ED Review (11/25/22)

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November 25, 2022


Student Loan Pause 

This week, the Department announced an extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections.  This extension will help alleviate uncertainty for borrowers as the Administration requests the U.S. Supreme Court review lower court orders preventing the Department from providing debt relief for tens of millions of Americans.  Payments would resume 60 days after the agency is permitted to implement the program or the litigation is resolved, giving the court an opportunity to resolve the case during its current term.  If the program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023, payments would resume 60 days after that.  More information may be found at StudentAid.gov (see also President Biden’s video update). 

Earlier, the White House and Secretary Cardona forcefully responded to a U.S. District Court judge’s ruling blocking the Administration’s student debt relief plan. 

“We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program, and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.  “The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents…sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief.  For the 26 million borrowers who have already given the Department of Education the necessary information to be considered for debt relief -- 16 million of whom have already been approved for relief -- the Department will hold onto their information so it can quickly process their relief once we prevail in court.  We will never stop fighting for hard-working Americans most in need….” 

“We believe strongly that the [Administration’s] student debt relief plan is lawful and necessary to give borrowers and families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and to ensure they succeed when repayment restarts,” Secretary Cardona added in his statement.  “We are disappointed in the decision of the Texas court to block loan relief moving forward.  Amidst efforts to block our debt relief program, we are not standing down.  The Department of Justice has appealed today’s decision on our behalf….” 

Per court orders, the Department pulled offline and is no longer accepting applications for discharges. 

The agency also started sending updates to applicants, including those approved for discharges (example). 

Separately, the Secretary issued a statement regarding a federal court’s approval of a settlement in Sweet v. Cardona, which will provide billions of dollars of relief to over 200,000 borrowers, and the Department of Justice announced a new process for handling cases in which individuals seek to discharge federal student loans in bankruptcy. 


Unlocking Career Success 

On November 14, the Department launched “Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success,” a new Administration initiative -- supported by the Departments of Commerce and Labor -- to increase and expand access to high-quality training programs and help young Americans pursue jobs in today’s in-demand fields, as well as be prepared for careers of the future.  Backed by $120 billion dedicated to K-12 education under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act funding, the Administration is ensuring the next generation is building the skills necessary to fill high-paying jobs, like those created via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act.  This includes expanding access to skills-based learning and training pathways, such as Registered Apprenticeships, in key industries. 

As part of the launch, the agency specifically announced $5.6 million in Perkins funds for a new program to expand work-based learning opportunities for students, issued new guidance on how federal funds may be used to develop and expand career pathway programming, and will host regional summits with students, educators, employers, and other stakeholders to elevate successes and discuss challenges. 

And in support of the launch, coinciding with the first day of National Apprenticeship Week, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Cardona, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh traveled to Chicago to meet with students enrolled in a career-connected learning program at Rolling Meadows High School and visit an Aon facility to highlight the value of Registered Apprenticeships, particularly in non-traditional industries and corporate careers with a focus on under-represented populations and communities in critical sectors (readout, video from Rolling Meadows, and First Lady’s remarks, Secretary Cardona’s remarks, and video from Aon). 


Proposition 49 

Then, on November 16, Secretary Cardona traveled to Los Angeles to join former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of Proposition 49 -- the state’s after-school and safety act -- and uplifting the Engage Every Student Initiative.  The two visited Bell Gardens Intermediate School, where they spoke with students, educators, and staff about the importance of expanded learning programs.  They also toured the school’s After-School All-Stars program.  “I want to see a commitment at all levels…[for] after-school programs like I saw here today,” the Secretary noted.  “Our goal is not just to recover from the last two years, but to give students more ability to thrive, to be engaged, to go onto to postsecondary education” (LAist article and photos 1 and 2). 


