ED Review (01/20/23)

ED Review logoHaving trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share

January 20, 2023


Student Loans Repayment

On January 10, the Department proposed regulations to reduce the cost of federal student loan payments, especially for low- and middle-income borrowers, fulfilling the commitment President Biden laid out in August when he announced the Administration’s plan to provide student debt relief for approximately 40 million borrowers and make the student loan system more manageable for all borrowers (press release). 

The regulations would amend the terms of the Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE) repayment plan -- one of the currently available income-driven repayment (IDR) plans -- to offer $0 monthly payments for any individual borrower who makes less than roughly $30,600 annually and any borrower in a family of four who makes less than $62,400 annually.  The regulations would also cut in half monthly payments on undergraduate loans for borrowers who do not otherwise have a $0 payment in this plan.  Additionally, these regulations would ensure that borrowers stop seeing their balances grow due to the accumulation of unpaid interest after making their monthly payments (fact sheet). 

While the regulations would provide critical relief to borrowers, the Administration is also committed to ensuring postsecondary institutions and programs are held accountable if they leave borrowers with unaffordable debt.  The Department is working on a proposed Gainful Employment regulation that would cut off federal financial aid to career training programs that fail to provide sufficient financial value and require warnings for borrowers who attend any program that leaves its graduates with excessive debts.  The same regulatory package would also include proposals to strengthen the conditions that may be placed on institutions that fail to meet the requirements of the Higher Education Act (HEA) or exhibit signs of risk. 

In the meantime, the agency is taking steps to carry out the President’s announcement from August that the Department would publish a list of the programs at all types of institutions that provide the least financial value to students.  To advance this effort, the agency published a Request for Information (RFI), seeking public feedback on the best way to identify such programs.  This process will help ensure that the Department is considering a range of perspectives as it constructs the list (fact sheet). 

Once a list is published, institutions with programs on the list will be asked to submit improvement plans to the Department. 

The public may comment on both documents via the Regulations.gov web site through February 10. 

The Department expects to finalize the regulations and start implementing some provisions later this year. 

Separately, Secretary Cardona issued a statement in response to the filing of over a dozen amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Administration’s student debt relief program. 


MLK Day of Service 

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service (January 16), Secretary Cardona joined Vice President Harris and AmeriCorps CEO Michael Smith for George Washington University’s annual service event that draws hundreds of students, faculty, and staff.  Led by Jumpstart at GW, the Administration leaders and campus volunteers created activities for children to learn numbers and recognize colors.  The Secretary also participated in a discussion at GW’s University Student Center, moderated by CEO Smith and including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge and Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn, on why America needs to continue to embrace the teachings of Dr. King and galvanize his ideas by taking direct action (photos and video). 

Furthermore, the Secretary issued an open letter, noting “We have a chance to be the generation that truly transforms our education system into one that makes Dr. King’s dream a reality…by working together and by recognizing that all of us are connected….  When we provide our children, regardless of background or circumstance, with a high-quality, rich education, we empower them to be what they can be.  So, especially today and in the days ahead, let’s follow Dr. King’s example of leadership and service, finding ways to give a hand up to others and make a difference in our communities.” 

And, in a video, the Education Department’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon and the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring the nation’s schools are free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. 


On the eve of MLK Day, the Department announced Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grants to three additional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that experienced bomb threats last year.  North Carolina Central University was awarded $213,500; Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $149,963; and Hampton University in Virginia was awarded $214,317 (press release). 

Earlier, Project SERV grants were awarded to Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi; Fayetteville State University in North Carolina; Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee; and Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Project SERV provides short-term funding for school districts and postsecondary institutions that have experienced a violent or traumatic incident to assist in restoring a safe environment conducive to learning.  The Department expects more grants to be awarded in the coming weeks and continues to work with HBCUs impacted to support them in the grant application process and in expediting applications once received. 


Promise Neighborhoods

January 7-9, Secretary Cardona was in Los Angeles, where, among other events, he administered the oath of office to Tony Thurmond, elected to serve a second term as California State Superintendent of Public Instruction; participated in a town hall with teachers at the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers Summit; and, joined by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, and some A-list actors and advisory board members, toured the Roybal Film and Television Production Magnet School and learned more about the unique school programming (Secretary’s tweet on arts education). 

