The week of June 3-7 FIU in D.C. was advocating for our students on three fronts: student loans, immigration reform and STEM education. The university’s Governmental Relations team also hosted the first event for its D.C. Summer Panthers Intern Program.
In the Senate this week, two competing bills offered by each party aimed at avoiding a rate increase in federal loans both failed, ratcheting up the pressure for Congress to act before July 1. Although the House has passed a bill, the president has threatened a veto as it does not include a provision to limit repayment based on income. At FIU, 21,170 students currently receive subsidized Stafford loans with an average loan indebtedness of $16,621. Were rates to double, that would mean an average of $325 more in payments a year for the life of the loan. For more information on FIU financial aid stats, please visit government.fiu.edu.
FIU’s team led a university coalition that visited the office of Sen. Marco Rubio to advocate for common-sense revisions to the current immigration bill. In addition to increased funding for STEM initiatives, the higher education community opposes proposed regulations which would make it harder for schools like FIU to continue its constant push for innovation by restricting access to H-1B workers. Many university research departments rely on H-1B employees for highly skilled positions.
Also troubling was a House vote attempting to de-fund the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action policy, which provides a path for DREAM Act students to attend college. Although a companion Senate action is not expected, FIU’s D.C. team will continue monitoring.
STEM Education + Global Endeavors
President Barack Obama recently released his plan for STEM education, and FIU participated in a House hearing which raised criticism of the plan for its approaches to underrepresented minorities and Hispanics. For more information on our STEM efforts click here.
Frank Mora, incoming director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), visited USAID and its Latin American bureau to explore some exciting new possibilities for projects around the globe. LACC’s unique platform seeks to propel engagement in the region and position LACC as a resource for relevant policy making here in Washington.
D.C. Summer Internship Experience
While it was a busy week on the Hill, the team still found time to launch of its D.C. Summer Internship Experience. A student orientation and alumni meet-and-greet brought together the Panther network of federal interns and alumni. Stay tuned for more updates on our D.C. Panthers throughout the next few months.