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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

NACUBO Submits Comments to ED on Regulatory Burden

September 29, 2017

NACUBO recently submitted comments to the Department of Education on regulations that the agency should consider for repeal, replacement, or modification. ED collected these comments in response to Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.

“The cumulative impact of a growing set of rules, executive orders, and subregulatory guidance creates layer upon layer of compliance requirements, which has a real cost in terms of human, technological, and administrative resources,” the NACUBO letter states. NACUBO was limited to commenting on ED regulations but acknowledged that colleges and universities must also comply with rules and regulations from a number of agencies, including the Departments of Treasury, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, the Federal Communications and Federal Trade Commissions, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The comment letter focused on six key areas:

  1. Financial responsibility. NACUBO remains concerned with the recent revisions to the financial responsibility standards and applauds ED for deciding to convene a separate negotiated rulemaking subcommittee to address needed changes.
  2. Credit balance refunds. ED should raise the cap on using up to $200 of a credit balance refund to pay amounts due from a previous year.
  3. Return of Title IV funds. More than 200 pages of ED’s Federal Student Aid Handbook are dedicated to these excessively complex rules. ED should work with the higher education community to simplify these regulations.
  4. Single Audit Act compliance. ED’s requirement for a separate annual compliance audit of Title IV student aid programs conflicts with the underlying principles of the Single Audit Act. 
  5. Consumer information. Students can feel inundated by information they may or may not understand, and there is little evidence showing that these disclosures are effective.
  6. ACG and SMART Grants. Implementing rules for these programs can be eliminated as the programs’ authorization has lapsed.

In addition, NACUBO highlighted the final report of the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education, which was developed to inform efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, as a guide for future efforts.


Bryan Dickson
Senior Policy Analyst