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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

Financial Transaction Tax Proposed
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced a bill earlier this month to impose a 0.1 percent tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. Lawmakers estimate that the bill would raise $777 billion over 10 years. At this time, there is no Republican support for the legislation and no clear path forward for further action.

Congress Explores HEA Reauthorization
Both chambers of Congress have begun to evaluate Higher Education Act reauthorization priorities. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on March 12 that explored options for simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The House Committee on Education and Labor recently held a hearing on college costs, its first of five hearings on HEA goals.   

Additional Fringe Benefit Guidance Unlikely
Last week, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the president’s FY20 budget. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on behalf of the administration and was asked by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) when the Treasury and IRS plan to complete the proposed guidance on qualified transportation fringe benefits. Secretary Mnuchin replied, “The taxpayer should be able to rely upon the guidance that has come out, although it will go through a more formal process. But they should be able to rely on that and we hope that we’ve solved it as best as we can.”

Agency Action

DOL Proposes Increased Salary Level for Overtime Eligibility
The standard salary level for employees that must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week will be raised from $23,600 to $35,508 annually, according to a March 7 announcement by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Administrative Action

President Trump Releases FY20 Budget
The White House’s proposal would make significant cuts to student aid and research programs, and again calls for colleges and universities to bear some of the risk associated with student loan repayment.


NACUBO CEO Responds to Admissions Scam Fallout
“While NACUBO shares in the public outrage, we cannot support knee-jerk reactions that inappropriately presume a lack of integrity in advancement, admissions, and compliance at our nation’s institutions of higher education and threaten to curb charitable giving,” NACUBO President and CEO Susan Whealler Johnston said last week in response to the recent college admissions scandal and a subsequent proposal from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to end tax breaks for certain college donations. Her full statement is available here.

Report Findings

New Report Finds Higher Ed At Risk for Digital Vulnerabilities
Higher education is one of several sectors that is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks “because the information it retains is considered highly valuable for businesses and governments,” according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service. The report cited research-intensive universities with academic medical centers as being most vulnerable to risk overall. It also found that “vulnerability to cyberattacks increases as universities engage in academic and research partnerships around the globe.”  

Take Action

Brush Up on Risk Sharing
Institutional risk sharing proposals are featured prominently in last year’s HEA reauthorization discussions in Congress and have some bipartisan support. Use NACUBO’s risk sharing summary to refamiliarize yourself with our concerns about these proposals and some of the action that took place in the last legislative session.

Previous Edition

What Did I Miss in Washington? February 20-March 4, 2019



Liz Clark

Vice President, Policy and Research


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