On Wednesday, May 30th, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (H.R. 3746). This legislation would suspend the debt limit until January 1, 2025. President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spent the last few weeks negotiating a deal that would fully fund Department of Defense spending and veterans medical care but limit non-defense discretionary spending to fiscal year 2023 funding levels. Graduate education and research programs funded by the Department of Education and the federal research agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation will be held flat in 2024 and increase by one percent in 2025.
The debt ceiling legislation also ends the pandemic-driven pause of student loan repayments. As a result, repayments of student loans will resume 60 days after June 30, 2023. The Biden Student Loan Forgiveness plan that would forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell students, and up to $10,000 in debt for non-Pell students is not affected by this legislation.
Under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell the Senate passed the debt ceiling legislation by a vote of 63-36. President Biden is expected to address the country today and says that he looks forward to signing the bill into law as soon as possible.
Latest News: Immigration Reform Legislation
On May 23rd, Representatives Maria Salazar (R-FL) and Veronica Escobar (D-TX) introduced the Dignity Act (H.R. 3599). According to Representative Salazar’s press release, this bipartisan legislation aims to “fix our nation’s broken immigration system.” In addition to addressing border security and asylum issues, this legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
In addition to legislative efforts pending on Capitol Hill, judicial action is underway in federal court concerning the Biden Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Even though, the DACA program was issued in 2012 by the Obama Administration, the Biden Administration reissued the policy last year after a lawsuit was filed by the State of Texas and other states concerning the legality of the program. As a result of these legal challenges to the program, the Biden Administration moved the DACA policy through the formal regulatory process. On Thursday, June 1st Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas will hear arguments about whether the Biden DACA program is legal. According to media reports, Judge Hanen is expected to “rule against the program but keep it in place for current recipients while appeals continue.”
Department of Education’s NPRM on Gainful Employment and Financial Transparency
On May 19th, the Department of Education released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Gainful Employment and Financial Value Transparency. According to the NPRM, the Secretary of Education is proposing new regulations to promote transparency, competence, stability, and effective outcomes for students in postsecondary education. Despite the length of the NPRM, the deadline for written comments is June 20, 2023.
CGS and other higher education associations are planning to submit written comments in response to the proposed regulatory changes to Gainful Employment and Financial Value Transparency. In February 2023, CGS submitted comments to the Department of Education in response to a Request for Information on low financial value programs.
Department of Education Requests Applications for CCAMPIS
The U.S. Department of Education is inviting applications for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. The CCAMPIS program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education by providing campus-based childcare services. For FY 2023, absolute priority will be given to applications that leverage local or institutional resources to provide childcare and applications that support a high number of low-income parents pursuing postsecondary education. The estimated availability of funds is $13.6 million, and the estimated number of awards is 27. To apply or learn more about the program, please view the Federal Register notice. The deadline for transmittal of applications is July 31, 2023.
NSF 101: Graduate and Postdoctoral Researcher Funding Opportunities
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently posted a one-stop-shop of funding opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and scholars. For graduate students, funding opportunities include the Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Research Traineeship Program, Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Awards, and many other awards. Postdoctoral research fellowships are available across a variety of scientific disciplines, including Astronomy, Mathematical Sciences, Biology, and others. For Fiscal Year 2024, the Biden Administration proposes $11.3 billion for the National Science Foundation, which is an increase of $1.8 billion, or 19 percent above the FY23 enacted level of $9.5 billion. To view the list of funding opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at NSF, please see the latest NSF 101 information guide.