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What Did I Miss in Washington? July 10-July 21, 2017

July 21, 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

House Spending Plan Cuts ED by $2.4 Billion. A U.S. House appropriations subcommittee has marked up the legislation that provides funding for the Department of Education. Its fate on the House floor, as in the Senate, is uncertain. The bill cuts overall funding for ED by $2.4 billion, about 3.5 percent from last year’s level, but level-funds current Pell Grant Program appropriations and maintains the maximum grant of $5,920. However, the subcommittee would rescind $3.3 billion from the Pell Grant surplus, which totals $8.5 billion for FY18. NACUBO joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and others in a letter expressing the position of the higher education community on the bill.

Advocacy

NACUBO Advocates for Separate Negotiations on Financial Responsibility. In recent comments submitted to ED, NACUBO argued for a separate negotiating rulemaking committee to take up the Title IV financial responsibility standards for nonprofit institutions, rather than again including it under the umbrella of borrower defense.

NACUBO Weighs In with Senators on Tax Reform. In a July 17 statement, NACUBO asked lawmakers to examine the potential consequences of proposals that could impact how tax-exempt organizations are financed, as well as employee tax benefits and student and family higher education tax benefits.

Higher Education Associations Weigh In on Net Neutrality. Following a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laying out plans to eliminate net neutrality, NACUBO joined an effort led by EDUCAUSE and ACE in offering public comment expressing opposition to the proposal. The issue has split over party lines in Washington with many Republicans, led by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, strongly in favor of its repeal while many Democrats,  tech leaders such as Amazon and Google, and the higher education community strongly support maintenance of net neutrality as being in the best interest of the public.

Awaiting Action

1098-T Reporting. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not yet issued final regulations on 1098-T reporting following its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that calls for significant reporting changes to the form. NACUBO wrote a letter to the IRS requesting another delay for the implementation of changes to tuition reporting methodology on the Form 1098-T, stating, “There is not enough time for colleges and universities to comply with an unknown set of rules governing data that needs to be collected beginning January 1, 2018.”

Threats to DACA Grow as Immigration Questions Loom. Following changes made in June to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, the Trump administration offered assurances that, for now, no changes are being made to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly recently told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in a private meeting that he was not sure that DACA would survive its newest legal challenge. Eleven state attorneys general recently told U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that they would sue the federal government if DACA is not rescinded by September.

Contact

Liz Clark
Director, Federal Affairs
202.861.2553
E-mail