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 Capitol Hill
House Announces HEA Reauthorization Hearings
The House Committee on Education and Labor has announced it will hold five hearings designed to kick off the Higher Education Act reauthorization process, with college costs first on the list. In the Senate, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) recently outlined their reauthorization priorities.
Legislation to Repeal Parking Tax Reintroduced
Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE) last week reintroduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the new unrelated business income tax on employee fringe benefits (the “parking tax”). Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) is expected to introduce the House companion legislation. To support this, and other repeal efforts, NACUBO has been working with organizations including the National Council of Nonprofits, whose CEO Tim Delaney recently stated, “Taxing tax-exempts is the very definition of an oxymoron. But worse, this tax is also illogical, unworkable, and unfair. Almost everyone in Congress acknowledges it was a mistake, an error, and this legislation shows there is bipartisan support for its repeal.”
Accreditation and Innovation Negotiated Rulemaking Continues
The Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking on accreditation and innovation met for the second time in late February. This meeting featured reports from the three subcommittees and began to unpack some of ED’s language. Proposed regulatory changes include efforts to relax requirements for new and existing accreditors, move toward parity between regional and national accreditors, and decrease the prevalence of loan conversion for TEACH Grant recipients.
Some negotiators commented on the wide breadth of topics and questioned whether ED intends for them to reach consensus. In response, ED proposed adding a fourth committee session, which is tentatively set to take place in early April.
Study Finds Misunderstandings of Higher Education Funding
A new study suggests that many Americans have deep misunderstandings about higher education funding. When asked whether government funding for public colleges and universities has generally increased, decreased, or stayed the same over the past 10 years, only 29 percent of respondents correctly answered that funding has decreased. In fact, research shows that states cut funding by $9 billion over that time.
Brush Up on the Nonprofit Parking Tax
Despite efforts from a broad coalition within the nonprofit community, a controversial piece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax on nonprofit transportation benefits, continues to affect organizations large and small. Use this NACUBO one-pager to familiarize yourself with the costly tax on fringe benefits and some efforts to eliminate it.
What Did I Miss in Washington? February 5-19, 2019