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As things move quickly in Washington, DC, NACUBO is your constant advocate in action. NACUBO On Your Side covers important legislative and agency activity NACUBO staff are tracking, what we’re currently advocating for, and how you can take action with us.

Here are the issues we are tracking and advocating for this week.  

Agency Action

ED Issues Formal Guidance on Religious Freedom EO
As part of its recent final rule issuance regarding campus free speech and religious protections, triggered in part by a Presidential Executive Order, the Department of Education has issued more formal guidance codifying its “[protection of] religious liberty in the administration of its grant programs.” The guidance outlines how future ED grant processes will protect the “religious freedoms” of both institutions and individuals and introduces a process by which both faith-based organizations and individuals can inform ED of burdens, or potential burdens, on their religious exercise.

CDC Updates COVID-19 Testing Guidance for Colleges and Universities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its testing guidance for colleges and universities. The new guidance lays out different strategies for testing asymptomatic individuals, how to select which individuals should receive highest priority for testing, and the need to combine testing with other mitigation measures such as contact tracing, quarantining when necessary, social distancing, mask usage, hand hygiene, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices.

ED Announces and Implements New HEERF Quarterly Reporting Requirements
Despite months of incomplete compliance guidance, the Department of Education announced and immediately implemented new reporting requirements for CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund allocations.

On the Hill

Congress Passes Short-Term Spending Bill, Avoids Government Shutdown
Narrowly meeting a deadline to avoid a government shutdown, Congress on September 30 passed a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, to fund the federal government at existing levels through mid-December.


NACUBO Requests More COVID-19 Relief for Colleges and Universities
In a recent letter to House of Representatives leadership, NACUBO and 46 other associations implored Congress to provide additional $120 billion in financial relief for colleges and universities, citing the higher-than-anticipated financial impacts of COVID-19. The letter was sent just prior to House Democrats unveiling another piece of COVID-19 relief legislation in an attempt to find some bipartisan agreement on additional aid for impacted individuals and sectors across the country. This package, which is slightly smaller than the House’s earlier HEROES legislation, would provide only an additional $39 billion for colleges and universities. Even with introduction and House passage of the smaller package, Republicans and Democrats remain at an impasse on additional relief efforts, with no consensus on how large the package should be.

Higher Ed Associations Criticize Princeton Investigation
NACUBO and 55 other higher education associations sent ED a letter that calls for an end to its current civil rights investigation into Princeton University. ED began the investigation after Princeton’s president acknowledged that institutional racism existed on the campus as part of the university’s effort to become more inclusive. Counter to supporting Princeton’s mission to become more diverse, ED’s investigation could potentially “chill the genuine efforts of hundreds of other institutions, many without the resources that Princeton has to defend itself against a federal investigation, to identify, recognize, and correct injustices,” The letter states. ED has so far indicated that it has no intention of dropping the investigation. 

Take Action

Get Out the Vote on Your Campus!
Colleges and universities provide immense value beyond the classroom to their students, communities, and society. Research shows that college graduates are more likely to vote in elections, and regular voting is a habit you can help your students, staff, and community develop now. To that end, NACUBO has compiled a state-by-state resource with voting information for the upcoming November 2020 elections that can be easily shared with your campus community. Each state-specific one-pager details how, when, and where to vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Find your state's downloadable PDF on our Advocacy Tools and Resources page.

Previous Edition

NACUBO On Your Side: September 22-28, 2020


Megan Schneider

Senior Director, Government Affairs


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