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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

ED Proposes Prioritizing Opportunity Zone Grants
In a recent request for comments, the Department of Education proposed giving priority within its discretionary grant programs to projects located in, or focused on, opportunity zones. According to ED, the purpose of the proposal would be to align its grant-making process with larger Trump administration opportunity zone goals and to encourage and solicit applications from entities that will provide services or enhance opportunities within designated opportunity zones. While the Treasury Department has issued some guidance on opportunity zones, the tax community is eagerly anticipating further guidance.

Judicial Action

Legal Ruling Permits Development of NextGen to Proceed
On July 31, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled against a group of debt collection agencies trying to block the Department of Education’s plan to end their role as contracted debt collectors. This allows ED to move forward with its new vision of incorporating debt collection into its Next Generation federal loan servicing platform.

On the Hill

Budget Deal Finalized
President Donald Trump has signed off on a two-year bipartisan piece of legislation that both settles top-line budget numbers for the soon-to-begin appropriations process and lifts the debt ceiling for two years, ending the threat of a debt crisis had the bill not been passed.


Higher Ed Associations Weigh In on Student Hunger Bill
In a letter led by the American Council on Education, NACUBO and more than 30 other associations expressed support for the College Student Hunger Act as introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in the Senate and Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL) in the House. The bill would remove multiple barriers that often prevent low-income students from accessing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. It also would increase outreach and notification initiatives to raise awareness about benefits students may be eligible for and how to access them.  

Associations Submit Safeguards Rule Comment Letter
In response to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposal to make numerous changes to the Safeguards Rule of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, NACUBO and 10 other higher education associations submitted comments urging the FTC to act with caution. Many of the proposed changes would deviate from the flexible approach to information security development and implementation that colleges and universities have frequently praised for allowing institutions of different sizes and IT complexities to comply with the rule. The higher education community warned the FTC that straying from such an approach would likely be difficult and costly, and it would not necessarily ensure greater data protections at colleges and universities.

Videos Explain Key Tax-Exempt Bond Issues
In an effort led by the Government Finance Officers Association and supported by NACUBO, two videos have been created to explain and advocate for issues related to tax-exempt bonds. Legislation recently introduced in the House is in line with one video’s recommendations.

Take Action

Use NACUBO Resources in On-Campus Meetings
Congress is on August recess, which means that most legislators are in their home states and districts. If you are hosting an on-campus meeting with your senators or representative, there are NACUBO resources to help make the most of your time. This Business Officer magazine article offers three examples of successful on-campus advocacy and NACUBO’s Perceptions and Priorities slides and Medium post offer a plethora of talking points.

Previous Edition

What Did I Miss in Washington? July 10-29, 2019


Megan Schneider

Senior Director, Government Affairs


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