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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.

Agency Action

Questions Remain on Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
On July 17, the Department of Education issued an announcement regarding potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in some versions of Ellucian’s Banner software. Ellucian has since pushed back on ED’s characterization of the nature of breach and its impact, stating that Banner’s potential software vulnerabilities, which were brought to light by both Ellucian and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in May, are unrelated to some of the other cybersecurity concerns outlined by ED. Ellucian said neither they nor ED have reason to suspect that any breach occurred as a result of the Banner software vulnerability. Schools using the impacted software should implement the system patch issued by Ellucian in May, if they have not already done so. 

On the Hill

House Votes Down Cadillac Tax
The House overwhelmingly voted to scrap the so-called “Cadillac tax” on health insurance plans by a 419-6 vote on July 17. The measure, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act and set to go into effect in 2022, would impose a 40-percent excise tax on high-cost employer-provided health care coverage. While there is widespread bipartisan support for repeal, the outlook and timing for Senate consideration of the bill is unclear.

King Confirmed for ED Post
After almost eight months, Robert King was confirmed by the Senate as the new assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the Department of Education. The vote was mostly along party lines. King has previously held leadership roles with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the Arizona Community Foundation, and the State University of New York System.


Associations Ask Congress to Focus on Graduate Students
NACUBO, along with over 30 other higher education associations, signed on to a letter asking lawmakers to keep graduate students in mind as they consider reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Key programs, such as the Grad PLUS Loan Program, were highlighted.

House Passes Bill to Address Robocalls
On July 24, the House of Representatives passed the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, a bipartisan bill which would make changes to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and allow the Federal Communications Commission to take action against illegal spam callers. NACUBO, along with six other higher education associations, successfully advocated for a provision to remain in the TCPA rules that would allow robocalls and mass-texting technologies to be used by federal student loan servicers to reach borrowers.

Take Action

Support Federal Student Aid Appropriations
Support federal student aid programs including Pell and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, TRIO, and Gear Up. Text “STUDENTAID” to 52886 for a prompt to email your senators or engage with the campaign on your desktop or tablet. You can also tweet and share this campaign with the hashtag #savestudentaid.

Previous Edition

What Did I Miss in Washington? June 25-July 9, 2019


Liz Clark

Vice President, Policy and Research


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