More exciting information about changes to the Higher Ed Opp Act!

Jon Collins

Like sometimes happens, I received a concise reply from the Department of Education only after the story went to print. See the original article: The new information regards legislative changes to the Higher Ed Act that conservatives see as a partial victory. Some conservative groups lobbied and it was a big issue with Stanley Kurtz of the National Review for awhile, but the final legislation didn’t have the oversight committee they’d hoped for. Not much teeth but more a symbolic victory, is my impression. So, it turned out that whether the changes would affect any of the U’s programs or not really depended on how the Department of Education changed the criteria they used to fund these international programs, which they had no idea about yesterday. But today, it is what the DOE, in its incomprehensibly bureaucratic language, just sent me: Summary: (For those brave souls who want to take a crack at it, please skip ahead so as not to ruin the surprise.) There will be a form about diversity starting in fiscal year 2009, although it doesn’t seem that the form will count towards the point system used to decide which institution gets the loans. National Resource Center staff will be briefed in February. Enjoy! 1) How are we having applicants reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views? Response: We will include an assurance form in the application packages for the competitions that we are running during FY 2009. This form requires applicants to provide information as to how the proposed activities reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views. 2) Will the process for weighing applications change? Response: No. At present, we do not intend to change any of the point values currently used in the competitions. 3) Is the application process for Title VI changing? Response: There are no changes in the selection criteria for the competitions that we are administering during FY 2009. But we will require a description of how areas of national need, to be designated by the Secretary, will be addressed by the applicant. 4) When does it start? Response: The identification of areas of national need in the competitions that Title VI administers, as well as a means to address diverse perspectives and a wide range of views, and any terminology changes as required by HEOA, will begin with the FY 2009 competitions. 5) Are NRCs being informed of changes, and if they are, when? Response: National Resource Centers will be informed of the changes. The NRCs do not have a competition until FY 2010. A technical assistance workshop is scheduled for February 2 and 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. Part of that workshop, which will bring together potential applicants, project directors of the NRCs, as well as project directors associated with other Title VI Programs (i.e., Centers for International Business Education, Language Resource Centers, and Institute for International Public Policy), will address all Title VI requirements in HEOA.