Next, this week, the Secretary visited Turner Elementary School in Washington, D.C., for a tour and roundtable discussion on the Department’s Full-Service Community Schools grant program.  Recently, the agency awarded $63 million in five-year grants to 42 school districts, non-profit organizations, and other public and private entities (including postsecondary institutions) to increase the number of full-service community schools.  The District of Columbia Public Schools was among the grantees (photos, press release, and White House fact sheet). 

Then, also this week, the Secretary visited Hazard, Kentucky, with Harlem Children’s Zone President Geoffrey Canada to discuss recent Department grants that focus on efforts to reduce community violence and support cradle-to-career efforts in low-income areas.  They toured local schools and met with parents, educators, and partners at Hazard Community and Technical College.  Partners for Rural Impact, based in Kentucky, was among the recipients of a Promise Neighborhood grant, while others received Project Prevent grants (photos, press release, and Secretary Cardona’s Twitter thread). 


According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national vaccination coverage among kindergarten children dropped to 93% during the 2021-22 school year -- the lowest rate in the past decade.  This marks a one percentage point decline since the 2019-20 school year and a two percentage point drop since the start of the pandemic.  While this data might not seem substantial, it suggests that as many as 275,000 kindergartners lack full vaccine protection. 

A second report found overall vaccination rates among younger children remained relatively high and stable, although there were declines among those who were poor and lived in rural areas. 

The CDC launched a campaign called “Let’s RISE” -- an acronym for Routine Immunizations on Schedule for Everyone -- including materials to help physicians talk to families about vaccinations, as well as information for families who have questions about vaccinations. 


  • The November 2022 update from the School Pulse Panel examines learning mode offerings, quarantine prevalence, and school crime and safety.  Notably, 82% of public schools indicated that they had a written plan in place to handle a pandemic disease scenario, as compared to the 46% of public schools that indicated they had such plans (on another survey) during the 2017-18 school year.
  • Secretary Cardona met with Finnish Minister of Science and Culture Petri Honkonen (photos).
  • The Department released the list of candidates for the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which honors some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.
  • The latest “Lessons from the Field” webinar, the first of a two-part miniseries, focused on the facts about fentanyl.
  • The Department and eight other federal agencies published a joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register to “amend their regulations to clarify protections for beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries receiving federally funded social services and the rights and obligations of organizations providing such services.”  The proposed rule on Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations is designed to “promote maximum participation by beneficiaries and providers in the agencies’ covered programs and activities and ensure consistency in the implementation of those programs and activities.”  Public comments are due via the Regulations.gov web site by March 14.  (Note: The Department just held the first session in a virtual event series on religious literacy to support greater understanding and inclusion of America’s religious diversity.) 


“The soul of America is embodied in the sacred proposition that we’re all created equal in the image of God.  That was the sacred proposition for which Dr. King gave his life.  It was a sacred proposition rooted in Scripture and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  A sacred proposition [Dr. King] invoked on that day in 1963 when he told my generation about his dream -- a dream in which we’re all entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.  A dream in which we all deserve liberty and justice.  And it is still the task of our time to make that dream a reality, because it’s not there yet.” 

-- President Joseph Biden (1/16/22), from remarks honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta 

“[I] think the greatest measure of strength of any individual is revealed based not on who you beat down, but based on who you lift up.  If you ever question your reason for being, what is your purpose, whether it matters, the answer will come when you realize the impact you can have on another human being, by everything from a kind word to doing what you all have been doing [here today]….  [I]t’s an extraordinary sign of the strength that we each possess and, when we do it as a community, the impact that we can have on our world.”

-- Vice President Kamala Harris (1/16/22), from remarks at the MLK Day of Service and Leadership at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. 


On January 24, at 12 noon Eastern Time, Secretary Cardona will deliver a major address, “Raise the Bar: Lead the World,” laying out the Department’s focus for the year -- building off his priorities to promote academic excellence and prepare for global competitiveness outlined last year.  After his remarks, he will take part in a fireside chat with National PTA Executive Director Nathan Monell.  All are welcome to view the event live-streamed on the agency’s YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter accounts. 

Engage Every Student is launching a webinar series on a range of topics to support engagement in high-quality after-school and summer learning opportunities for every student.  The first session (February 23 @ 2 p.m. ET) will focus on program funding.  The second session (March 3 @ 2 p.m. ET) will focus on program sustainability. 

President Biden will deliver his second State of the Union Address on February 7. 

ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement

This newsletter contains hypertext links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations.  These links are provided for the user’s convenience.  The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information.  Furthermore, the inclusion of links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

You are subscribed to ED Review for U.S. Department of Education.