May 20th, 2011 | View Archive
CAMPUSES ASKED TO RESPOND TO SURVEY ON REGULATORY BURDEN IN HIGHER EDUCATION
On Friday, May 20, 2011 the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance will begin a study on the regulations impacting higher education institutions as part of an effort to identify repetitive and burdensome regulations. As part of the study, the Advisory Committee will conduct a survey for campus senior executives and campus program administrators. Campuses are encouraged to participate in the survey in order to provide specific recommendations for streamlining and eliminating burdensome regulations.
The survey is in two forms: a survey of 12 questions for campus senior executives, and a somewhat longer survey for campus program administrators. The surveys are not expected to take longer than 15 to 25 minutes. Campus officials are asked to complete and submit the survey by Monday, June 6.
The survey can be found here: www.studentaidsurvey.org.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES FY11 FUNDING PLAN
On May 16, 2011, the Department of Education released its Fiscal Year 2011 funding plan. This submission was required as a part of the continuing resolution that is funding the government for the balance of the fiscal year that will end in September. Although the Department's budget was increased by $4.2 billion overall, discretionary spending for higher education was reduced by $352 million, or 16 percent, from the FY10 level. Other cuts within higher education include a $50.2 million reduction for Title VI International Education and Fulbright-Hays program funding, and a $121.6 million cut to the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The FIPSE reductions included elimination of earmarks and the cancellation of new program competitions for 2011.
Additionally, the Secretary spread out the $50 million cut among Minority-Serving Institutions, with Hispanic-Serving Institutions decreasing by $13 million in discretionary funding. HSIs will maintain the mandatory $111.5 million in mandatory funding and $100 million for STEM education.
The Department of Education Funding Plan can be viewed here: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget11/11action.pdf
Campuses should be able to view their revised allocations for campus-based student aid here: https://cbfisap.ed.gov/ecb/CBSWebApp/
FED CHAIRMAN SPEAKS ON GOVERNMENT ROLE IN R&D
On May 16, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, delivered a wide-ranging speech on the government role in promoting research and development (R&D). While discussing the role of innovation in long-term economic growth, the Fed chairman cited many examples of how the federal investment in research has enabled the emergence of new technologies in such areas as agriculture, chemicals, health care, and information technology.
Bernanke also believes that support for innovation and R&D is likely to be more effective if it is thought of as a long-run investment. Additionally, the chairman addressed the need for the U.S. to increase students studying and obtaining science and engineering degrees in order to deliver the workforce needed for the skilled jobs. And since ensuring a sufficient supply of individuals with science and engineering skills is important to promoting innovation, questions also should be raised about U.S. immigration policy.
HHS PROPOSES NEW INITIATIVES FOR ACOs
The Department of Health and Human Services announced three new accountable care organization initiatives, the launch of a new Innovation Center, new accelerated development learning sessions, and a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model they say could save Medicare $430 million over the next three years.
The new "Pioneer"model will allow mature ACOs already coordinating care for patients to launch as early as this summer rather than wait till January 2012, as was proposed last month for traditional ACOs. CMS also announced intentions of helping less mature, cash-strapped health systems and providers form ACOs by giving them some of their share of anticipated savings upfront. CMS is requesting comments on the idea by June 17.
CMS also announced free training for providers interested in becoming part of an ACO. Four free learning sessions for providers interested in finding out more about starting an ACO will begin in June. Interested participants can register online at https://acoregister.rti.org.
The announcements come amidst the backdrop of very high estimated start up costs for an ACO. The American Hospital Association estimates that an ACO could cost considerably higher — $11.6 to $26.1 million — than the $1.8 million estimate made by CMS in its proposed rule.
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