Read the latest news about Texas A&M's Advocacy Network
Read the latest news about Texas A&M's Advocacy Network
Howdy, Advocates!

My name is Jordyn Senkirik '17 and I am honored to be the new director of strategic engagement at The Association of Former Students!  I'm excited to be back in Aggieland and working with all our Aggie Advocates. Prior to joining The Association team, I worked in the Texas House of Representatives for a fellow Aggie.

As always, the fall semester is busy in Aggieland. In September, we traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit with Aggies working and interning for our federal governing during a reception featuring Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork as our guest speaker. We also presented 4,300 Aggie Rings during our September Ring Day and will present 3,000 more during our November Ring Day. If you ever have an interest in presenting Rings as a Ring Day volunteer, please give me a call, and I'll put you in touch with those coordinating our volunteer shifts. 

In this newsletter, you will read more about the new Aggie ACHIEVE program, recent visits from state and federal government officials to campus, Texas A&M University's top rankings, and legislation introduced to expand federal student aid programs. We want the content of this newsletter to be relevant and useful to you and invite you to share your thoughts on future content. You can call me at 979-845-7514 or send an email to to share ideas. 

Thank you, as always, for your willingness to be an advocate for Texas A&M. I look forward to working with all of the advocates and embracing the power of the Texas A&M Advocacy Network!

Gig ’em,

Jordyn Senkirik '17
Director of Strategic Engagement

Higher Ed Reauthorization

In October, the Chairman of the House Education & Labor Committee, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), and House Democrats introduced the latest attempt at a Higher Ed Re-authorization bill by releasing the College Affordability Act. The $400 billion proposal calls for expanding federal student aid programs, in addition to proposing new federal spending that would help states eliminate tuition at community colleges.

In preparation for the Oct. 29 House Education Committee markup, House Democrats offered several amendments to the introduced version of the bill including raising the maximum Pell Grant amount by $625 instead of the $500 increase in the original bill. That would be the largest single-year increase in the history of the program that helps hundreds of thousands of low-income students. Other changes include expanding subsidized federal student loans to graduate and professional students at public and nonprofit colleges and replacing a six-year statute of limitations on collecting defaulted federal student loans with a new cap on the collection fees borrowers may be charged.  

During markup, the committee adopted 19 amendments. Texas A&M University is still in the process of reviewing the full impact of the bill. While the bill is likely to gain traction in the House, it is unlikely it will see any movement in the Senate.  

Federal Appropriations Update 

In September, President Trump signed a continuing resolution (H.R. 4378) to keep the federal government opening through Nov. 21 at the current FY19 funding levels. With just a few short weeks until the CR expires, here is what we know. On Oct. 28, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture (a motion to end debate) on the motion to proceed to a House-passed spending package, H.R. 2740 (116), which includes the two most expensive fiscal 2020 funding measures: Defense and Labor-HHS-Education (in addition to State, Foreign Operations, and Energy & Water Development). Democrats are insisting on higher funding in the Labor-HHS-Education agencies, and thus, the motion is likely to fail.

In mid-October, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Senate Republicans that the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education bills, in addition to funding for the Department of Homeland Security and military construction, won’t make it through the upper chamber without satisfying more Democratic priorities. The Senate, however, is still on track to pass later this week a less controversial four-bill minibus, H.R. 3055 (116), which includes funding for the departments of agriculture, commerce, justice, transportation, interior and other agencies.

Leaders from both parties have indicated that a government shutdown is unlikely, which would suggest a second stopgap funding measure will be passed on any remaining unfunded appropriations bills.

A Night in the Capital with the Aggie Network 

On Sept. 25, we hosted a reception for our Aggies in D.C., featuring Texas A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork as our speaker.
Click here to check out photos from the event!

$130 Million Bush Combat Development Complex Construction Begins at RELLIS Campus 

"Texas A&M System, U.S. Army and Army Futures Command (AFC) officials and the Bush family gathered to break ground on the building that will provide an ecosystem to accelerate research and technology development to modernize the Army."
Read more about the Bush Combat Development Complex here

Hegar Talks Cybersecurity at Texas A&M 

"The visit was part of Hegar’s Good for Texas Tour: Cybersecurity Edition, designed to share updates on the industry at Texas universities designated as a Center for Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency. The new study outlines the threat of cybercrimes from personal to national levels and how institutions of higher education are able to help by training the next generation of cybersecurity experts."
Read more about the visit here.

Rep. Will Hurd discusses immigration, public service at Texas A&M 

"Hurd, a 2000 graduate of Texas A&M serving the 23rd Congressional District of Texas, shared his thoughts during an installment of the Mosbacher Institute For Trade, Economics and Public Policy’s Conversation in Public Policy series sponsored by the Bush School Of Government & Public Service." 
Read more here.

Texas A&M Reports Fall 2019 Enrollment

"Texas A&M University has a fall enrollment of 69,465 students, a slight increase of 98 students from last year."
Read more about the fall enrollment here.

Col. Fossum's Duties Expand At Texas A&M-Galveston

"While continuing his present duties as COO and Vice President, Col. Fossum will provide direct oversight for the Maritime Academy and its educational training, licensure, and commissioned officer programs. His appointment is effective immediately. Fossum replaces former superintendent Rear Admiral Michael Rodriguez, who stepped down earlier this year."
Read more about Col. Fossum and Texas A&M-Galveston here.

Texas A&M opens state's first 4-year college program for students with disabilities 

This academic year, Texas A&M University introduced a new program called Aggie ACHIEVE, which is the first of its kind in the state of Texas, allowing young adults with intellectual and development disabilities to work towards a certificate-based, four-year education.
Read more about it here.

Texas A&M Selected "Top Public University in Texas" 

Texas A&M University remains the only public college in Texas to make the “Best Buys” list in the 2020 Fiske Guide to Colleges, a listing which cites the best colleges that offer a superior education for the most affordable cost. Find out more by clicking here.

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