AACRAO 2023 Hill Day Returns to Capitol Hill

Melanie Gottlieb |
June 22, 2023
  • Advocacy
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Higher Education Act
  • Reverse Transfer
  • Transfer and Articulation
  • credential
  • Electronic records
  • Federal Regulations
  • Federal relations
  • Hill Day
  • pell grant

Today, over 20 AACRAO advocates met with nearly 50 Congressional offices to discuss the association's legislative priorities. I would like to personally thank the members who gave us their time to advocate on behalf of AACRAO and the profession.

Groups walked the halls of Congress and met with different congressional aides to share their practitioner perspective on how policy impacts the work our AACRAO members do on a daily basis. These attendees met with lawmakers from their states who are members of the House Education and Workforce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee. Organized by AACRAO's Government Relations department, these meetings with state constituents ensure that key decision-makers are aware of AACRAO member issues.

AACRAO advocates encouraged lawmakers to support the recently reintroduced Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act to assist institutions in identifying students who have earned enough credits to be awarded a credential through reverse transfer. The bipartisan, bicameral bill—from Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN), along with Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO), John Curtis (R-UT), and Joaquin Castro (D-TX)—includes language, championed by AACRAO, to increase the flexibility to complete an assessment of student records while still adhering to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) standards. Additionally, attendees advocated for a number of other changes to FERPA to identify electronic records in the definition of educational records, clarify that third-party record collectors should be subject to the law, and correct the 2012 regulatory amendments that dramatically expanded FERPA. 

In coordination with this week's Hill Day meetings, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) reintroduced legislation in the House to rescind some of those 2012 regulatory amendments. The Protecting Education Privacy Act would repeal the amended definitions of "authorized representative" and "education program" to help ensure that disclosure of students' private information to third parties will be limited to only those parties who are under the direct control of the educational entity disclosing the students' records. AACRAO advocates encouraged other Congressional offices to protect student privacy and support this legislation.

The group also urged congressional offices to raise the maximum Pell Grant as part of the #DoublePell initiative. AACRAO helped launch the national campaign to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000 and bring affordable, high-quality college education within reach of all students. The campaign, developed by a coalition of higher education organizations and advocacy groups, aims to encourage students, families, institutions, and others to speak out and communicate to Congress the urgency of doubling Pell.

In addition to advancing the association's public policy agenda, AACRAO Hill Day provides a unique professional development opportunity for attendees to network with other AACRAO members and hone their advocacy skills. Attendees engaged in training sessions ahead of this week's meetings, including AACRAO's on-demand Federal Legislative Process and Advocacy 101 course. The course, which is open and free to all AACRAO members, provides a breakdown of the federal legislative process, helpful insights on how to set up and prepare for meetings with your representatives, and tools to help State & Regional organizations engage with both state and federal issues while remaining in federal compliance.

Such training aims to provide our members with all of the skills necessary to advocate for policies that are important to you, and the students that you serve. Whether that is on Capitol Hill, your state legislature, or on your own campuses, your voice can make a huge difference. 

Learn more about how you can help to advance reverse transfer practices and promote the #DoublePell campaign. Also, please visit AACRAO's Advocacy Center to learn about other issues we support and lend your voice.