The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) includes $1 billion for states to competitively award subgrants to high-need school districts to establish safer and healthier learning environments and prevent and respond to acts of bullying, violence, and hate.  The Department shared Stronger Connections Grant Program state allocations back in September, along with a Dear Colleague Letter outlining principles for designing competitions and directing districts on how to use these funds.  Last week, the agency issued FAQs to further assist states and districts on effective use of funds and respond to inquiries concerning program implementation.  It welcomes public comment on the FAQs through December 19.  Moreover, the agency announced a four-part “Building Stronger Connections” webinar series, with the first session -- “Building Stronger Connections: Engaging Families and Communities” -- scheduled for November 30 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (BSCA landing page). 


Following President Biden’s call for additional efforts to help Americans get their free, updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the #VaxUpAmerica Family Vaccine Tour, a renewed push to encourage families to get their vaccines for maximum protection.  HHS is working with national and community-based organizations to reach families where they are, hosting pop-up vaccination events and distributing toolkits at crucial venues, including Head Start provider locations, nursing homes, and community health centers around the country.  It is also encouraging schools and others to host their own vaccination events. 

Plus, the Administration just announced a six-week campaign, through the end of the year, urging Americans to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine.  With winter and holiday gatherings right around the corner, more Americans getting their updated vaccine may help avoid thousands of preventable deaths.  This six-week campaign will focus on reaching seniors and the communities that were hardest hit by COVID-19 by making it even more convenient to get vaccinated and increasing awareness through paid media. 


  • White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre issued a statement on the shooting in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • President Biden issued a statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance, recognizing last weekend’s attack in Colorado Springs.
  • A White House fact sheet spotlights progress one year into Bipartisan Infrastructure Law implementation.
  • Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon spoke with CBS News about its analysis of federal data on young children being arrested in school
  • The latest “Lessons from the Field” webinar focused on engaging the secondary school community to prevent gender-based violence.
  • The STEM Teacher Leadership Video Showcase features brief videos submitted by teacher leaders and those engaged in creating teacher leadership programs.
  • In honor of Native American Heritage Month, watch this video of the Warrior Circle used in Fargo, North Dakota, schools to teach Native students to tap into culture, tradition, morals, and mindfulness to confront everyday problems.
  • A Dear Colleague Letter describes aspects of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Simplification Act that become effective for the 2023-24 Award Year.
  • In his latest blog, Institute for Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider refers to data within the ACT national profile report of the graduating class of 2022.
  • In a post-script to International Education Week, see Secretary Cardona’s video and social media posts regarding Department employees: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  • The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education released their annual “Open Doors” report, showing a year-over-year rebound in new international student enrollments in the U.S.
  • The Census Bureau’s Thanksgiving Day Fun Facts resource offers students and educators a variety of interesting facts -- from the number of turkey towns and cranberry counties nationwide to the states forecasted to raise the most turkeys! 


“Today in this country, we have an education system fundamentally designed around one narrow pathway to a bachelor’s degree -- no matter who you are or what you’re interested in.  Sadly, in many places, it’s four-year college or bust mentality.  And we’ve designed our schools with little expertise on career and workforce pathways or course design.  For too long, we have normalized the question that so many of our high school students ask us, and we don’t have a strong answer to: ‘Why am I learning this?’  That’s a big problem when 70% of jobs by 2027 will require some type of postsecondary credential, and when jobs of today and tomorrow will require specific skills or they will be left vacant.  And it’s a big problem when women and girls, people of color, and others remain under-represented in some of the most dynamic areas of our economy.  That’s why our work to transform our schools is crucial.  Our schools must evolve quicker to meet the demands of the workforce today.  Doing what we’ve done in the past won’t keep up with the pace of our country to create new high-skilled jobs and compete internationally.” 

-- Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (11/14/22), from remarks on career pathways and success at Aon’s Chicago facility 


The Department’s Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO), through its Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), will host a three-day virtual webinar series on student privacy and data security in January 2023, offering the education community opportunities to learn about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), transparency, data security, data breach preparedness, and more: January 11, January 18, and January 25. 

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