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Despite efforts to label it a “Do-Nothing Congress,” members of Congress, the White House, and other federal agencies completed action on a number of items impacting the business of higher education in 2011. High on that list is passing a final FY12 federal budget that maintains the maximum Pell Grant award at $5,550, a notable success for college students when overall federal domestic discretionary spending was cut approximately $31 billion compared to last year.

In chronological order, here is a NACUBO rundown of ten federal policy actions in 2011 that impact college and university business offices:

  • Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 signed into law, January 2011.
  • Effort to rescind swipe fee rule fails and Federal Reserve issues final rules, June 2011
  • Administration announces final “Gainful Employment” rules, June 2011.
  • U.S. District Court rejects “State Authorization” rule, July 2011.
  • Budget Control Act of 2011 addresses Pell Grant program shortfall, protects Pell Grants from sequestration, August 2011.
  • America Invents Act, patent reform legislation, is enacted into law, September 2011.
  • Legislation is passed to repeal the burdensome 3% withholding requirement, November 2011.
  • President Obama unveils plan to ease student loan repayment and new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “Know Before You Owe” project, October 2011.
  • President Obama invites small group of presidents and chancellors to White House to discuss college costs and completion, December 2011.
  • Congress agrees to maintain maximum Pell Grant at $5,550, but implements certain program restrictions, December 2011.


Liz Clark

Vice President, Policy and Research


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