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.
ED Publishes Clarifying Guidance on COVID-19 R2T4 Requirements
On March 19, the Department of Education published an Electronic Announcement reminding schools of Return to Title IV (R2T4) requirements for students affected by the COVID-19 national emergency. Examples are included to illustrate when it is and is not appropriate to apply the blanket R2T4 waiver for a covered period.
Department of Labor Delays H-1B Changes
Similar to a delay announced last month by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it is delaying by 18 months the effective date of visa rule changes enacted under the Trump administration that would significantly alter the potential for international workers to obtain H-1B visas. The effective date is now November 14, 2022, and the applicability date has been delayed from July 1, 2021, to January 1, 2023. The delayed changes, if enacted, would dramatically change the prevailing wage levels for employment-based visas and eliminate the H-1B visa lottery system in favor of a system that prioritizes visas based on applicants’ earnings. NACUBO consistently has opposed both rule changes.
ED Announces CRRSAA Competitive Grant Process
The Department of Education has announced the launch of a series of competitive grants, funded as a component of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The grants are designed to supplement other HEERF allocations an institution may have received and are intended to be given to schools with the “greatest unmet needs related to coronavirus.” Public or private nonprofit higher education institutions are applicable if they illustrate eligibility under one of ED’s seven “absolute priorities.”
Student Aid Alliance Urges Congress to Provide More Student Support
The Student Aid Alliance (SAA), of which NACUBO is a member, sent a letter to congressional leadership on the Appropriations Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education requesting greater investments in student aid programs for FY22. SAA cites the economic impact of the pandemic on students, particularly students from low-income backgrounds, for why the investment is particularly important this appropriations cycle. The letter specifically calls for doubling the maximum Pell Grant award to $13,000 and for sizeable new appropriations to be made for the Federal Work-Study, SEOG, GEAR UP, TRIO, LEAP, and GAANN programs.
NACUBO, Associations Call for Double Pell
NACUBO has joined a coalition of over 1,100 organizations in sending a letter to Congress, urging all members to support doubling the maximum Pell Grant. The letter cites data showing that Pell Grant recipients continue to bear disproportionate student debt burdens—an idea that NACUBO examines in our latest State of Higher Education brief, “Bold Action Required: How to More Effectively Support Students From Low-Income Backgrounds.” NACUBO’s brief cites the doubling of Pell Grants as one way to meet the needs of these students more effectively.
Town Hall Available On Demand
Audio and video recordings from NACUBO’s March 24 Town Hall, along with the presentation’s slide deck, are available on demand. The Town Hall addressed numerous questions related to the Department of Education’s most recent HEERF guidance.
NACUBO On Your Side: March 16-22, 2021