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.
FSA Releases New PSLF Help Tool
The Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) recently released a new tool to assist borrowers seeking discharge from student loan debt through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). The tool guides users through the PSLF application and details the necessary steps to advance to forgiveness. As of Sept. 30, 2018, only 206 PSLF applicants out of more than 41,000 had their loans forgiven. Of the applications not accepted, 32,409 did not meet program requirements and 11,892 were missing information.
Shutdown Affects Some Grant-Funding Agencies
With Congress and the president unable to agree on funding priorities, a partial governmental shutdown began on Dec. 22, 2018. The shutdown does not affect the Department of Education or the National Institutes of Health. However, other grant funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities, among others, are closed. NSF released guidance for proposers and grantees as well as panelists. No funds or guidance will be available from these agencies during the shutdown.
IRS Publishes Guidance for Employers
In an attempt to limit the impact of a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provision impacting nonprofit employers, including colleges and universities, the IRS and Treasury have issued interim guidance on the fringe benefits tax that includes a safe harbor for compliance. NACUBO continues to advocate for repeal of the provision.
The IRS also issued interim guidance on the new excise tax on employee compensation above $1 million paid by tax-exempt organizations, which offers key definitions and explains how to report and pay the excise tax.
On Capitol Hill
Bill Protecting Student Veterans from Delayed GI Bill Payments Signed Into Law
President Donald Trump signed into law the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 on Dec. 31. A key provision of the law prohibits higher education institutions from charging student veterans late fees, denying them the ability to register for classes, or requiring them to take out loans during a period of up to 90-days when their school is waiting for payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It would also require the VA to electronically provide documentation to student veterans verifying the amount of their housing stipend.
NACUBO Signs Energy Efficiency Coalition Letter
NACUBO recently signed on to a Coalition for Energy Efficient Jobs & Investment letter urging Senate lawmakers to extend the Section 179D deduction for energy-efficient commercial and governmental buildings. The provision was not extended and therefore expired. The expansion and extension would have enabled building owners to claim a tax deduction for installing energy-efficient systems. NACUBO and others also urged for the deduction to be expanded to nonprofit entities.
Welcome the 116th Congress
The incoming class of freshman legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives is highly educated but has the least political experience of any cohort in American history. Whether your lawmaker is a freshman representative or a veteran senator, this is the time to introduce yourself and your campus. NACUBO has resources to help you start the conversation, from talking points to examples of well-executed on-campus advocacy. If you’re unsure of who represents your district, use the House and Senate search functions to identify your members of Congress.
What Did I Miss in Washington? November 28-December 10, 2018