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
House Votes to Halt New Borrower Defense Regulations
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to halt implementation of the Department of Education’s new borrower defense to repayment rules. The resolution, supported primarily by Democrats, will now be considered in the Senate, where it is not expected to pass. NACUBO’s upcoming webcast, “Prepare for Borrower Defense and Financial Responsibility Changes” can aid your institution in complying with the new rules.
IRS Exempts Borrowers from Loan Forgiveness Tax
The IRS has issued new guidance exempting recipients of loan forgiveness from paying federal taxes on the amount forgiven in cases of closed school discharges, successful borrower defense to repayment claims, and discharges related to legal claims that find “unlawful business practices against nonprofit or for-profit schools or private lenders that made student loans to finance attendance at these schools.” The new policy is retroactively applicable for loans discharged on or after Jan. 1, 2016.
ED Announces “Religious Liberty” Rulemaking
The Department of Education has released a proposed rule to implement two White House executive orders addressing “equal treatment and constitutional rights of religious organizations and faith-based institutions” and campus free speech. The proposed rule would prohibit public institutions from denying faith-based student organizations any right, benefit, or privilege otherwise afforded to non-faith-based student organizations and would “clarify how an educational institution may demonstrate that it is controlled by a religious organization for purposes of Title IX.” The rule would also implement new conditions for grant funding eligibility, requiring public institutions to comply with the First Amendment and private institutions to comply with their own stated free speech policies. Comments are being accepted through February 18.
ED Announces New, Proactive Civil Rights Compliance Center
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced that ED’s Office for Civil Rights will launch the Outreach, Prevention, Education, and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center to provide assistance and support to schools, educators, students, and families to increase awareness of the requirements and protections of federal non-discrimination laws.
IRS Issues Parking Tax Refund Guidance
Following the repeal of the tax on employer-provided transportation benefits, institutions and organizations may seek refunds by filing amended unrelated business income tax returns, according to the IRS.
ED Seeks Comments on Proposed eZ-Audit Changes
The Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid is currently seeking comments on proposed changes to the eZ-Audit system institutions use to submit financial responsibility information. Comments are due by February 24, and NACUBO is preparing to respond.
NACUBO Endorses 179D Letters
NACUBO, as part of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Jobs & Investment, thanked House and Senate leadership for extending the 179D deduction on energy efficient commercial buildings. The deduction was extended retrospectively and prospectively for one year as part of the year-end tax package. The coalition reiterated its intent to work toward an expanded, permanent 179D deduction.
NACUBO Seeks Support for Perkins Letter
The College Affordability Act, a Higher Education Act reauthorization proposal that passed the House Education and Labor Committee last fall, would restore a version of the Perkins Loan Program. While NACUBO is supportive of restoring Perkins, the proposed version would not allow for campus-based servicing, which we consider a benefit for many schools.
In collaboration with the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations, NACUBO is seeking institutional endorsements for a letter to committee leadership that supports a campus-based servicing option. To sign on, please share this information with your CFO and government relations team and ask them to consider filling out this form by Wednesday, Jan. 29. This fact sheet has more information, and questions can be sent to Bryan Dickson.
What Did I Miss in Washington? December 17, 2019-January 13, 2020