Don’t Get Spooked! What the Midterms Mean for Higher Education



Don’t Get Spooked! What the Midterms Mean for Higher Education REGISTER FOR WEBINAR

October 31, 2018

12:30 PM Eastern
11:30 AM Central
10:30 AM Mountain
9:30 AM Pacific

General CLE credit available
Missouri: 1.2 hours
Illinois and California:
1.0 hour

Are you scared of the midterms? On Halloween, Thompson Coburn will host a panel conversation about the election and its impact on higher education. Among other topics, our panelists will discuss:

  • Potential scenarios on the control of the House and Senate
  • Key races to watch on election night
  • The substantive effect of the election outcome on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
  • Implications for FY2020 education spending
  • What role, if any, the election will have on regulation and oversight at the US Department of Education

Kevin Cain is the Director of Governmental Affairs with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges where he works to educate Congress and the administration on the challenges and opportunities facing academic veterinary medicine. Prior to working at AAVMC, Kevin worked as Vanderbilt University’s Director of Governmental Affairs for Health and Biomedical Sciences. Kevin served as a key aide to two members of Congress and, over the course of his 19-year career, he has worked as a policy leader and advocate, advising lawmakers and staff on legislative and regulatory changes that could impact critical business decisions.

Kimberly Jones serves as the Vice President for Public Policy and Communications at the Council for Opportunity in Education. Jones maintains various professional memberships, including the Committee for Education Funding, of which she served as President in 2014; the National Bar Association, for which she chaired the Legislation Standing Committee in 2014-2015; Women in Government Relations; and the Washington Government Relations Group. Jones is a graduate of Yale University and the Georgetown University Law Center. In 2016, she was named one of the “40 Under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates” by the National Bar Association and received the organization’s Excellence in Activism Award. In 2018, Jones was selected for the Diversity Executive Leadership Program sponsored by ASAE, the American Society of Association Executives.

Chris Murray is a partner in Thompson Coburn’s Lobbying & Policy group. One of Washington’s leading political advocates and strategic advisors for the education sector, Chris has a particular interest in supporting organizations that are disrupting the status quo. At its core, Chris’s work is about getting to a meaningful and lasting result that supports the mission of his clients, which is simply to provide the best and most affordable education for all. Chris has been recognized for the depth of his knowledge of education policy, which spans all corners of education, from pre-K through primary, secondary, and postsecondary, from institutions and trade associations to technology companies and investors.

Ken Salomon is a partner in Thompson Coburn’s Lobbying & Policy group. Ken has spent his entire legal career in the public and private sectors in Washington, DC and has a thorough understanding and appreciation of how lobbying can advance client needs and interests. He has helped clients in a variety of sectors—including e-commerce, higher education, technology, telecommunications, health care, and intellectual property—develop and implement winning lobbying strategies by crafting and implementing innovative approaches to affect the formation of public policy in the U.S. Congress and the administration.

For more information regarding Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education Webinar Series, please contact Aaron Lacey.  A partner in the firm’s Higher Education Practice and the Series’ host, Aaron can be reached at 314-552-6405 or   



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Education Pays

Education Pays

There is no shortage of media coverage and substantial data on the high levels of student indebtedness. But, ‘no matter how you cut it, more education pays.’  For those seeking a more “positive spin” on this issue may find The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce’s paper THE COLLEGE PAYOFF a useful resource to document the positive influence of post-secondary education, in spite of what appears to be high indebtedness levels

The report can be accessed at;

Student Visas

Student Visas-NPRM

Yesterday, a NPRM was published proposing, beginning fall 2019, the establishment of a maximum period of authorized stay for international students and other holders of certain non-immigrant visas.

Currently, student visas are generally valid for a period known as ‘duration of status’, which means that international students in the U.S. can stay indefinitely as long as they maintain their status as students. Students can fall out of status by failing to maintain a full-time course of study or working without authorization, but as long as they follow the regulations associated with their student visa, they can stay in the U.S., transfer to other institutions and progress from one academic level to another. Effectively, the ‘duration’ of their time in the U.S. is predicated by the duration of their academic programs.

The new proposed rule planned would establish a fixed maximum term for certain non-immigrant visa holders, including holders of F-1 student visas. The NPRM does not specify what the maximum period of stay for student visa holders and provides options for extensions.  As with most NPRMs there is a opportunity to provide commentary.

Full NPRM can be accessed at:

HEA Re-Authorization – OpEd

HEA Reauthorization – Student Loan Reform OpEd

It seems the never ending discussion continues on the re-authorization of the HEA.  While there appears to be no imminent action by the House Education and Workforce Committee there are some ‘common-sense’ student loan reforms that should be included in discussions at schools and among policy-makers.  Ultimately theses reforms need to be voiced to the Committee.



Unfortunately for borrowers, and unlike private student loans, loan disclosure information for federal loans is not actually given to borrowers until their loan money is disbursed.  As a result of lack of loan disclosure, borrowers are committed to many years, even decades of debt.  The information should be required and provided in  simple and effective ways that is easy for borrowers to comprehend.


Loan Limits

Generous federal loan limits and lending policies/regulations contribute to sometimes, un-necessary over-borrowing and subsequent debt repayment challenges. Under the current system, federal loans are available to students, and their parents, for amounts up to the total school cost of attendance, minus other aid.  Schools should be permitted/encouraged, even required, to perform prudent (pre-loan application) guidance/counseling to minimize borrowing and also required to conduct borrower financial literacy instruction.


Repayment Plans

The alarming number of delinquencies and defaults on federal student loans continue to rise with nearly half of new borrowers unable to put a dent in their principal balance within three years of entering repayment. This is, in part, due to high enrollment in repayment plans, some of which are tied monthly payments to earnings and/or loan forgiveness after a specified number of years. While these plans might be the right fit for some struggling borrowers, they also unknowingly (to uninformed borrowers) prolong repayment and increase overall interest costs, while placing taxpayers increasingly on the hook for unpaid debt.


These low/no cost reforms continue to provide access to higher education financing, reduce taxpayer liability, and ensure students and their families know exactly what they are getting into when borrowing for college.


James Gathard, Principal

National Consulting Services, LLC

Next Generation Students

Next Generation Students

Adapting to a changing student population and how to effectively communicate to them presents challenges for all college administrators, including FAAs.  A recently released compendium of articles offers some insights you may find useful.

Full report (free) can be accessed at: (download may require you provide email address and other information.