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.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications Available
Colleges and universities that received a loan from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can now apply for PPP loan forgiveness. Interested institutions can find the PPP loan forgiveness application from the Small Business Administration here, and general information on loan forgiveness here.
HEERF Reporting Requirements Eased
As recently reported by NACUBO, ED has announced that it is decreasing the frequency with which schools must report on emergency grants provided to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Institutions still must post information on their websites within 30 days of initially submitting their Certification and Agreement forms for the funds, but subsequent student disbursement reports now only need to be updated quarterly, rather than every 45 days as was previously required.
ED Announces Additional Time to Apply for HEERF Aid
The Department of Education has announced that it is reopening the application period for most CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund aid. The initial due date to apply for most HEERF allocations was August 1, but institutions now have until September 30 to submit Certification and Agreement forms for allocations under Sections 18004(a)(1), 18004(a)(2), and 18004(a)(3) of the CARES Act. While this deadline extension applies to most HEERF aid, it does not apply to the recently announced Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) competitive grant, which requires that institutions provide a notice of intent to apply by September 10 and a full application by October 20.
ED OCR Doubles Down on Title IX Guidance
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education recently issued two guidance letters outlining how it will handle Title IX complaints of discrimination against LGBTQ students. The guidance comes as part of a review related to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v Clayton County, which extended antidiscrimination protections contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to LGBTQ workers. OCR confirmed that it will continue to allow schools to implement athletic policies that bar transgender athletes from participation in athletics based on their “biological sex.”
EPA Benchmarking Initiative Due Date Approaching
This July, the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program launched a new opportunity for colleges and universities to participate in the ENERGY STAR Higher Education Benchmarking Initiative. The initiative is meant to help higher education institutions understand how the energy and water performance of their campus buildings stack up against that of peer institutions. All two- and four-year colleges and universities located in the United States are invited to participate; data submissions are due September 15. Further information about the initiative, including data submission directions, is available here.
Congress Returns as Big Issues Loom
As Congress returns from recess, numerous large issues are waiting to be addressed. Most notably, Congress has yet to pass a fourth large package of COVID-19 relief aid despite both parties introducing relief legislation. Although NACUBO continues to weigh in with lawmakers on higher education relief package priorities, Republicans and Democrats remain unable to agree on a topline funding amount for the package. Congress also must pass a funding measure to keep the federal government operational when its current funding expires at the end of September. Both parties have acknowledged that they likely will fund the government via continuing resolution, as opposed to the standard 12 appropriations bills, until after the November election. There is some potential that a small portion of pandemic relief may be attached to this funding measure. Senate Democrats have also signaled that they will begin taking steps to overturn the president’s recent payroll tax deferral executive order, but it is unlikely that they will obtain the necessary votes to do so.
Don’t Miss the Next Legislative Lunchcast
Register now for NACUBO’s September 23 Legislative Lunchcast. This quarterly, 30-minute webinar is free for NACUBO members and will 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.
NACUBO On Your Side: August 25-31, 2020