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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.

President to President, October 31-November 4, 2011

Vol. 12, No. 40

  • ​Work Continues on FY 2012 Appropriations, Super Committee, Jobs Bill
  • Register Now for Webinar on Title IX and Sexual Assault
  • Second Survey on Campus Programs for Veterans, Military Members to Launch on Veterans Day
  • ASU President Michael Crow to Give Atwell Lecture at ACE's Annual Meeting 

It is now November, and as we move closer to the end of the year, we are continuing to monitor the progress of three significant budget and appropriations processes: the budget for FY 2012, which began on Oct. 1; the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction; and the latest iteration of President Obama's jobs bill.

FY 2012 appropriations: As you know, the government currently is running on a continuing resolution (CR), which Congress passed in late September after failing to complete the needed appropriations bills by the start of the fiscal year. The CR runs through Nov. 18 and funds government agencies at a rate of $1.043 trillion, the amount for FY 2012 set in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (debt ceiling deal). Congress has struggled to complete the appropriations process in the interim, finally settling on a series of "minibus" bills, which bundle together several of the measures awaiting completion (as opposed to one all-encompassing omnibus bill).

The Senate on Tuesday voted 69-30 to approve the first minibus measure for Commerce-Justice-Science (which includes funding for the National Science Foundation and NASA), Agriculture, and Transportation-Housing. No changes were made to funding levels approved by the Appropriations Committee for the NSF or NASA. The Commerce-Justice-Science bill (S. 1572), approved by the committee on Sept. 15, would cut the NSF budget by $162 million (2.4 percent), and the NASA budget by $509 million (2.8 percent). The next step for this bill is a House-Senate conference.

With 12 bills to go and just two weeks remaining, it is unlikely Congress will finish by Nov. 18. We expect another short-term CR will be added to the package to keep the government funded through mid-December.

FY 2012 education funding: Senate leaders are gearing up a second minibus, which should come early next week. Various agencies are rumored to be included in this bill, but we have yet to hear Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education mentioned as a possibility. Both the proposed House and Senate measures assume the maximum Pell Grant will remain at $5,550 for the 2012-13 academic year. However, to help finance this level of Pell, the House would make eligibility changes that would eliminate Pell Grants for roughly 600,000 students. In addition, the House bill would decimate funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and other Minority-Serving Institutions. These highly controversial differences would have to be ironed out before final passage of any bill, which could be why Congress is dragging its feet on addressing the measure.

The Super Committee: With just under three weeks to the Nov. 23 deadline, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction seems to be at a stalemate in its mandate to reduce the federal budget deficit by a total of at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. If the committee cannot agree on a plan, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts—called "trigger" cuts—would be enacted in January 2013. Both Democrats and Republicans last week released their initial offers to the committee, but a final deal seems no closer than when the panel was first formed in August.

As I hope you've heard by now, the Student Aid Alliance—which I co-chair with David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities—has started a campaign to protect student aid programs from additional cuts in any deficit-reduction package put together by the Super Committee. I have been overwhelmed by the response to the statement, which has received more than 47,000 signatures in less than two weeks. It will be sent to the committee in the next two weeks. If you have not yet signed the statement, please take a minute to do so.

The president's jobs bill: The Senate yesterday failed to move forward a $60 billion infrastructure bill, the second attempt to break down and pass elements of President Obama's much larger $447 billion jobs bill. The vote was 51-49, short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. The bill included substantial funding for postsecondary institutions, the largest of which was $5 billion to "modernize, upgrade, or repair" existing facilities on community college campuses. The measure also included $1.5 billion in funding for training programs organized by local work force investment boards. Community colleges and other postsecondary institutions had been identified as possible partners in these programs.

I hope you will urge your campus counsel and other senior staff members to participate in a webinar Nov. 16 to help campuses understand how to comply with Title IX in matters involving student-on-student sexual assault and harassment.

The event, hosted by United Educators (UE) and supported by ACE, CUPA-HR and the National Association of College and University Attorneys, is scheduled for 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by ACE General Counsel Ada Meloy, who will be joined by Robb Jones and Alyssa Keehan of UE along with Daniel Swinton, assistant dean of students and director of the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity at Vanderbilt University (TN). Panelists will address the major challenges institutions of higher education face in interpreting and implementing the Dear Colleague letter (DCL) issued by the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.

The registration deadline is Nov. 14. Webinar participants will receive a copy of UE's Title IX Advisory, a six-part series on complying with the DCL.

ACE and a coalition of higher education associations have selected Veterans Day to launch a second national survey on campus programs and services offered to student veterans and active duty military students.

ACE will email an online survey link to student personnel administrators on Nov. 11. If your staff does not receive the survey link, please ask them to contact Bryan Cook at (202) 939-9381 or policy@acenet.edu. Survey results will be presented in July 2012 at the Department of Defense (DoD) WorldWide Education Symposium in Las Vegas, NV.

More than 700 colleges and universities across the country—public, private and, proprietary—participated in the 2008 survey and the resulting report, From Soldier to Student: Easing the Transition of Service Members on Campus, can be found here.

Participating associations include the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Council on Education, NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and the National Association of Veteran's Program Administrators.

ACE has chosen Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael M. Crow to deliver the Robert H. Atwell Lecture at the opening plenary session of ACE's 94th Annual Meeting, scheduled for March 10-13, in Los Angeles, CA.

As president of ASU for the past decade, he has worked to bring the institution toward a model he terms the "New American University," which combines the highest levels of academic excellence, broad demographic inclusiveness, and maximum societal impact. Crow will join a distinguished group of college and university presidents who have delivered the Atwell Lecture, which serves as the official opening of the Annual Meeting.

If you have yet to register for the Annual Meeting, please do so as soon as you can. Follow @ACEducation on Twitter and look for the hashtag #ACE2012 for information on the meeting as it becomes available.

Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE