Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Federal Update for Friday, March 25, 2011

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent their Views and Estimates report to the House Budget Committee last Friday. The report outlines the Committee's views on the FY 2012 budgets for the agencies and programs under their jurisdiction. A copy of the report is available at:

An announcement was sent out this week from the Student Aid Alliance regarding the launch of their new website (  The Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of 61 higher education organizations, and the new website was created to help fight cuts to federal student aid and protect Pell Grants.
The new site is being launched as Congress continues to work on a budget deal for the current fiscal year. 

As you know, the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1) on February 19 that deeply cuts the core student aid programs, including reducing the maximum Pell Grant by 15 percent and reducing grants for more than 9 million low-income students, and eliminating the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Leveraging Education Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) programs.  The federal budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year beyond mid-March is still up in the air, and student aid is still on the table for more cuts.

Specifically, H.R. 1:
  • Pell Grants: Cuts the Pell Grant maximum by $845, lowering grants for more than 9 million low-income students.
  • SEOG: Eliminates funding for this supplemental grant aid for the poorest Pell Grant recipients, cutting an average of $736 from 1.3 million students, and up to $4,000 for the poorest. 
  • LEAP: Eliminates funding for the seed money for state student aid programs, cutting at least $1 billion in state aid across the country.
  • TRIO: Cuts TRIO by $25 million, which would cause approximately 96,000 students to lose program services. It would also result in the loss of nearly 500 jobs, making it more difficult for colleges to provide the support services at-risk students need to stay in and complete their higher education.
  • GEAR UP: Cuts GEAR UP by $20 million, excluding more than 40,000 low-income, minority and disadvantaged students from receiving the support they need to prepare for college. More than 100 grants expire in 2011, decreasing the number of teachers, parents and schools helping these students.
NIH announced on March 18 that it would provide a 30-day extension of the deadline for comments on adoption and implementation of the latest edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  The Guide is a National Academies' publication that serves as the basis for NIH's policy on the use of animals in research. The new deadline for comments is April 24, 2011.

As you know, a very important component of the University of Wisconsin System's "Growth Agenda" is the More Graduates for Wisconsin initiative to increase the cumulative number of graduates by 80,000 over the next 15 years.  This week, Vice President Joe Biden issued a call to action to boost college graduation rates across the country and announced a new grant competition focused on helping institutions of higher education boost completion rates.  
In concert with the Vice President's announcement, the U.S. Department of Education  announced that it is accepting applications for the 2011 Comprehensive Grant Program, which is part of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The Comprehensive Grant Program will provide a total of $20 million to colleges to implement innovative reform practices that can increase success and improve productivity in postsecondary schools.

Further, the following grant from the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools was announced.. The COPS Office is now accepting applications for the FY2011 Community Policing Development (CPD) Program. The CPD Program is open to all public governmental agencies, profit and non-profit institutions, universities, community groups and faith based organizations. Proposals should be of national relevance, significantly advance the field of community policing, and demonstrate an understanding of community policing as it pertains to the application topic. Initiatives that primarily or solely benefit one or a limited number of law enforcement agencies or other entities will not be considered for funding.  All applications must be submitted online by Thursday, April 21, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT.  For more information, go to:

(APLU, AAU and the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributed to this report.)