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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 the Hill

Congressional Interest in College Athletics Ramps Up
Following an announcement from Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT)  on a new bipartisan working group to discuss student athlete compensation, Reps. Donna Shalala (D-FL) and Ross Spano (R-FL) have introduced legislation to create a congressional review panel that would investigate intercollegiate athletics and the NCAA’s oversight of it. Sen. Murphy also recently released his third installment in a series of reports that have been critical of NCAA’s handling of student athlete health and compensation, a lack of attention to athletes’ education, and other concerns.

House Leaders Call for Parking Tax Refund Guidance
In a letter to the IRS, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-GA) urged it to quickly issue refund guidance in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act parking tax repeal.

House Dems Look to Block ED’s Borrower Defense Rules
Democrats in the House of Representatives are moving forward with an effort to overturn the Department of Education’s borrower defense to repayment rules. Shortly after the regulation was issued in 2019, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced resolutions to overturn it via the seldom-used Congressional Review Act (CAA). The CAA allows Congress to halt recently issued regulations with a simple majority vote in both chambers, though it also requires the president’s signature.

CFPB Issues Annual Report on Credit Card Agreements
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published its annual report on agreements between credit card issuers and colleges, universities, and certain affiliated organizations. The report, a requirement of the CARD Act, provides information on the number of agreements in effect and payments made to schools, among other statistics.

Higher Ed Tax Victories Pass With Budget Bill
An amendment to the FY20 budget package repealed the detrimental parking tax on all nonprofit organizations, among other improvements for colleges, universities, and students. The budget bill itself allocated an additional $1.3 billion to the Department of Education.

Agency Action

IRS Issues Final Qualified Opportunity Fund Rules
The IRS has released final rules on qualified opportunity funds (QOFs), including requirements to qualify as a QOF or an opportunity zone business, and regulations for taxpayers invest in these entities. More information is available at the opportunity zone website

Final Nonresident Alien Withholding Regulations Published
The IRS has published final rules related to organizations, including colleges and universities, that serve as withholding agents for nonresident aliens. They codify exceptions and deadline extensions proposed in 2018. The rules simplify the requirements for withholding agents related to the collection of individual taxpayers’ information, address when withholding certificates or treaty statements must be provided to the IRS, and ease some of the rules about the types of documentation a withholding agent may rely on when claiming treaty benefits.

ED Issues Temporary Foreign Gift Reporting Guidance
As the reporting deadline nears, ED has provided what may be a short-term reprieve on new foreign gift reporting rules. 

Judicial Action

Admissions Association Investigation in Final Stages
Following a two-year antitrust investigation of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) code of conduct, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached the final stages of settling the agreement it ultimately struck with NACAC to amend several “anticompetition” provisions. The agreement is now open for a 60-day public comment period, after which it will be finalized with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Take Action

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, Senior Director of Federal Affairs Megan Schneider discusses institutional accountability and risk-sharing proposals.


Previous Edition

What Did I Miss in Washington? December 3-16, 2019

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