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House Passes Omnibus, FY22 Chart Now Available

Yesterday the House passed an omnibus appropriations package for FY22, following negotiations between House and Senate appropriators. The final package includes modest increases for key scientific and higher education accounts. The Senate is expected to vote on the package quickly to send it to the President’s desk. Current government funding is set to expire on Friday, so another short continuing resolution will be necessary to allow the Senate to clear procedural steps.

A chart tracking key accounts relevant to UW is available here. Our office will post detailed updates as information becomes available. We will also discuss appropriations in more detail during our town hall on March 24th at noon PT (register here).

2022 Federal Agenda Now Live

The University of Washington has published our 2022 Federal Agenda reaffirming our commitment to a robust partnership with the federal government. You can view the agenda here.

On March 24th at 12pm PT, Director of Federal Relations Sarah Castro will participate in a Town Hall highlighting the key elements of our federal agenda. Members of the UW community can register here.

Dept of Ed Makes Changes to College Scorecard

The Department of Education announced changes to the college scorecard which aim to make the tool more useful for students and families. The updated scorecard shows institution-level earnings data, loan burden, costs, and graduation rates, among other key data points.

In a press statement, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, “The updated and enhanced College Scorecard shines a spotlight on affordability, inclusivity, and outcomes, over exclusivity and colleges that leave students without good jobs and with mountains of debt. This update reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring students remain at the heart of the Department’s work.”

The scorecard for University of Washington (Seattle) boasts a higher graduation rate, lower cost of attendance, and higher post-grad earnings compared to the national average.

Register Now: Federal Relations Spring Town Hall

The Office of Federal Relations will host a virtual town hall for the campus community on Thursday, March 24th from 12pm-1pm PT. Our staff will provide an update on the federal budget, infrastructure and competitiveness bills, and preview the UW’s 2022 federal agenda. This will be followed by an opportunity for Q&A. Register here (NetID restricted).

Announcement: Federal Relations Autumn 2021 Town Hall

Please join us for the inaugural quarterly Federal Relations Town Hall.

Thursday, October 21st at 12:00pm PT

After a presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions or offer comments/concerns regarding the UW’s federal advocacy priorities.

If you would like to join in-person, please RSVP here. Space is limited.

If you would like to join via Zoom, please register here.

This event is restricted to members of the UW community. A valid Net-ID is required to participate.

 

Deal Reached on an Infrastructure Package

Today the White House announced a deal has been reached with the Administration and a group of bipartisan Senators on the outline of a $1 trillion (including approx. $579 billion new spending) traditional infrastructure package. These priorities include roads, bridges, public transit, electric vehicles, coastal infrastructure, rural broadband access, and supporting IRS tax collection efforts on high earners. The legislation must still be written and pass both chambers.

Calls from within the Democratic caucus for a “human” infrastructure package- addressing paid leave, childcare, housing, and community college, is likely to go through the budget reconciliation process in a similar manner to the American Rescue Plan Act. The President indicated he would want to see both pieces of legislation arrive on his desk together.

Read more here.

UW Publishes 2021 Federal Agenda

The University of Washington has published our 2021 Federal Agenda outlining our top priorities for the coming year. Our agenda reflects a commitment to service, excellence, and innovation, taking into account the unique challenges of the past year.

We are proud of our longstanding partnership with the federal government and look forward to further collaboration in 2021.

Veterans Package Passes Both Chambers

The Senate and House have now both passed the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R.7105). The legislation provides assistance to veterans during the COVID-19 crisis and also includes provisions from the Protect GI Bill making certain changes to education benefits. Specifically, a new dual certification process, risk-based surveys, and monthly reporting for schools would be implemented. Although changes would aim to reduce overpayment risks, colleges would assume liability for such overpayments. Public colleges would also have to provide in-state tuition rates to all GI Bill students.

Now the bill will go to President Trump to be signed into law.

The full text of the bill is available here.

Senate Hearing on FAFSA Simplification

The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing on simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Witnesses are from the National College Attainment Network, University of North Carolina, HCM Strategies, Harvard University, and Columbia University.

  • Title: Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA
  • Date and Time: Thursday, September 17th, 2020 at 7:00 am PT/10:00 am ET
  • Link to watch live is here.

Department of Education Announces New Relief Measures

Today, US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the following new measures intended to relieve federal student loan borrowers amidst the COVID-19 national emergency.

  • The Department will halt collection actions and wage garnishments related to federal student loans for a 60 day period beginning March 13th, 2020. Private collection agencies have been requested to stop proactive collection efforts.
  • The Department will not request Treasury to withhold money from federal tax returns and social security payments.
  • The Department will refund $1.3 billion in offsets to more than 800,000 borrowers. This represents offsets which were in the process of being withheld as of March 13th, 2020.

These measures are in addition to previously announced steps; federal loan interest rates have been adjusted to 0%, as well as all borrowers have the option to halt payments for 60 days from March 13th, 2020 by contacting their loan servicer.