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What Did I Miss in Washington? August 14-September 6, 2017

September 6, 2017

The steady stream of news emerging from the nation’s capital can be overwhelming. NACUBO highlights key actions and provides the status of top higher education business officer concerns.

On Capitol Hill

NACUBO Joins Effort to Support 179D Legislation. NACUBO, as part of a coalition that works to support the Section 179D energy efficient commercial buildings tax deduction, signed on to a letter thanking Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) for their introduction of  legislation to make the 179D tax deduction permanent and extend its applicability to all nonprofit organizations, including private colleges and universities. NACUBO has actively called for both changes and is strongly in support of this legislation.

Administrative Action

Trump Administration Announces End to DACA. The administration announced on September 5 that it will fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary relief from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who have been in the United States since childhood.

IRS Clarifies TIN Checkbox Instructions. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an updated Publication 1220, which includes specifications for filing the Form 1098-T. On page 86, the IRS updated instructions that clearly state the checkbox is for soliciting the student’s taxpayer identification number (TIN), not its accuracy. The description specifies the checkbox should be marked regardless of whether an institution performed the TIN solicitation in the current year or not.

ED Establishes Hurricane Harvey Hotline. The Department of Education has activated its emergency response contact center in response to Hurricane Harvey. Education stakeholders seeking informational resources, as well as those seeking relief from agency-based administrative requirements, may contact ED at 1-844-348-4082 or ED is posting relevant information on a new Hurricane Harvey webpage and also has directed federal student loan servicers to provide impacted borrowers flexibility in managing their loan payments during this time.

ED Seeks Negotiators to Rewrite Financial Responsibility Rules. Last week, ED announced that it is soliciting nominations of representatives to serve on several stakeholder committees. One will revisit borrower defense to repayment rules and another will convene around gainful employment regulations. In addition, ED is seeking nominees for a subcommittee of the borrower defense committee to consider revisions to the financial responsibility standards. Please contact Anne Gross or Sue Menditto to learn more.

Trump Signs Post 9/11 GI Bill Legislation. Following Congress’ passage of legislation to make significant changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Trump recently signed it into law. The changes include additional benefit eligibility for Purple Heart recipients and student veterans pursuing a STEM degree and offers relief for students impacted by for-profit institution closures, among other notable changes.

OMB Releases FY19 R&D Budget Priorities. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), together with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has released a memo outlining the Trump administration’s FY19 research and development priorities. The agency directive outlines five areas of federal research to receive priority: military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health. The memo advises federal agencies to increase their efficiency, without receiving additional funds, by modifying or eliminating programs that could move "more efficiently through private sector R&D."

Higher Education Associations Again Weigh In on Net Neutrality. NACUBO again joined an effort led by EDUCAUSE and the American Council on Education (ACE) in strong support of maintenance of net neutrality as being in the best interest of the public. The reply comments were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, which will review public feedback before issuing its final plan.

Judicial Action

Federal Judge Strikes Down Overtime Rule. Last week, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the Obama administration's overtime rule is invalid.


NACUBO Continues to Advocate on F&A Reimbursements. A coalition of higher education organizations, patient groups, researchers, and clinicians have joined together to send a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. The letter strongly opposes the Trump administration’s proposed 21 percent cut from the National Institutes of Health FY18 budget and reiterates the importance of facilities and administrative (F&A) reimbursements to the high-quality research being done in labs across the country. Past letters and additional F&A community resources are available on NACUBO’s website.

Previous Edition
What Did I Miss in Washington? July 21-August 14, 2017


Liz Clark
Senior Director, Federal Affairs