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Capital Update

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Capital Update tracks the movement of legislation, the introduction of notable bills, and routine regulatory announcements.

Legislative Action

Higher Education

The House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Training, and Life-Long Learning held a hearing July 17 on the rising cost of college tuition. Witnesses included college administrators, a college student, researchers, and higher education policy experts. The hearing was not connected to any particular bill currently before Congress.

Student Loans

The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations met July 10 to hear details of a report by the Department of Education's inspector general on the mismanagement of student-financial-aid programs. Of particular interest to the panel's chairman, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., were questions about the department's management of the $25 million direct-loan program backed by President Clinton, including a backlog of applications and loan-default appeals.

Regulatory Action

Grant Programs
Amendments to Selection Criteria

The Education Department announced in the July 16 Federal RegisterFederal Register that it proposes streamlining the selection criteria it uses in awarding grants for a host of competitive federal programs. Officials explain that the variety of selection criteria for the myriad grant programs could be improved. The proposed rule, which the department is accepting comments on through Aug. 30, would create a more predictable and consistent selection criteria, according to officials. The goal is to help applicants anticipate the type of information the department expects and give application reviewers a better understanding of the standards used to make awards.

Applications for State Grants

The Department of Labor announced in the July 12 Federal Register Federal Registerthat it is seeking grant applications to implement state plans under the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. The deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 30.

School Meals
Reimbursements for Federal Meals Programs

The Department of Agriculture announced in the July 11 Federal Register its new, increased reimbursement for federal meals programs, including the school-lunch, school-breakfast, and milk programs. The new rates took effect July 1.

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