Legislative Advocacy Get In The Game! WASFAA Conference April 2011 Vicki Shipley, NCHELP Helena Stangle Bertram DeVry Inc. Agenda Process Overview and Key Players − House − Senate − Administration Role of the Department of Education Your Role and Responsibilities Grassroots –Get In The Game! What Works and What Doesn’t 2 The Federal Process Why Should You Care? The majority of student aid is the product of and exists within some sort of political environment − National politics − State politics − Institutional politics Understanding the basic concepts and structures can help you anticipate change and possibly influence the process 4 Government Legislative – makes laws − United States Senate − 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, 2 Independents − United States House of Representatives − 242 Republicans, 193 Democrats Executive – administers/regulates laws − President − Secretary of United States Department of Education (ED) Judicial – interprets laws − United States Attorney General 5 Who’s Responsible? Congress Creation and Modification of Programs Need Analysis Formula Maximum Grant and Loan Amounts Amount of Funding Priorities in Awarding Aid Tax Benefits Executive Branch Cash Management on Campus Disbursement of Funds Audit Criteria Enforcement (L, S & T) Special Conditions FAFSA Design Reporting Requirements Tax Forms 6 Legislation vs. Regulation Legislation – passage of laws − Congress proposes & adopts − President signs or vetoes − Amends the U.S. Code -- the “statute” (e.g. the Higher Education Act (HEA)) − Public Laws (112-XX) Regulation - interprets and adds operational detail to statute − − − − Cannot change the statute Hearings, comment periods Federal Negotiated Rulemaking Reviewed by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and ED Attorney General − Interim, Interim-Final & Final Regulations 7 Authorization vs. Appropriation Authorizing Legislation − Introduced by a Representative or Senator to amend or create a federal statute, such as the HEA − Creates programs − Authorizes expenditure ceilings Appropriating Legislation − Budget Bills − Determines the actual amount of funding, usually less than the amount appropriated 8 Show Me The Money! Appropriations and Budget Processes − Set annual spending caps for individual programs − Discretionary spending Pell Grants Campus Based Programs Trio, GEAR-UP − Mandatory spending (Entitlements) FFELP FDLP 9 Budget Process Budget Resolution − Sets framework for annual spending − Establishes totals for discretionary and mandatory spending − May require “reconciliation” – impacts mandatory spending & taxes − Does NOT require Presidential signature Reconciliation becomes important part of deficit reduction process 10 What Is Reauthorization? Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended − Originally enacted as part of President Johnson’s “Great Society” programs − Authorizations “sunset” and must be renewed − “Authorizes” virtually all federal higher education programs Student Aid Programs Aid to Minority Serving Institutions TRIO and GEAR-UP Programs − Reauthorized in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2008 Significant changes made outside of reauthorization (e.g. reconciliation) 11 Federal Legislative Process Committee process – Hearings on Issue (optional) – Bill is introduced – Subcommittee “Mark-Up” Legislation “Reported” – Full Committee “Mark Up” “Floor” action – Passage or rejection Sent back to Committee or referred to other Chamber 12 Federal Legislative Process (Final Action) Conference Committee − Attempts to resolve differences between House and Senate-passed bills − Result is a “Conference Report” -- includes explanatory language and recommendations Final vote − Identical Conference Report must be approved by House and Senate before it can be sent to the President President signs or vetoes 13 Congress Senate Education Committee Tom Harkin(D-IA) Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Michael Enzi(R-WY) Ranking Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions 14 Congress House Education Committee John Kline (R-MN) Chairman Education & the Workforce Committee George Miller (D-CA) Ranking Member Education & the Workforce Committee Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Chair Subcommittee on Higher Education & Workforce Training 15 Secretary of Education Arne Duncan 16 U.S. Department of Education (ED) Hot issues − − − − − Pell Grant Cuts and/or Overhaul? Gainful Employment Regulations Graduation Rates Cohort Default Rates Adequate services for students and schools − Simplification and transparency of information − Emphasis on transparency, accountability, college cost and consumer information 17 Negotiated Rulemaking (NegReg) Mandated by the HEA − All rules implementing changes to the HEA and revisions to regulations − Secretary consults with the “community” Secretary selects negotiators − Representative of affected communities (e.g., schools, students, lenders, guarantors, servicers, and more) Secretary’s representative has veto power 18 NegReg First negotiate, then regulate The process − Non-federal negotiators nominated by the field, appointed by the Secretary − Issues proposed for regulation − Proposed language submitted by ED − Regulations approved by full consensus − If no consensus on all language, authority to write all regulations under discussion reverts to the Secretary 19 NegReg (cont.) Result is Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Published in Federal Register − Public comment solicited (30 - 90 Days) − Negotiators who are part of consensus cannot disagree with NPRM − Final Rule published, including responses to public comments Results in Better Rules – reflecting “Realities” of those who must implement the regulations Master calendar 20 NegReg and You Your role during NegReg − Know who represents your segment or interests − Follow the issues (IFAP, WASFAA