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 Launches Reopening Best Practices Clearinghouse
The Department of Education has unveiled a new resource to assist campuses as they reopen. The new website highlights “innovative work underway nationwide in continuing to reopen…postsecondary institutions.” The clearinghouse is meant to provide real-world examples of how colleges and universities can safely reopen, as well as resources from ED, higher education associations, and other federal agencies related to reopening.
Cordray to Lead FSA
The Department of Education has announced that Richard Cordray will assume the role of chief operating officer for the Department’s Federal Student Aid division. Cordray was the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the Obama administration; prior to that, he served as the Attorney General of Ohio.
State Department Extends Travel Exemption to Indian Students
In addition to a slew of new guidance for international students from the Departments of Homeland Security and State last week, the State Department has announced that international students from India will also receive exemption from COVID-19 travel restrictions. As with the travel exemptions for students from other countries currently under U.S. travel restrictions, Indian students on F-1 and M-1 visas for academic programs beginning on or after August 1, 2021, do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual exemption to travel. Students may enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start of their program. New students who qualify for an F-1 or M-1 visa automatically will be considered for an exemption to travel.
FCC Emergency Broadband Program Set to Start
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit program will open for applications on May 12. The program is designed to assist people struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Pell Grant recipients, and will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for qualifying households and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a tablet, computer, or laptop from participating providers if they “contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.” NACUBO urges member institutions to communicate broadly with students, and Pell Grant recipients in particular, to ensure they’re aware of this benefit. Program eligibility can be established in several ways, and the FCC has provided a toolkit to help with messaging and outreach.
NACUBO Supports Legacy IRA Act
In an April 30 letter to the leadership of the House Committee on Ways and Means, NACUBO joined a coalition of organizations in support of the Legacy IRA Act, which was included in H.R. 2954: Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021. The provision would expand the existing IRA charitable rollover to allow individuals over 65 to make up to $400,000 of tax-free distributions from their individual retirement accounts to charities, including split-interest entities. Presently, such contributions are limited to $100,000 annually and only are available to individuals over 70.5 years old. Last week, the committee passed the bill to the House floor, and Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) favorably referenced the letter in remarks to the committee.
NACUBO On Your Side: April 27-May 3, 2021