Bills upcoming for a vote in the legislature.

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HBCU Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students Act

S 461Education • Introduced by Tim Scott on 2019-2-12

Status: Passed One Chamber

Last action: 2019-2-13

Education and Energy Act of 2018

HR 5859Education • Introduced by Scott Tipton on 2018-5-17

Status: Awaiting floor or committee vote

Last action: 2018-12-28

Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

S 3217Education • Introduced by Lamar Alexander on 2018-7-16

Status: Awaiting floor or committee vote

Last action: 2018-12-19

Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act

HR 1635Education • Introduced by Brett Guthrie on 2017-3-20

Has summary

Status: Passed One Chamber

Last action: 2018-9-6


Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act

This bill amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to modify loan counseling requirements for an institution of higher education (IHE) that participates in federal student aid programs.

Currently, an IHE must provide entrance counseling to a student who is a first-time federal student loan borrower. This bill replaces required entrance counseling with required annual counseling. Also, it expands the required recipients of such annual counseling to include, in addition to student borrowers, Federal Pell Grant recipients and parent PLUS Loan borrowers.

Each annual counseling recipient must receive comprehensive information on the terms, conditions, and responsibilities with respect to a grant or loan and general information on a typical student budget, the right to request an annual credit report, average income and employment data, and financial management resources. Additionally, the bill revises, expands, or establishes specific annual counseling information requirements for student borrowers, Pell Grant recipients, or parent PLUS Loan borrowers.

The bill revises and expands exit counseling information requirements to include an outstanding loan balance summary, the anticipated monthly payments under standard and income-based repayment plans, an explanation of the grace period preceding repayment, the option to pay accrued interest before it capitalizes, the right to request an annual credit report, and loan servicer contact information.

It directs the Department of Education to maintain a consumer-tested online counseling tool that provides annual and exit counseling.

The Institute of Education Sciences must study the impact and effectiveness of exit counseling, annual counseling, and the online counseling tool.


HR 4508Education • Introduced by Virginia Foxx on 2017-12-1

Status: Awaiting floor or committee vote

Last action: 2018-2-8

SOAR Reauthorization Act

HR 1387Education • Introduced by Jason Chaffetz on 2017-3-7

Has summary

Status: Awaiting floor or committee vote

Last action: 2017-3-27


(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act or the SOAR Reauthorization Act

(Sec. 2) This bill repeals the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program School Certification Requirements Act, as contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.

(Sec. 3) The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) is amended to limit its focus to students in the lowest-performing Washington, DC, elementary and secondary schools.

(Sec. 4) The Department of Education (ED) shall not limit the number of eligible students receiving Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) scholarships, or prevent otherwise eligible students from participating in the OSP because of:

  • the type of school the student previously attended;
  • whether or not the individual previously received the scholarship or participated in OSP, including one previously awarded a scholarship who did not use it; or
  • was a member of the control group used by the Institute of Education Sciences to carry out previous OSP evaluations.

(Sec. 5) An eligible nonprofit organization's application for an OSP grant must include how it will ensure:

  • the financial viability of a participating school in which 85% or more of enrolled students receive and use an opportunity scholarship,
  • utilization of internal fiscal and quality controls and compliance with financial reporting requirements.

(Sec. 6) Priorities for the award of scholarships are modified to give priority to:

  • students who in the preceding school year attended a low-achieving elementary or secondary school, and
  • certain students regardless of whether they have attended a private school.

(Sec. 7) OSP-participating schools must:

  • ensure that participating students are taught core subject matter by a teacher with a baccalaureate or equivalent degree,
  • conduct criminal background checks on school employees who have direct and unsupervised interactions with students, and
  • comply with all requests for data and information regarding certain reporting requirements.

Participating private schools must be provisionally or fully accredited or in the process of seeking accreditation.

ED must make OSP funds available to eligible entities receiving a grant for administrative expenses and parental education and assistance.

(Sec. 8) The bill revises current OSP evaluation procedures.

ED shall ensure that evaluation of the OSP is conducted using an acceptable quasi-experimental research design for determining the effectiveness of the opportunity scholarship program under this division that does not use a control study group consisting of students who applied for but did not receive opportunity scholarships.

The bill revises the duties of the ED Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) to repeal the requirement for a grade appropriate, nationally norm-referenced standardized test each school year to assess participating eligible students. IES shall instead assess participating eligible students who use an opportunity scholarship in each of grades 3 through 8, as well as one of the high school level grades, by supervising the administration of a specified reading and mathematics assessment used by the DC public schools.

The issues to be assessed shall exclude OSP success in increasing parental involvement of such parents in the education of their children, but include:

  • a comparison of the academic achievement of participating eligible students who use an opportunity scholarship to the academic achievement of a comparison group of students with similar backgrounds in the DC public schools and DC public charter schools (instead of the academic growth and achievement of the eligible students in the same grades who sought to participate in the OSP but were not selected);
  • a comparison of the college enrollment rates, college persistence rates, and college graduation rates of students who participated in the program in specified years as the result of winning the OSP lottery with the enrollment, persistence, and graduation rates for students who entered but did not win the lottery in those years and who, as a result, served as the control group for previous evaluations of the program; as well as
  • an assessment of student academic achievement at participating schools in which 85% of the total number of students enrolled at the school are participating eligible students who receive and use an opportunity scholarship.

The prohibition against any disclosure of personally identifiable information shall be replaced with specified requirements for such a disclosure.

(Sec. 9) The specified authorized OSP funds that ED may withhold for noncompliance with SOAR requirements shall be differentiated based on whether the noncompliance relates to the DC public schools, to the DC public charter schools, or to both.

Funds provided under this bill to support DC public charter schools may be directed to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for transfer to subgrantee public charter schools or networks of such schools, or DC-based non-profit organizations with successful experience with them.

(Sec. 10) ED and the Mayor shall revise a specified memorandum of understanding to ensure that participating schools meet fire code standards and maintain certificates of occupancy.

(Sec. 12) The bill reauthorizes the OSP through FY2022.

(Sec. 13) This bill shall apply beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.


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Norman Mailer

February 2003