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Federal Relations


Following a vote of 332 to 94 in the House, the Senate voted 64 to 36 to pass H.J.Res. 59, the bipartisan budget agreement that sets funding levels for FY 2014 and 2015, and partially replaces funds cut due to sequestration. The current funding agreement expires on January 15th, and a new deal was needed to avoid another government shutdown. The budget deal restores $63 billion in funds reduced by sequestration - $45 billion for FY 2014 and $18 billion for FY 2015. Overall funding levels for FY 2014 will be set at $1.012 trillion. For non-defense discretionary spending the budget agreement provides an additional $24 billion over FY 2013 post-sequestration levels restoring approximately 87% of funding. In order to provide this partial restoration, the budget agreement makes a number of offsets including, savings generated by lowering the reimbursement for guaranty agencies that rehabilitated loans under the old Federal Family Education Loan Program, and eliminating mandatory spending for payments to non-profit student-loan servicers. Those loan services payments will now be distributed through discretionary funds in the same manner as other student-loan servicers.

                                                                                     Jan_2014 (PDF)

Since there was no recent activity regarding Federal legislation there is not a Federal Update for February. 

2014 Community College National Legislative Summit
The 2014 Community College National Legislative Summit was held in Washington, D.C., February 11th through February 13th. More than 1,000 community college trustees, presidents, students, and institutional leaders were in our nation’s Capital to advocate for their institutions and the community college federal legislative priorities. Those priorities covered a range of issues but focused primarily on maintaining the Pell Grant program, reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act, and helping community colleges serve Veteran students. Participating in the summit and a series of meetings on Capitol Hill with members of California’s Congressional delegation was Board of Governors chair, Dr. Manuel Baca, vice chair, Geoffrey Baum, board member Deborah Malumed, and Chancellor Brice Harris.
                                                                                     Mar_2014 (PDF) 

Since there was no recent activity regarding federal legislation there is not a Federal Update for April.  

House of Representatives passes budget for 2015
On April 10, the House passed H.Con.Res. 96, a budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2015 by a vote of 219 to 205. The resolution, introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) cuts federal spending by $5 trillion over 10 years, and includes cuts to higher education.

The resolution calls for significant changes for the Pell Grant program, including: eliminating eligibility for less-than-half-time students; instituting an income cap; lowering income thresholds to qualify for a zero expected family contribution; changing the current income protection allowance to require higher contributions from working students; and removing the income exclusion of the child tax credit, TANF, and EITC. Additionally, it freezes of the maximum Pell Grant award at its current level of $5,730, and eliminates all $84 billion in mandatory funding for the Pell Grant program. The House budget also calls for elimination of federal loan in-school loan interest subsidies for undergraduate students, as well as elimination of fees paid to institutions for administration of the Pell Grant or campus-based aid.
                                                                    May 2014 (PDF)

Bipartisan, Bicameral Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Reauthorization Bill Emerges
On May 21, 2014, after negotiations between the House and Senate, a compromise was reached on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which combines the House's SKILLS Act (HR 803) and the Senate's Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S 1356). The final legislative package may be considered on the Senate floor in June.

The WIOA eliminates 15 programs that are currently unfunded. The bill also consolidates the existing structure of the state and local Workforce Investment Boards. The community college seat remains mandatory for the local board, but optional on the state board. Additionally, the bill places a greater emphasis on the transition to postsecondary education in the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and includes numerous provisions calling for integrated delivery of basic skills and occupational instruction. The WIOA eliminates the current sequence of services and allows local areas increased flexibility to contract with institutions of higher education. Funding for employment and training activities for adults, dislocated workers, and youth are authorized at levels equal to current funding for fiscal year (FY) 2015 and increases on an annual basis until FY 2020.
                                                            June 2014 (PDF) 

Workforce Investment Act Reauthorization Bill Sent to the President
For over a decade, Congress has worked on reauthorizing the Workforce Investment Act. With Senate passage of the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Congress appears close to achieving that long-overdue reauthorization. WIOA is a compromise of the Senate’s Workforce Investment Act of 2013 and the House’s Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The bill provides for a six-year reauthorization, including a two-year implementation period.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 95 – 3, and passed by the House by a vote of 415-6 and is expected to be signed into law by the President before mid-term elections. Passage of this reauthorization only marks one step in this process however. Both the Department of Labor and Department of Education will be developing significant regulatory guidance following passage and during implementation.
                                                                   July 2014 (PDF)

Since the Board of Governors and Consultation Council did not meet in August there is no Federal Update.

H.R. 3230: Veteran’s Access, Choice, and Accountability Act
On August 7th, President Obama signed HR 3230 which easily passed the House and Senate and was written to provide resources and address the Veteran Administration’s healthcare crisis, as well as provide other services for veterans. It includes a provision similar to H.R. 357 the Veteran’s Tuition Fairness Act to provide in state tuition for veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the Montgomery GI Bill. Section 702 in HR 3230, requires the Veteran’s Administration to disapprove courses provided by a public institution of higher learning for purposes of Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill education benefits, if the institution charges tuition and fees at a rate that is higher than residents. This section is effective for any quarter, semester or term that begins after July 1, 2015.
                                                                   Sept_2014 (PDF)

Since there was no recent activity regarding Federal legislation there is not a Federal Update for February.

The 113th Congress is scheduled to adjourn on January 3, 2015, but in between now and that date, Congress is on recess and members are campaigning for their seats for the November 2014 election. Before the recent recess, Congress and the President were able to avert a government shutdown, and the administration published new regulations to support the Violence Against Women Act.
Continuing Resolution Funds the Federal Government Through December 11, 2014
President Obama signed a FY2015 Continuing Resolution (CR)—H.J. Res 124 on September 19, 2014 hat will fund the federal government through December 11, 2014. After the Senate passed CR, Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) chair Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said the goal of the CR "is to lay the groundwork for an omnibus funding bill in December that will include all 12 appropriations bills." Senator Mikulski said she supported the bill because it avoided a government shutdown, does not harm existing important programs, provides funding for the nation’s security, and will allow Congress time to negotiate an omnibus appropriations bill. The bill sets the discretionary funding level for the federal government during CR period at an annual rate of $1.012 trillion.
                                                                             Nov_2014 (PDF)

Since the Board of Governors and Consultation Council did not meet in December there is no Federal Update.