and NASFAA) Your role after NegReg − Review NPRM in Federal Register − Respond within comment period Send Comments to − ED (see Federal Register) − Federal Issues Committees − NASFAA 21 Other Opportunities to Comment Annual Requests for Comments − FAFSA design & ISIR Comment wording − FISAP layout Where to find deadlines − − − − − Federal Register IFAP NASFAA News Higher Ed News Association alerts 22 Other Agencies Influencing Federal Financial Aid Policy National Advisory Committee on Financial Aid − Hearings − Requests for comments National Higher Ed Associations − NASFAA, ACE, AASCU, NAICU, CCA and Student Assoc Special interest groups State Attorney General College president or lobbyist 23 You are the Expert ― Be Heard! Pick your topic & voice your opinion Get to know your legislators & be in contact with them – phone, email, and visits Join WASFAA and NASFAA committees Respond to request from association to write your legislator Invite legislators to your campus Write an article for the association newsletter Get your students involved! 24 Mobilizing the Grassroots All politics are local. Elected officials are focused on their constituents. What elected officials do or don’t do is often a function of who has their attention. 25 What is/does “Grassroots” mean? “Grassroots” lobbying is when everyday citizens contact their own legislators to try to influence legislation and policy. − Your success depends on the support of the people you mobilize. “Grasstops” lobbying is the mobilization of people with a close personal connection to an elected official to influence legislation and policy. 26 Grassroots Issue Advocacy 101 Keep to your long-term vision: − Grassroots work is not for the short winded; it’s a long distance race − Vision should include achievable goal(s) Understand your goal(s): − Clearly articulated − Appeal to your broadest constituency − Include incremental gains 27 Grassroots Issue Advocacy 101 (continued)… Strategy and tactics should be: − Organic − Adjustable given changing circumstances − Include an equal blend of leading and listening Your ultimate purpose is two-fold: − Mobilize − Channel enthusiasm and resources into action 28 Do Your Homework Understand both sides of the issue; know your facts. − Know where you stand in terms of negotiation and compromise. − Be prepared to be counter-lobbied. Research your opposition and elected officials’ position on the issue. − “Electeds” include the members that represent you, your campus, your students, alumni, etc.; House/Senate leadership; jurisdictional committees; appropriators; regulators; etc. 29 Organize Identify the appropriate member(s) to engage. − Your delegation, committee chairs, appropriators, conference committee members, regulator? Identify your “leader” or campaign spokesperson Identify your “constituents” − Students, faculty, alumni, institutional support staff, etc. 30 Organize (continued)… Most individuals won’t take action unless approached more than once with compelling facts. − Assume that potential participants aren’t fluent on the issue. Find an angle that motivates people. Call should be: − Accurate − Well crafted (written/spoken) − Persuasive 31 Organize (continued)… Provide a wealth of knowledge in a condensed format. − Explain why engagement is important and needed − Clearly identify what specific action you want Communicate − − − − − Website (student portal, “Action Center”) Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) Calls / emails (current students, alumni) Campaign signage / collateral Via staff/faculty during scheduled classes 32 Implement Actions/expectations should be specific: − Phone Tree (scripted vs. free form): Includes calling members explaining position “for” or “against” a particular measure or to thank them. − Letter Writing Campaign (original vs. form): Includes asking the grassroots participants to write letters to elected or appointed officials explaining a position “for” or “against” a particular measure or to thank them. 33 Implement (continued)… − Face-to-Face Meetings (champions): Includes organizing the grassroots to engage with elected officials and/or their staff in person in Washington D.C., at a state capital, at a district office location, town hall meeting, community function, etc. Provide participants with specific tasks and the resources needed to accomplish those tasks. − Mobilize X number of students/faculty/alumni − Participate in X number of editorial board meetings 34 Build Cultivate relationships before they’re needed. Grassroots also includes: − Participating in “Hill Days” that include students, alumni, faculty and campus leadership, etc. Fact sheets, testimonial materials Other pertinent and salient information − Participating in district office meetings − Hosting elected officials at your campus − Engaging elected officials as guest speakers 35 Build (continued)… − Assisting elected officials with town hall and community events − Finding other unique touch points including quarterly newsletters and recognition events − Sign up for elected/appointed officials monthly newsletters − Regularly check elected/appointed officials websites for events and opportunities − Regularly check local papers for activities involving campus elected officials − Finding opportunities to network, such as K-20 councils, educational partnership events, 36 Chamber meetings, etc. Engagement Resources Who represents me? − US House of Representatives: www.house.gov − US Senate: www.senate.gov − List of State Legislatures: http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=17173 Legislative Process: − http://thomas.loc.gov/home/lawsmade.toc.htm Outside resources: − Congress.org: www.congress.org − NASFAA: http://www.nasfaa.org/Advocacy/Legislation/Your_Legislative _Contacts.aspx − List of Higher Education Organizations: − http://www.ihep.org/Resources/organizations.cfm 37 Thank you! Questions or Comments?