Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki

Seeking assistance from the Senate

Higher education organizations are hoping to convince GOP leaders in the Senate to support another pandemic recovery package that would include at least $46.6 billion to help colleges and their students.

In a May 29 letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the American Council on Education (ACE) asked the senators for the additional support, which Republicans have been reluctant to do.

ACE, which wrote the letter on behalf of more than 40 higher education organizations (including the American Association of Community Colleges), noted several higher education association surveys indicate that three-fourths of institutions reported current-year revenue losses of up to 20 percent, and many institutions expect their losses next year will be greater.

“Losses of the magnitude we expect to see in the fall would necessarily weaken not just colleges and universities, but the economic health of their surrounding communities and regions,” the letter said.

ACE also called on lawmakers to ensure that states do not replace their obligations to fund public higher education with any federal recovery funding.

“In order to guarantee that states do not simply reduce their funding to institutions of higher education in proportion to new federal assistance, Congress must include a maintenance of effort (MOE) provision as a condition of receiving funding,” the letter said.

Second round of approved Perkins state plans

The U.S. Education Department (ED) on Friday announced that it has approved career and technical education (CTE) state plans for Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

The nine states are in the second wave to have their CTE plans approved by ED under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).

Michigan’s plan, for example, requires postsecondary institutions to describe in their local grant applications how they will make CTE program information available to students, parents and the community on its state Talent Connect website. Montana aims to increase access for CTE in rural areas by implementing a consortia model to pool resources among secondary- and postsecondary-level partners.

Additional details are available on the department’s website.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.