Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

     

    CGS Statement on the 2014 State of the Union Address (1/31/2014)
    The Council of Graduate Schools responds to the administration's higher education plans outlined in the annual address to the nation.

     

    Welcome Letter to 113th Congress (1/22/2014)

     

    CGS Comments on Policies and Amendments for Inclusion in the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (8/2/2013)

     

    The Future of Graduate Education is the Future of America: A Call to Action (7/1/2013)
    CGS developed a position statement amid debate on student loan interest rate policies in 2013. CGS continues working for a longer term solution that meets the needs of graduate student loan borrowers.

     

    CGS Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling in Fisher v. UT Austin (6/26/2013)
    The Council of Graduate Schools released the following statement in response to the ruling by the Supreme Court RE: Fisher v. UT Austin.

     

    CGS Statement on the President's 2013 State of the Union Address (2/14/2013)
    The Council of Graduate Schools responds to the administration's higher education plans outlined in the annual address to the nation.

     

    Letter to Department of Commerce on ACS 'Field of Degree' Data Collection (12/16/2014)

    On December 16th CGS signed onto a community letter in conjunction with twenty-five higher education associations in response to the Census Bureau’s Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; The American Community Survey Content Review Results (FR Doc. 2014-25912). The letter urges the Census Bureau to retain Person Question No. 12 (Undergraduate Field of Degree) in the American Community Survey (ACS).

     

    Community Letter to Senate-Labor-HHS Committee (11/24/2014)
    On November 24, CGS signed onto a community letter to the Senate Labor-H subcommittee staff regarding Pell funding in the FY15 appropriations process. The letter expressed opposition to any effort to use funding taken from the Pell Grant Program for any other purpose in the FY 2015 education spending bill under consideration by the subcommittee.

     

    TFAI Letter to Congress on FY15 Appropriations (11/17/2014)
    On November 17, CGS signed onto a community letter along with 132 national organizations, requesting Congress pass a full-year FY15 omnibus appropriations bill with strong funding for research and higher education to help close the innovation deficit.

     

    Selected letters and statements from the 112th Congress

     

    Office of Personnel Management Pathways Programs: Request for Comments (10/4/11)
    CGS commented on the new Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Pathways Programs. The comments highlight the inclusion of graduate students and recent graduates in the Pathways programs.

     

    Statement on S.365, the Budget Control Act of 2011 (8/3/11)

    CGS issued a statement in response to the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (S. 365). The statement highlights the added burden needy graduate and professional students will now face due to the elimination of the in-school interest subsidy on federal Stafford loans. CGS urges Congress and the Administration to recognize and support graduate education as a strategic national asset.

     

    Statement on the proposed elimination of the in-school interest subsidy for graduate and professional students (7/28/11)
    CGS and a number of other higher education stakeholders sent a statement to Congressional members highlighting the importance of retaining the in-school interest subsidy on federal Stafford loans for graduate and professional students. The subsidy's elimination is included in the debt ceiling increase measures proposed by both House Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid. The statement urges Congress to retain the subsidy.

     

    Letter to Deficit Reduction Group Members (6/22/11)
    CGS continues to work with a coalition of organizations to urge retention of the in-school interest subsidy on federal Stafford loans for needy graduate and professional students. The coalition sent a letter to the six Congressional Members of the deficit reduction group led by Vice President Biden.

     

    Letter to Senate HELP Committee and House Education and The Workforce Committee Leadership (6/13/11)
    A coalition of organizations, of which CGS is a member, sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the leaders of the House Education and The Workforce Committee urging them to retain the in-school interest subsidy on Federal Stafford loans for graduate and professional students as they negotiate FY 2012 funding legislation.

     

    Letter to Senate and House Leadership (4/14/11)
    A coalition of organizations, of which CGS is a member, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to retain the in-school interest subsidy on Federal Stafford loans for graduate and professional students as they negotiate FY 2011 and FY 2012 funding legislation.

     

    Letter to Senate and House Leaders re. Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations (2/24/11)
    CGS sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to consider the important federal role in supporting graduate education as they work to complete final Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations legislation.

