July 30, 2015


Higher Education News:

3 Themes From a Senate Hearing on Campus Sexual Assault

A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday played host to a wide-ranging discussion of campus sexual assault, and one question factored prominently into the two-hour-plus session: What can the federal government do better when it comes to colleges and sexual assault? The committee examined broad concerns about colleges’ handling of sexual-assault cases as well as specific provisions of proposed legislation known as the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. Among other requirements, the measure would direct campuses to designate confidential advisers for victims, sign memoranda of understanding with local law-enforcement agencies, and bolster due-process rights for accused students. (Chronicle of Higher Education - July 30, 2015)

Fraternity Justice

Congressional Republicans on Wednesday introduced legislation designed to strengthen the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault and to prevent campus investigations from taking place unless a victim also reports the allegations to law enforcement. The bill would make it tougher to kick a fraternity or sorority off campus without a proper hearing, and bar colleges from forcing Greek organizations to become coeducational. (Inside Higher Ed - July 30, 2015)

Congress Passes Need-Based Education Aid Act

The House of Representatives yesterday voted unanimously to approve the Need-Based Educational Aid Act of 2015 (S. 1482), sending the bill to President Obama for his expected signature. The Senate passed S. 1482 July 14 by unanimous consent. The bill amends the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 to extend through FY 2022 the antitrust exemption (known as Section 568) that allows colleges and universities to collaborate on a common formula for determining a student’s financial need. (American Council on Education - July 29, 2015)

How to Simplify the Fafsa? Student-Aid Officials’ Group Weighs In

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is out with recommendations for how to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the Fafsa. Making the application less cumbersome is a popular cause, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the College Board, and the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s education committee, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, among others. (Chronicle of Higher Education - July 30, 2015)

Politics of Pell for Prisoners

The Obama administration's plan to open up Pell Grants to some incarcerated students, which will be announced formally on Friday, is already drawing criticism from some Republicans. Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are pushing back on the administration's plan by questioning the department's authority to start the pilot program, since the U.S. Congress explicitly cut most prisoners' eligibility for Pell Grants in the mid-1990s. (Inside Higher Ed - July 29, 2015)

White House Summit on Short-Term Training Programs

The White House is hosting a meeting today on the growing boot camp and coding academy space, which offers short-term training programs to students. Other alternative providers, such as online course platforms, also are on the agenda, said several invitees. The meeting is expected to include a discussion of how these entities might partner with traditional colleges. (Inside Higher Ed - July 30, 2015)

Research News:

Senate Panel Approves Open Access Bill with 12-Month Embargo Period

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs today approved the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act (S. 779 ), legislation to provide free public online access to articles generated from federally funded scientific research.

The bill was approved with an amendment by Senators Tom Carper, D-Del., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to extend the embargo period between publication of an article and its full availability to the public from six months to 12 months. AAU supports the longer embargo period.

AAU and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities last April expressed support for the goals of FASTR-whose companion bill in the House is H.R. 1477-and a related bill, the Public Access to Public Science Act (H.R. 1426). (Association of American Universities - July 29, 2015)

Librarians Leap to the Aid of Researchers Whose Funding Will Soon Depend on Open Access

As more federal agencies begin requiring grant recipients to make research results freely available to the public, college librarians have taken on a new role: helping researchers comply with open-access rules. New open-access rules will take effect in October at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, among other agencies. (Chronicle of Higher Education - July 30, 2015)

NIH Dreams of an Additional $323 Million for Alzheimer's Research

From time to time, Congress asks federal science agencies to prepare an expert "bypass budget" that lays out the funding the agency thinks is necessary to meet an important goal. Yesterday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released the first such bypass budget proposal for Alzheimer's disease, which is projected to triple in prevalence by 2050. [T]he new document requests $1.06 billion for Alzheimer's research in the 2017 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. That's $323.5 million more than the $737 million the president requested in the formal budget request. (ScienceInsider - July 28, 2015)

NEH Announces $36.6 Million for More Than 200 Humanities Projects

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $36.6 million in grants for 212 humanities projects . . . This funding will support a wide variety of projects including traveling exhibitions, the creation of new digital research tools, the preparation and publication of scholarly editions, professional development opportunities for teachers and college faculty, the preservation of cultural collections, collaborative humanities research, and the production and development of films, television, and radio programs. (National Endowment for the Humanities - July 28, 2015)

House Democrat who promoted neuroscience indicted for campaign irregularities

One of the leading advocates for neuroscience research in the U.S. Congress [Rep. Chaka Fattah, D–Pa.] was indicted today for alleged misuse of funds in connection with a failed 2007 campaign to become mayor of Philadelphia. Fattah relinquished his position on the Commerce, Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee today and was replaced by Rep. Mike Honda, D–Calif., a former high school principal who has been a reliable vote for additional federal funding of research and education. (ScienceInsider - July 29, 2015)

Icy Pluto Reignites Debate about NASA Planetary Funding

Two weeks after New Horizons’ Pluto flyby, NASA planetary science funding took center stage during a July 28 House Science Committee hearing. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, chairman of the space subcommittee, applauded NASA’s efforts and criticized the White House for reducing planetary science funding, a decision that he says would limit future scientific missions beyond low Earth orbit. (SpaceNews - July 29, 2015)

Health News:

AHA: Bill to address newborn opioid dependency clears committee

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved by voice vote the AHA-supported Protecting Our Infants Act (H.R. 1462). The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a strategy and recommendations to decrease the number of infants with opioid dependency, and would encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states to improve the public health response to this epidemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has introduced a companion bill (S. 799). [During a June 25th hearing, Vanderbilt Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy Stephen Patrick, MD, provided expert testimony to the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on neonatal abstinence syndrome.] (American Hospital Association - July 30, 2015)

Item of Note:


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