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President to President

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President to President
Molly Corbett Broad's weekly email newsletter to higher education leaders.

Congress Tackles President’s Immigration Plans

Jan. 12-16, 2015 ~ Vol. 16, No. 2

  • Congress Begins to Tackle President’s Immigration Plans; State of the Union Address Scheduled for Jan. 20
  • IN BRIEF: ACE Launches CAO Survey on Course Redesign; CFPB Requests Information on College Scorecard; ACE Annual Meeting Approaching

It was quiet on the higher education front in Washington this week, as Congress focused on immigration and plans to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of FY 2015.

The House Wednesday voted to block major provisions of President Obama’s immigration policy, passing a measure to revoke legal protections for millions of undocumented immigrants, including children. You may recall that the executive action on immigration reform the president announced in November has elements of interest to campuses, most notably an expansion of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and visa reforms that could impact foreign students and graduates.

The House bill is not likely to go much further—there is dissension among House Republicans, with some concerned that it goes too far, and the most contentious provisions are likely to die in the Senate. At any rate, President Obama has said he would veto legislation that undermines his immigration reforms. For their part, Republicans have indicated they will next try to use the $40 billion funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security to dismantle the president’s immigration actions. That measure must be completed by the end of February.

On the administration front, we did learn a few more details about the president’s community college proposal he announced last week at Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee—most notably that the cost has been estimated at $60 billion over the next decade. He will formally announce the initiative at his State of the Union address Tuesday, along with a discussion of the college ratings framework announced in December. The administration’s budget plan for FY 2016, which should contain more details on these and other proposals, is scheduled to be released Feb. 2, the kick-off to the annual budget and appropriations process.

IN BRIEF

ACE and the Association of Chief Academic Officers need help in identifying institutions that have participated in course redesign initiatives and the extent to which these initiatives serve as a catalyst for new academic and business models. Please ask your institution’s CAO to participate, if he or she has yet to do so, in a brief, online survey about these initiatives by using this link. The anonymous survey is part of a larger project designed to support institutions as they continue to explore innovative practices that contribute to the delivery of high quality, affordable higher education. The deadline is Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. EST.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is seeking input on a Safe Student Account Scorecard that would help colleges and universities avoid partnering with financial institutions that offer checking and prepaid accounts with “tricks and traps,” according to an announcement this week. The scorecard would enable institutions to access upfront information about fees, features and sales tactics before agreeing to a sponsorship. The Bureau is requesting comment from the public, including student and parent consumers, institutions of higher education and financial institutions. Comments must be received on or before March 16.

We are now only two months away from ACE’s 97th Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for March 14-17 here in Washington. A number of sessions will look at issues important to diversity in higher education, such as the compelling interest in race-conscious policies as one factor in admissions, the role of minority-serving institutions and equity and innovation in higher education. Among the prominent speakers participating in these sessions are Kenneth J. Cooper, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who will moderate the equity and innovation panel; Ricardo R. Fernandez, president of Lehman College (NY); and Joanne G. Woodard, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at North Carolina State University. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE