What Did I Miss in Washington? July 10-August 1, 2018
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
Hatch and Wyden Introduce IRS Reform Bill. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming administrative practices within the IRS. The bill, informally titled the Taxpayer First Act, is based on similar legislation that was passed in the House several months ago and aims to protect data security of taxpayer information while also increasing taxpayer rights and enforcing stricter security protocols throughout the IRS.
House GOP Unveil “Tax Reform 2.0.” The House GOP published a “listening framework” that outlines their approach to a second round of tax provisions aimed at locking in tax cuts for middle-class families and small businesses, known as “Tax Reform 2.0.” No legislation has been introduced yet, and it is unclear if such a measure would see action before elections this November.
Democrats Announce Higher Education Bill Details. House Democrats recently released their version of a Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, which focuses on improving access to quality degrees, making college more affordable, and increasing completion rates.
ED Proposes New Borrower Defense and Financial Responsibility Rules. On July 31, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register draft rules for handling borrowers’ claims that they were misled or defrauded by institutions. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) also revisits proposals originally introduced by the Obama administration that require financial protections from colleges. ED also proposes revising the guidelines for calculating an institution’s composite score “to reflect changes in accounting standards and to make other clarifying changes that the Secretary believes will improve compliance with the financial responsibility standards.”
NACUBO participated in the negotiated rulemaking sessions established to rewrite the regulations and is presently reviewing the NPRM. We will provide additional analysis in the coming days. The public has 30 days to respond to the proposal and ED is seeking to finalize these rules by November 1 to ensure they go into effect by July 1, 2019.
DOD Tweaks Transferability of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits. The Defense Department has announced a change to the transferability of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible family member recipients. Starting a year from now, service members will only be able to transfer their benefits if they have less than 16 years of total active-duty or selected reserve service; the eligibility requirement of at least six years of service needed before a servicemember can apply to transfer their benefits remains unchanged. The department cited the change as a necessary step to increase both growth and retention within the armed forces.
ED Begins Roll-Out of Mobile-Friendly FAFSA. The Department of Education is beginning to roll out an entirely mobile-friendly FAFSA this month with a mobile-friendly version of fafsa.gov now available. Beta testing of the newly created myStudentAid app will begin in August, and the ED intends for the app to be fully operational by October 1. The app will feature functionality for students to complete their FAFSA, in addition to allowing borrowers to make loan payments and complete other required financial aid tasks. The mobile-friendly FAFSA process is just one component of a larger push by ED to make the student aid experience faster, more efficient, and more tech-friendly.
NACUBO Issues Perkins Loan Close-Out Guidance. In light of expiration of the Federal Perkins Loan Program, NACUBO has issued an advisory report designed to help steer campuses through the process of considering program liquidation. Topics addressed include actions to take prior to submitting an intent to liquidate, the liquidation process, and the associated accounting entries. Additionally, an Excel workbook is available to quantify the costs and benefits of retaining an institution's Perkins portfolio.
NACUBO Weighs In on Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard. NACUBO joined the American Council on Education and 35 other higher education organizations and associations on an amicus brief underscoring our collective interests enabling diverse learning environments and the importance of institutional freedom to establish educational missions and objectives. The brief was filed on July 30 in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and states, “The Supreme Court has made clear many times over that higher education institutions may, within broad limits, define the diversity that will produce the educational benefits they seek for all students and use their admission processes to further that goal.”
Vice President, Policy and Research
Vice President, Policy and Research