President Biden Delivers State of the Union Address

On March 1, President Biden delivered his first State of the Union Address to the U.S. Congress. Within the address, the President emphasized the importance of making higher education more affordable, expanding programs in high-demand fields at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and prioritizing mental health and mentorships for students. You can read the transcript of President Biden’s speech here. A fact sheet on the President’s remarks on the economy during the address can be found here, which include higher education priorities. For a synopsis of President Biden’s remarks about higher education, please read the article, ”What Biden Said – and Didn’t Say – About Higher Ed in State of the Union” and “Biden Proposes More Money for Pell Grants.”

Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Hearing on Department of Energy Science for the Future Act

The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources held a hearing on March 1 to consider pending legislation, including the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act. The bill provides significant investments to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which provides graduate research fellowships and traineeships. Here is the Committee’s press release on the bill, which links to the bill, summary, and section-by-section analysis.

Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) mentioned in his opening statement, “The DOE Science for the Future Act reauthorizes the fundamental research and development activities performed by scientists at the Department of Energy, the National Labs, universities, and private companies to advance our understanding of the atom, the cell, the Earth’s systems, and the universe. These scientific endeavors involve the most advanced scientific instruments in the world – from the fastest computers to the brightest light sources, and so much more. The Office Science is a critical piece of the United States’ ability to advance human knowledge of the sciences, and in carrying out that mission, it advances a critical, and ultimately nonpartisan, aspect of our society.”

Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) mentioned in his opening statement, “For decades, the department has overlooked research universities in rural states. This bill will help universities, like the University of Wyoming, better compete for the department’s research dollars. The bill also establishes new basic research programs on carbon and rare earth mineral extraction, underground storage of carbon dioxide, as well as nuclear energy. These new programs will help ensure that the Office of Science is conducting research to promote all types of American energy.”

Testimony by Dr. Geraldine Richmond, Under Secretary for Science and Innovation at the Department of Energy, can be found here.

Survey of Postgraduate Outcomes for the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program

The Department of Education issued a federal register notice on March 3 regarding the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program. Specifically, the department seeks written comments and recommendations for information collection regarding the program. The survey will be used to gather information necessary to determine the performance of the fellows and the program. Written comments and recommendations for proposed information collection requests should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to public/ do/ PRAMain. Find this information collection request by selecting “Department of Education” under “Currently Under Review,” then check the “Only Show ICR for Public Comment” checkbox. Comments may also be sent to

CGS Joins Higher Education Community in Sending Public Comments to State Department Regarding Visa Fees

On February 28, the higher education community submitted public comments to the U.S. State Department regarding a proposed rule to increase fees for nonimmigrant visas. The rule would increase fees for nonimmigrant visas (including F, M, and J) from $160 to $245 (an increase of 53%) and increase the J-1 Waiver fee from $120 to $510 (an increase of 325%). The higher education community stated in the letter, “While we understand the argument made by the State Department for raising these fees, we ask that this be done in a thoughtful manner and any additional resources be spent on improving efficiency and visa processing times for our international students and scholars.”

CGS Joins Higher Education Community Statement on Academic Inquiry

In response to divisive concepts legislation in state legislatures across the country, CGS and 90 other higher education associations issued a statement underscoring the importance of open academic inquiry and debate on university campuses. The statement says in part, “To best serve American society, higher education institutions are committed to transparent intellectual inquiry and academic excellence, free speech, and civil discourse. It is incumbent on our governmental institutions to share and support this commitment.”

The statement expresses the higher education community’s serious concerns about legislative efforts to suppress inquiry, curb debate and discussion, and limit the topics that can be studied. While some topics may be “controversial and contentious they deserve a place in the curriculum.”

The statement makes the important point that “open academic inquiry and vigorous debate are core values of higher education, and America generally, and we must never waiver in our commitment to these vital principles.”

Bureau of Consumer Protection Guidance on PSLF Program

Earlier this week, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection issued a Compliance Bulletin and Policy Guide regarding the serving of federal student loans, including Federal Family Education Loan Program and Perkins loans, for borrowers who may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waivers. In communicating with borrowers about the PSLF program, servicers should take action to ensure compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibition on unfair and deceptive practices. This bulletin is in effect on March 1, 2022.