Reporter’s notebook

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  • Student loan repayments to start in February
  • House, Senate committees prepare for BBB discussions
  • NSF Covid Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Challenge
  • Update on fall enrollment figures

Student loan repayments to start in February

Most federal student loan borrowers have had their payments paused since March 2020 due to the Covid emergency. That payment pause will end on January 31.

The U.S. Education Department has prepared a toolkit with resources that organizations can use to communicate with students, parents and borrowers about how they can prepare for repayment to restart. There will be a webinar Dec. 15 with more information.

House, Senate committees prepare for BBB discussions

House Education and Labor Committee leaders and staff on Dec. 16 will provide a briefing on the investments to workforce development — including funding for community college job training programs — in the House-passed version of the Build Back Better Act (HR 5376). RSVP here for the online briefing.

Meanwhile, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee this weekend released an updated text for its BBB legislation in preparation for discussion.

“The HELP Committee’s title of Build Back Better is updated and ready to go ahead of bipartisan conversations with the Parliamentarian over the next few days,” Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Washington) said in a release. “This bill will dramatically lower families’ costs for things like child care, health care and education, train workers for good-paying, union jobs, and take needed action against climate change, and it’s fully paid for by ensuring the very wealthiest in our country finally pay their fair share. I look forward to getting Build Back Better over the finish line.”

NSF Covid Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Challenge

The National Science Foundation (NSF) wants to hear what higher education institutions, including community colleges, have done during the pandemic to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in STEM programs. Selected winners will receive cash prizes totaling $200,000.

Send a three-page narrative to NSF describing the evidence-based systemic actions that your college has taken or will take to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on the DEI of students and faculty in STEM higher education programs. The deadline is Jan. 30. Colleges do not need to have a grant from NSF to enter the challenge.

Winners will be announced in March and invited to present their ideas at an NSF-hosted virtual event that will be open to the public.

Update on fall enrollment figures

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center on Dec. 15 will publish its latest data on estimated enrollments for this fall.

About the Author

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