DC Digest – March 15, 2019

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The DC Digest
Duke Government Relations
In Today’s Issue: 
  • Immigration Services to Close International Offices
  • Coalition for National Science Funding Letter
  • ARPA-E Coalition Letter
  • Title VI Day on Capitol Hill
  • Bill to Expand Work-Study Program
  • Rep. Shalala Calls for Hearing on College Admissions
  • Sen. Wyden Calls to End College Donation Tax Break
  • College Transparency Act
IMMIGRATION SERVICES TO CLOSE ALL INTERNATIONAL OFFICES
According to reporting from POLITICO, the “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to close all 23 of its international field offices.” These offices process immigration applications abroad. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees USCIS, said in a statement that DHS and the Department of State are working together to “ensure no interruption in the provision of immigration services to affected applicants and petitioners.”
 
COALITION FOR NATIONAL SCIENCE FUNDING LETTER
The Coalition for National Science Funding, of which Duke is a member, recently authored a letter to leadership of the House and Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee.

 
The letter says the members of the CNSF “strongly encourage and recommend that Congress reach a bipartisan agreement to raise the budget caps for non-defense discretionary spending. We are sending a letter to congressional leaders on this matter. Additionally, we recommend a $9 billion appropriation for NSF in fiscal year 2020.”
Letter
ARPA-E COALITION LETTER
Duke joined 87 other universities, businesses and foundations in writing a letter to House and Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee leaders urging increased investments in ARPA-E funding for FY 2020: “We support funding ARPA-E at least at $400 million in Fiscal Year 2020. This is roughly $35 million higher than in Fiscal Year 2019 and would allow for one additional program solicitation to pioneer advances in a high-impact energy technology areas.”
ARPA-E Letter
TITLE VI DAY ON CAPITOL HILL
In anticipation of the Coalition for International Education Title VI/Fulbright-Hays Advocacy Day, Duke OGR shared information on Title VI funding at Duke with Capitol Hill staff.
BIPARTISAN BILL TO EXPAND WORK-STUDY PROGRAM
Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) revealed a bill that would expand the types of student work that qualify as work-study. Their intention is to make a student’s work-study more directly applicable to that student’s desired career outcome. The proposed legislation does not increase funding for the program, but, rather, expands the possible uses of the funds.

This legislation contrasts with President Trump’s budget proposal from Monday, March 11, that calls for cutting funding to the program by half. The President’s proposal also wants to “allocate funding to institutions enrolling high numbers of Pell Grant recipients that would support workforce and career-oriented training opportunities for low-income undergraduate students,” according to the proposal.
Work-Study
REP. SHALALA CALLS FOR HEARINGS ON COLLEGE ADMISSIONS
March 13, Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL) called for hearings examining the role of wealth in college admissions.

“While the recent indictments have made it clear that a few bad actors are both in and out of some of our finest institutions, in the end the questions of systemic flaws in admissions must be examined,” Shalala said via statement. “We in Congress have a responsibility to examine at the very least the admissions process, structure and culture. It is irrelevant whether the bad actors were parents, coaches or staff. This is about the fundamental integrity of higher education.”

SEN. WYDEN BILL TO END CERTAIN TAX BENEFITS COLLEGE DONATIONS
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, plans to introduce a bill that would end the tax benefit for donations made to colleges before or during the enrollment of the donor’s children.
 
“The federal government shouldn’t prop up a corrupt system by awarding tax breaks to contributions made to elite colleges and universities to give children of the wealthiest Americans a leg up.” Sen. Wyden said via Twitter. “I’ll be introducing a bill to end this taxpayer giveaway to the wealthy.”
Tax Benefits
COLLEGE TRANSPARENCY ACT
On March 14, a bipartisan group of members of Congress reintroduced a bill called the “College Transparency Act” that aims to increase access to employment outcome data from colleges and college degrees.
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