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 concerns.
Community Letter Asks for Public Charge Exemptions
NACUBO signed on to a community letter asking the Department of Homeland Security to provide key exemptions from proposed “public charge” regulations. Under the proposed regulations, individuals who may become a “public charge” by utilizing federal programs could be denied citizenship. The letter, in large part, responds to anecdotes where students (U.S. citizens) have turned down federal aid packages for fear that acceptance would impact a family member’s path to citizenship. Exempting Title IV aid and F-1 and J-1 visas from consideration in the rule would reduce undue stress on faculty, researchers, and students and would help preserve the nation’s status as a premier destination for global talent.
NACUBO Updates Guide to 1098-T Reporting
As the first 1098-T filing season without Box 2 approaches, NACUBO’s new Guide to 1098-T Information Reporting offers a comprehensive reference and road map for all aspects of 1098-T preparation.
NACUBO Submits Comments to IRS on New Basketing Rule for Computing UBTI
NACUBO, on behalf of a group of education associations, submitted comments to the IRS on recent unrelated business taxable income guidance. NACUBO noted how separate trades or businesses should be identified, sought clarification on some UBTI offsets, and made recommendations regarding investment partnership interests.
ACE Letter Urges No Changes in Definition of Sex
In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Council on Education (ACE) and 29 other groups expressed concerns with recent proposals to narrowly define sex. ACE argues that a narrow definition of sex would restrict institutional missions that promote inclusivity. Additionally, the letter asserts that transgender and non-binary faculty, staff, and students would be subjected to fear, confusion, and a decreased perception of equality and entitlement to rights and processes.
ED Announces Verification Relief
At the opening session of the annual Federal Student Aid Training Conference, the Department of Education announced that it will revert to accepting signed copies of tax returns to verify tax information, with some caveats. ED also said aid offices can accept signed statements of non-filing status rather than an IRS-issued Verification of Non-Filing form. The effective date and applicable award years are unclear, but ED is in the process of issuing more precise guidance.
ED Publishes Title IX Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The Department of Education published a notice of proposed rulemaking on November 29 that would change how colleges and universities handle campus sexual assault investigations. A 60-day public comment period began upon publication of the rules. All comments must be received by ED on or before January 28, 2019. NACUBO will continue to track and report on the issue.
VA Addresses Housing Payment Rates and Delays
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it is “resetting” its efforts to implement changes required under the Forever GI Bill and will pay monthly housing allowances for the current academic year based on the location of a school’s main campus.
On Capitol Hill
Could the New UBIT Fringe Benefit Tax Be Repealed This Year?
Lawmakers have pushed the next federal government funding deadline to December 21. In the meantime, they are trying to negotiate a number of controversial issues—President Donald Trump wants a budget agreement that includes funding for a border wall, and tax writers are seeking agreement on a long list of tax provisions.
Voice Your Support for Section 127 Expansion
A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is seeking to expand Section 127 of the federal tax code to include student loan repayment. Section 127 currently allows employers to voluntarily provide an educational assistance benefit of up to $5,250 per year to their employees. By expanding the scope of the law, employers will be encouraged to take a larger stake in student loan repayment and help to tackle student debt.
What Did I Miss in Washington? November 14-November 27