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.
On the Hill
Debt Ceiling Agreement Reached, Paving the Way for Infrastructure Discussion
Congress has passed a short-term solution to avoid breaching the nation’s borrowing limit until at least December 3, the same end date as a recently passed continuing resolution that temporarily funds the federal government and prevents a shutdown. With these concerns managed for the time being, lawmakers are returning to negotiations over a reconciliation infrastructure package. The package contains numerous provisions of interest to higher education, including: a free community college proposal; a return of advance refunding for tax-exempt bonds; and eliminating the taxability of Pell Grants. With Congress aiming to conclude work on the package by the end of the month, NACUBO continues to urge lawmakers to retain the package provisions most beneficial to colleges, universities, and their students.
ED Brings Back Enforcement Office
On October 8, the Department of Education announced it was restoring an Office of Enforcement within Federal Student Aid. The office intends to strengthen oversight of and enforcement actions against institutions participating in the federal student loan, grant, and work-study programs. The office, created in 2016, was deprioritized by the previous administration.
New Director Sworn In at CFPB
On October 12, Rohit Chopra was sworn in as the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent agency created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. During the Obama administration, Chopra served as assistant director and student loan ombudsman at the bureau. In addition to reviewing student loan complaints, the CFPB also monitors debt collectors, student loan companies, and agreements between credit card issuers and higher education institutions.
White House Issues Order Supporting Tribal Colleges, Students
President Joe Biden has issued an executive order with the goal of “advancing educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunity” for Native American students and Tribal Colleges and Universities. The order establishes an initiative within the Department of Education with goals that include: advance equity for these individuals and institutions; better understand systemic causes of existing educational inequalities; and “increase public awareness of and generate solutions for the educational and training challenges and equity disparities that Native American students face.”
NACUBO Calls for Flexibility for International Students, Staff
NACUBO has joined numerous higher education organizations in a letter to White House and Centers for Disease Control staff. The letter thanks them for travel flexibilities afforded to international students during the COVID-19 pandemic and urges them to continue those flexibilities as necessary. Specifically, in light of recent guidance indicating that fully vaccinated international travelers will be permitted to enter the U.S., the letter requests that students and academics coming from countries where the COVID-19 vaccine is not widely available be permitted to enter the U.S. and be vaccinated upon arrival.
Register for the Next Legislative Lunchcast
The next legislative lunchcast—a quarterly update from NACUBO’s policy team on the latest news from Washington, DC—is approaching. Registration is free for NACUBO members, who can submit questions in advance by emailing email@example.com.
NACUBO On Your Side: September 21-27, 2021