What Did I Miss in Washington? December 3-16, 2019
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.
On the Hill
New Legislation Provides Title III School Funding, FAFSA Simplification Congress has passed a standalone piece of legislation that provides funding for some STEM programs at historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. The bill also includes student aid data-sharing provisions that will make it easier for the IRS to share students’ taxpayer information with the Department of Education to simplify the process of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or applying for income-based student loan repayment programs.
Senate Forms Group on Student-Athlete Compensation Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) are leading efforts to establish a bipartisan working group to examine issues of student-athlete compensation in college athletics. In addition, several states have passed, or are working to pass, legislation requiring that student-athletes be permitted to earn compensation for use of their name, image, and likeness, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association is working to overhaul its own rules regarding student-athlete compensation.
HELPER Act Would Allow Retirement Funds to Pay Tuition or Student Loans Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a bill designed to decrease student debt by allowing for utilization of retirement saving plans. The bill would allow a user to withdraw up to $5,250 per year penalty and tax free from their 401(k) or IRA to pay for college tuition or student loans for themselves, their spouse, or their dependent.
New Borrower Defense Calculation Announced Just prior to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ testimony about her agency’s handling of student loan forgiveness claims, ED announced a new calculation formula to determine loan forgiveness for defrauded students. The new, less generous calculation will determine a student’s amount of debt relief based on how much their “estimated earnings” differ from those of students who attended similar programs across the country.
NLRB Extends Deadline on Unionization Proposal The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has extended the public comment period on its new proposed rule that would prohibit graduate and undergraduate student workers at private colleges and universities from being considered “employees” in relation to their ability to unionize. NLRB will now accept comments until January 15, 2020.
MSRB Proposes New Financial Disclosure The Securities and Exchange Commission has published in the Federal Register a Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) proposal to create a new public display related to the timing of public financial disclosures. The MSRB is accepting comments on the proposal through December 18.
ED Proposes Expanded Title IV Access for Faith-Based Groups ED has published a new rule proposal that would revise current eligibility requirements for participation in Title IV aid and loan programs to expand access to more faith-based colleges and universities. The proposal would also permit greater Public Service Loan Forgiveness program eligibility to student borrowers who work for faith-based nonprofit groups.
NACUBO Urges Repeal of Cadillac Tax NACUBO, as part of a coalition of both nonprofit and industry stakeholders, urged Senate leaders to repeal the 40-percent tax on some employer-provided health care plans before the tax is implemented in 2022.
Higher Education Community Calls for TCJA Fixes NACUBO and 16 other higher education groups, in a letter led by the American Council on Education, asked leaders of both the House and Senate tax-writing committees to correct several detrimental changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This letter focused on repeal of the parking tax, a fix for the “kiddie tax” that inadvertently harms some low-income scholarship recipients, an extension of the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses, and a repeal of the net investment income tax.
NACUBO Supports 179D Extension NACUBO, as part of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Jobs and Investment, sent a letter to congressional leadership in support of extending the 179D deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings. The 179D deduction, which expired December 31, 2017, is a tax incentive for environmentally efficient construction and retrofits.
NACUBO Shares New HEA Resource The House Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, the College Affordability Act, contains several proposals that affect students, federal financial aid, and business functions. In the second of four NACUBO-produced videos, each of which accompanies a one-page summary, Assistant Director Bryan Dickson talks about how the bill would affect campus-based aid.