As things move quickly in Washington, DC, NACUBO is your constant advocate in action. Here are the issues we are tracking and advocating for this week.
On the Hill
Lawmakers Unveil College Athlete Bill of Rights
A group of Democratic senators have unveiled their framework for a college athlete bill of rights. The framework, which the senators plan to eventually introduce as formal legislation, addresses student athlete compensation, health and wellness standards, and educational outcomes, among other issues. The framework is unlikely to gain bipartisan support and goes far beyond the student athlete compensation bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in June and endorsed by the NCAA.
Competitive CARES Grant Application Now Available
The Department of Education has announced a new competitive grant to aid colleges and universities in pandemic recovery. The grant, which utilizes a portion of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund aid designated for the FIPSE program, will give priority to applications from institutions with the greatest unmet needs related to the pandemic. Special consideration also will be given to institutions that provide dual enrollment opportunities to students in rural areas or Opportunity Zones and plan to expand those opportunities; are Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Minority Serving Institutions; and are committed to creating more resilient delivery models for instruction, like distance learning. Further application requirements are available from ED.
Fed Revises Municipal Liquidity Facility Pricing
The Federal Reserve has announced changes to its Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) that may be beneficial to public institutions. The revised pricing reduces the interest rate spread on tax-exempt notes for each credit rating category by 50 basis points and reduces the amount by which the interest rate for taxable notes is adjusted relative to tax-exempt notes. The MLF offers up to $500 billion in lending to states and municipalities to help manage cash flow stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
ED Publishes Title IX Site As New Rules Take Effect
The Department of Education launched a new Title IX website that provides policy resources and some press coverage related to its controversial changes to Title IX regulations that took effect on August 14. NACUBO and other higher education associations submitted several amicus briefs in support of lawsuits designed to delay the effective date of the new rules, but in all cases the requests for injunctions were either denied or not heard in time to delay the rule’s implementation. Compliance resources for institutions are available here.
ED Releases Federal Student Aid Document Center
On August 14, the Department of Education announced it created a Partner Eligibility and Oversight Services (PEOS) Document Center. Available on the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) website, it is a centralized electronic repository that allows school users and affiliated third-party servicers to electronically upload program compliance documents. A new training module is also available to assist users.
Reentry Restrictions Eased for H-1B Visa Holders
In an August 12 announcement, the State Department said that certain foreign citizens working in the U.S. who were stuck abroad when the Trump administration closed the country’s borders and suspended work visas may return to continue their jobs here. Individuals wishing to return to the U.S on H-1B specialty occupation visas or L visas for internal company transfers to resume their position with the same employer and visa classification may be exempted from Trump’s visa suspension. The updated guidance will enable certain faculty members to return to their posts at colleges and universities in the U.S.
Higher Ed Pushes for Expanded CARES Loan Program Access
NACUBO, together with over 60 other higher education groups, urged congressional leaders to include changes in future COVID-19 relief legislation to the CARES Act Main Street Lending Program and Paycheck Protection Program to make them more accessible to colleges and universities. The letter to House and Senate leaders cites numerous stumbling blocks to college and university participation in the programs and suggests program tweaks that could help institutions address their “major cash flow crisis in light of the reduced revenues and increased expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Higher Education Community Urges Funding, Flexibility in Future COVID-19 Relief
Even as lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on another COVID-19 relief bill, higher education associations continue to weigh in with Congress on student and institutional spending priorities for a future relief package. A recent letter from NACUBO and dozens of other higher education associations urged Congress to provide additional relief at “the maximum funding levels possible” for both institutions and students, and made several recommendations that would ensure maximum student eligibility for aid and maximum flexibility for institutions so they can “direct funding where it will do the most good and is most needed” on their campuses.
Don’t Miss the Next Legislative Lunchcast
Register now for NACUBO’s September 23 Legislative Lunchcast. These quarterly, 30-minute webcasts are free for NACUBO members and address the most pressing legislative, regulatory, and judicial issues affecting higher education. If you have a question that you would like to see addressed, please send it in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Did I Miss in Washington? July 28-August 10, 2020