What Did I Miss in Washington? January 28-February 10, 2020
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
Democratic Infrastructure Plans Strengthen Tax-Exempt Financing Tools House Democratic leaders have recently introduced the $760 billion Moving Forward Framework, which would strengthen infrastructure financing tools and restore advance refunding for tax-exempt bonds, among other priorities. In a House Ways and Means hearing on infrastructure financing, committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) lauded tax-exempt bonds and called for the reinstatement of Build America Bonds.
Another Extension for Proposed Student Unionization Rule The National Labor Relations Board is again extending the comment period for its rule that would prohibit graduate and undergraduate student workers at private colleges and universities from being considered “employees” in relation to their ability to unionize. NLRB, which first proposed the rule in September 2019, will now accept comments until February 28, 2020.
Ban on Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Upheld in Court A U.S. District Judge recently upheld an Obama-era policy banning institutions from forcing students to settle complaints outside of court. The regulation, part of the borrower defense to repayment rules, had been challenged by an association of for-profit institutions in California. This means the ban on the use of mandatory arbitration agreements will remain in force until July 1, when the Trump administration’s changes to the borrower defense regulations take effect and eliminate the provision.
CFPB and ED Enter Agreement on Sharing Student Loan Complaints The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) directing the agencies to share complaint information from borrowers and to meet quarterly to discuss the nature of complaints received. The MOU replaces an Obama-era information-sharing agreement that was cancelled in late 2017.
College, University Title IX Responsibility Expanded by Court The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that colleges and universities can be held liable for “pre-assault” claims when it can be shown that the institution’s policies for enforcing Title IX were inadequate and created an environment of “heightened risk” of sexual misconduct that led to a complainant being harassed or assaulted. The ruling stems from an incident that took place on the University of California, Berkeley campus and comes amid speculation that the Department of Education’s new Title IX rules will soon be released.
NACUBO Shares New HEA Resource The House Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, the College Affordability Act (CAA), contains several proposals that affect students, federal financial aid, and business functions. In the last of four NACUBO-produced videos, each of which accompanies a one-pager, Megan Schneider talks about the CAA’s proposed adjusted cohort default rate.