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 Introduce Sweeping NIL Bill
Following a recent Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee hearing concerning student athlete pay, House lawmakers Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) have introduced a bipartisan student athlete pay bill. The legislation, the Student Athlete Level Playing Field Act, would permit college athletes to engage in agent contracts and be compensated for use of their name, image, and likeness. Notably, the bill would create a federal standard for student athlete compensation that would preempt current or future state-level student athlete pay laws—something both NACUBO and the NCAA have advocated for as necessary to avoid a patchwork of different state policies.
House Passes CR, Senate to Follow Shortly
The House of Representatives has passed a short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government at current fiscal year levels until work on a full package of appropriations is completed. This short-term resolution will prevent the federal government from shutting down when the government’s fiscal year ends on September 30. While the bill contains very little additional COVID-19 pandemic aid, an extension of several Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit protections for student veterans was included. The Senate is expected to pass the bill shortly.
GAO Critiques ED in New Report
The Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan Congressional agency that examines government spending and efficiency, criticized the Department of Education and the Trump administration as a whole in a new report on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The GAO found a “lack of cogent, clear, and consistent federal guidance” for reopening schools and also cited conflicting messaging from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as contributing to "confusion" and "indecision" for school officials and local leaders. DeVos’ comments that indicated that schools that did not reopen this fall should not receive further pandemic aid from the federal government were not “[aligned] with a risk-based decision-making approach," according to the report.
FSA Unveils Five-Year Plan
The Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) at the Department of Education has shared its strategic five-year plan draft for public comment. The document describes efforts to greatly increase cybersecurity, improve oversight of loan servicing contractors, and generally improve customer service outcomes for federal student loan borrowers. The plan also cites sizable new improvements for the agency’s Next Gen initiative to increase financial literacy and make borrower repayment more streamlined throughout the loan process.
Student Loan Borrower Trends Shared
A series of quarterly updates made to the portfolio reports of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Data Center has revealed interesting insights into student loan borrowing trends. Perhaps the biggest shift in year-over-year data showed that only 300,000 Direct Loan borrowers currently have loans in repayment status, compared to 18.9 million borrowers the year before. This is almost exclusively tied to the current payment suspension of federal student loans created by the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the suspension of payments, the data also indicated that a steady increase of borrower enrollment in income-driven repayment plans has continued, even though many borrowers aren’t currently making any loan payments. The report also features data on borrower defense to repayment claims and public service loan forgiveness applications in addition to the loan information.
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.
NACUBO On Your Side: September 15-21, 2020