All posts by Adam Harris


Education Dept. Closes Title IX Investigation of Liberty U.

The Education Department’s civil-rights office has closed a Title IX investigation of Liberty University that had been triggered by a sexual-assault claim. The office cited a lack of jurisdiction.

In a letter addressed to President Jerry L. Falwell Jr., Letisha Morgan, a team leader in the Office for Civil Rights, wrote that the office had learned that the person who filed the original complaint was not a student at Liberty and did not have “meaningful and sustained contact” with the institution…


Trump Won’t Take Action Against ‘Dreamers’ Protected Under DACA Program

The Trump administration will not take action against “Dreamers,” who are enrolled in an Obama-era program for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. The administration’s announcement late Thursday followed months of uncertainty about the fate of the program, which is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. As a candidate, President Trump had promised to end the program. Many Dreamers are college students.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Secu…


Memo Outlines Education Dept. Plans to Scale Back Civil-Rights Efforts

Updated (6/15/2017, 3:26 p.m.) with a statement from the Education Department.

The U.S. Department of Education plans to weaken requirements for investigating civil-rights complaints, ProPublica reports.

Candice Jackson, the department’s acting assistant secretary for civil rights, announced the changes in a memo sent to her staff on June 8. “Effective immediately, there is no mandate that any one type of complaint is automatically treated differently than any other type of complaint with respe…


Lawmakers and Trade Group Criticize Education Dept. Move to Single Loan Servicer

A bicameral group of federal legislators on Tuesday sent a letter to Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, criticizing recent changes in how the Education Department chooses an outside company to service the billions of dollars in federal student loans it issues.

The lawmakers were led by Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington; Sen. Elizabeth A. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts; Rep. Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia; and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Democrat of Oregon. “We have serious concern…


Morehouse College’s Interim President Dies Suddenly

William J. Taggart, interim president of Morehouse College, has died, the university confirmed on Thursday.

Mr. Taggart had been appointed interim president in April, after the college’s governing board voted to remove the then president, John S. Wilson Jr., three months before his contract was due to expire. The board also voted to remove its chair, Robert C. Davidson.

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Interim President William J. ‘Bill’ Taggart, a beloved colleague, father, and …


Lawmakers Grill DeVos on Budget Proposal

Updated (6/6/2017, 3:50 p.m.) with information about the Education Department’s responses to letters from congressional Democrats.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took fire from both sides of the aisle on Tuesday during a tense U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing about the Trump administration’s 2018 budget request.

Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri and chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, kicked off the hearing with an …


University of California Will No Longer Pay for Regents’ Dinners and Parties

The University of California will no longer pick up the tab for dinners and parties thrown by the university’s Board of Regents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The change in policy came hours after a report that the university had reimbursed regents to the tune of more than $225,000 for such events since 2012.

The regents threw parties and dinners at lavish hotels, the report said, and some of them were “poorly timed.” A recent event, which cost $270 a person on May 17, was held immediatel…


Top Federal Student-Aid Official Resigns Over Congressional Testimony

Updated (5/24/2017, 8:01 p.m.) with a statement from the department.

A top official at the U.S. Education Department resigned on Tuesday following a dispute over his scheduled testimony this week before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, according to a department official.

James W. Runcie, the chief operating officer of the department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, submitted his resignation on Tuesday night. Matthew Sessa, a deputy in the office, will assume Mr. Runci…


What Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget Would Mean for Higher Ed

Updated (5/23/2017, 2:19 p.m.) with details on the budget proposals for scientific and medical research.

The Trump administration on Tuesday released its budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. All told, the budget would cut federal education programs by more than $10 billion. The Department of Education’s total operating budget would be slashed by $9 billion, and spending on secondary-education programs would be redirected to school-choice initiatives — the chief policy goal of Betsy DeVo…


Education Dept. Says It Will Pick Single Loan Servicer

The U.S. Department of Education will award one contract to Navient, GreatNet, or the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency to service student loans and to build a platform to do so, James Manning, the acting under secretary of education, told reporters on Friday. The move is part of the next phase of the department’s revamping of how it chooses an outside company to service the billions of dollars in federal student loans it issues.

In April, Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, with…