Reporter’s notebook

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday passed a fiscal year 2021 spending bill that includes funding for education and workforce development programs. (Screenshot of markup)
  • House appropriators pass FY21 funding bill
  • Washington state seeks hold on rule regarding international students

House appropriators pass FY21 funding bill

The House Appropriations Committee on Monday approved the fiscal year 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill along party lines, 30 to 22.

The bill would provide $73.5 billion for U.S. Education Department programs, an increase of $716 million. It includes a $150 increase to the Pell Grant maximum award, which would jump to $6,495 for the 2021-22 academic year. The legislation also would extend Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated individuals under certain conditions, such as those who enroll in public or non-profit institutions.

Under the funding measure, the U.S. Labor Department would receive $185 million for registered apprenticeships, an increase of $10 million.

The bill now moves to the House floor for a vote as early as next week.

Washington state seeks hold on rule regarding international students

Washington state’s attorney general on Monday asked a federal judge to immediately stop a Trump administration plan to revoke visas for international students while the state litigates its case seeking to have the rule permanently nixed.

The Trump administration directive requires colleges and universities to decide by July 15 whether they will hold classes in-person, remotely or use a hybrid model. The rule revokes student visas for all international students who attend colleges and universities that hold classes remotely.

Three state universities, three community colleges and the director of the state’s community and technical college board have filed declarations with the attorney general’s office. Approximately 27,000 international students attend higher education institutions in Washington state and spend approximately $1 billion in state each year. The state’s two-year college board said there are about 13,000 students on F-1 visas among Washington’s colleges, and they contribute more than $100 million to those schools.

Yakima Valley College President Linda Kaminski told the court the new rule would add significant hardships on may international students, ranging from the financial cost of breaking housing leases early, the risks and expense of travel during a pandemic, the loss of educational opportunities such as internships, and the potential delay of their education while facing long waits for a new visa in the future.

Students with families may face higher hurdles.

“Significant others of our F-1 students will need to make alternative arrangements and many of our students with young children will face difficulties in enrolling students in daycares and schools outside of the country. Some families may be forced to split apart in order to comply” with the directive, Kaminski said.

Washington was among 17 states and the District of Columbia that on Monday either jointly or separately filed suit seeking an injunction against the directive.

About the Author

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