     

    Statement on the Reauthorization of H.R. 5116, the “America COMPETES Act” (1/12/11)
    CGS issued a statement applauding Congress and the President for their work in reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act. The bill, which contains several provisions that recognize the role that graduate education plays in our nation's ability to maintain a highly-skilled workforce, was signed into law on January 4, 2011.

     

    Selected letters and statements from the 111th Congress

     

    Letter to House Leadership re. America COMPETES Act Reauthorization (12/20/10)
    CGS sent a letter to House leadership urging support for passage of the America COMPETES bill this week. The Senate passed an amended version of the bill last week.

     

    Letter from the Higher Education Community re. Gainful Employment (9/9/10)
    Letter from the higher education community responding to Dept. of Education's 7-26-10 set of proposed rules on "gainful employment" provisions.

     

    Joint CGS-ETS Statement on Administration Goal re. College Completion (8/11/10)
    CGS issued a joint statement with ETS applauding President Obama's call for the U.S. to have the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020, noting that pursuing this goal would greatly increase the number of Americans on a potential pathway to graduate school.

     

    Letter from the Higher Education Community re. Program Integrity (8/2/10)
    Letter from the higher education community responding to Dept. of Education's proposed rules on "program integrity" issues.

     

    Office of Science and Technology Policy Grand Challenges of the 21st Century: Request for Information (4/13/10)
    Response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Request for Information on responding to "grand challenges" of the 21st century.

     

    Letter from the Higher Education Community re. Budget Reconciliation Bill (3/19/10)
    Letter from the higher education community expressing support for the higher education provisions in the budget reconciliation bill under House consideration.

     

    Letter from the Higher Education Community re. Income-Based Repayment (2/24/10)
    Letter from the higher education community expressing support for the Administration's proposal to expand the Income-Based Repayment option for student loans.

     

    CGS Statement on the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal (2/4/10)
    Statement on the President's Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal.

     

    Letter to House Education & Labor Committee Leadership re. Stafford Loan Subsidy (7/16/09)
    Letter to leadership of House Education & Labor Committee, expressing concern about a legislative proposal to eliminate subsidized federal loans for graduate students.

     

    Letter to Members of Congress re. National Academies Study (6/25/09)
    Letter to four Members of Congress thanking them for requesting the National Academies undertake a study of research universities.

     

    Letter to Senate Energy & Water Appropriators re. Re-ENERGYSE program (6/24/09)
    Letter to Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee leaders urging them to provide Fiscal Year 2010 funding for the Deparment of Energy's proposed Re-ENERGYSE program. A similar letter was sent to the House.

     

    Letter from Higher Education Community re. MSIs (6/19/09)
    CGS signed onto a letter from the higher education community requesting continued funding for federal programs that support Minority-Serving Institutions. Letters were sent to Senate and House education and appropriations committee leadership.

     

    Statement from Higher Education Community re. Visa concerns (6/10/09)
    CGS was a signatory of a statement from the higher education, scientific, and medical communities on "Visa Problems Harming America’s Scientific, Economic, and Security Interests."

     

    Letter to Senate and House Appropriators re. McNair Program funding (5/29/09)
    Letter to Senate and House Appropriations LHHS Subcommittees urging them to increase Fiscal Year 2010 funding for the McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

     

    Letter to Appropriators re. FY 10 GAANN and Javits funding (5/19/09)
    Letter to Senate and House Appropriations leaders urging them to increase Fiscal Year 2010 funding for the GAANN and Javits Fellowships programs.

     

    Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research Requirement: Request for Comment (3/31/09)
    Comments submitted to the National Science Foundation on its new Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research requirement for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows supported by NSF grants.

     

    Letter from stakeholders re. Roosevelt Scholars Act (2/18/09)
    CGS signed onto a letter supporting the reintroduction of the Roosevelt Scholars Act, which would create scholarships for graduate students who commit to working for the federal government.

     

    Letter to House and Senate conferees re. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2/11/09)
    Letter to House and Senate conferees on the economic recovery legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

     

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