Since this was the first week that the House and the Senate were both back in session, two significant conference committee meetings took place. Both the budget and farm bill conference committees met this past Wednesday.
Click here to watch Congressman Rodney Davis' opening statement at the farm bill meeting, where he highlights the importance of agricultural research at the University of Illinois.
HEA Reauthorization Hearings Resume
The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held its second Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization hearing yesterday. The hearing focused on how innovation in higher education can better prepare students for success by increasing student learning, engagement and completion. The panel of witnesses included:
Mr. Richard Kazis, Senior Vice President, Jobs for the Future, Boston, MA
Dr. William E. Kirwan, Chancellor & Chief Executive Officer, University System of Maryland, Adelphi, MD
Dr. R. Scott Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System, Raleigh, NC
Mr. Timothy L. Hall, President, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN
Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH
Department of Education Open Forums Scheduled
Back in August, the Administration released a series of proposals to make college more affordable. In a recent Federal Register announcement, the Department of Education declared that it would be holding four open forums to collect public input about the proposals. The first forum will take place on Wednesday, November 6 at the California State University-Dominguez Hills. The rest are scheduled as follows:
Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at George Mason University, Arlington, VA;
Friday, November 15, 2013, at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA; and
Thursday, November 21, 2013, at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
To read more about the initiative, you can visit the Department of Education's College Affordability and Completion website.
According to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Administration plans to release a draft of its college rating system by next spring.
SCIENCE COALITION REPORT FEATURES UI COMPANIES
The Science Coalition, a national association which the University of Illinois belongs to, published a report this past Tuesday which illuminates the far-reaching impact of federal investments in university research. The report, entitled "Sparking Economic Growth 2.0," showcases 100 companies which sprung from federally-funded university research.
Nine of the 100 companies listed within the report can trace their roots back to the University of Illinois, including seven from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and two from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. UIC boasted the greatest number of companies of any university that was featured in the report.
The report captured the attention of both national and local media, including the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.
As Congress debates the FY 2014 budget and the America COMPETES Act, we hope that this report will serve as a reminder of the critical role the federal government has in supporting research, which in turn drives our economy. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation will be holding a hearing next Wednesday on the America COMPETES Act and will highlight the findings of The Science Coalition report.
COLLEGE OF ACES HOSTS SEN. DURBIN FOR MAJOR GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT
This morning, Illinois' College of ACES and Senator Dick Durbin made a joint announcement that Illinois has received a $25 million Feed the Future Innovation Lab grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). With this five-year grant, Illinois will lead a consortium of universities and non-governmental organizations to assist countries in Africa with improving their food supply and nutrition by enhancing soybean yields. President Robert Easter, Chancellor Phyllis Wise, Dean Robert Hauser, and ACES Associate Professor Dr. Peter Goldsmith, who is the Principal Investigator (PI) on the grant, delivered remarks at the press conference.
The fact that the University of Illinois won this award is appropriate, given that Senator Durbin, when he was a U.S. Representative, helped secure funding for the National Soybean Research Laboratory, which will catapult this effort.
The Student and Family Tax Simplification Act
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Davis
Bill Description: consolidates the Hope Credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the tuition deduction into a single AOTC
Click here to read Congressman Davis' press release on the legislation.
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations