Lawmakers approve deal to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’

Federal education budgets will remain intact—for at least the next two months.

Federal funding for programs such as Title I, Head Start, students with disabilities, and higher-education research will remain intact—for now—after Congress approved an 11th-hour deal to avoid tumbling off the “fiscal cliff.”

The extraordinary New Year’s Day approval of a compromise bill hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on. It also prevents House Republicans from facing blame for blocking tax cuts for most American households, though most GOP lawmakers parted ways with Speaker John Boehner and opposed the measure.

Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and the national debt, as it puts off mandatory across-the-board cuts to domestic programs for a period of only two months.…Read More

‘Plan B’ is dead; what’s next for ‘fiscal cliff’?

House Speaker John Boehner’s big idea for a backup “Plan B” for dealing with the impending “fiscal cliff” exploded Thursday night when, after days of wrangling with his own troops, he realized he didn’t have enough votes to pass the tax cut part of his plan, CBS News reports.

With four days until Christmas and 11 until the effects of the “fiscal cliff” begin, with big implications for colleges, the big question is: What happens now?

Boehner sent House Republicans home for Christmas after last night’s legislative collapse, ensuring nothing will be passed until Dec. 27 at the earliest, when members are due back in town. That leaves Boehner and President Obama to keep negotiating—something that ground to a halt after Boehner announced he was moving forward with his “Plan B” earlier in the week……Read More

What the election results mean for higher education

President Obama’s reelection has important implications for higher education.

President Obama’s focuses on making college more affordable and accessible to students, improving college completion rates, and improving academic quality and value are expected to continue in the next four years, according to a new report that examines how the 2012 election results will affect higher education.

Particularly focused on fiscal and policy implications, “Higher Education and the 2012 Elections,” from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), breaks down federal and state election results, and highlights projected changes.

Since 2008, the Obama administration has focused regulatory efforts on increasing the number of secondary degree holders and returning the United States to first-in-world status regarding the number of individuals who hold a postsecondary degree.…Read More

Should colleges worry about plans to cap deductions?

The charitable deduction, which dates to 1917, would cost the government about $250 billion over the next five years, and proposals for reform vary.

The scenic campus of Colgate University in upstate New York is enjoying more than a fresh coat of paint these days.

New buildings include the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center and the Trudy Fitness Center. The Case Library was refurbished and renamed, and includes the new Geyer Center for Information Technology. There’s also $142 million in the coffers for financial aid—all the fruits of a recent $480 million fundraising campaign.

Colgate cast a wide net. But like most big campus fundraising campaigns, the lion’s share came from wealthy benefactors rewarded in return with a combination of altruistic satisfaction, naming rights—and a big tax deduction.…Read More