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 Issues New Title IX Guidance
The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new Notice of Interpretation (NOI) concerning its enforcement of Title IX provisions. The NOI confirms that the prohibitions on sex-based discrimination in Title IX include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. OCR stated that the NOI represents its “sustained effort to promote safe and inclusive schools for all students, including LGBTQ+ students.”
FSA Provides Updated Data on Student Loans
The Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid recently published student loan data for the second quarter of federal FY21. FSA’s portfolio—which includes Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, and Perkins Loans—stands at almost $1.6 trillion in outstanding principal and interest across 42.9 million recipients. FSA also shared updates on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded PSLF programs.
ED Early Implements Some Regulations, Delays FAFSA Simplification Changes
On June 11, the Department of Education announced it would early implement the removal of the Selective Service and drug conviction requirements for Title IV eligibility, beginning in award year 2021-22. In a separate EA and Federal Register notice, ED indicated it also would early implement the elimination of the subsidized usage loan limit restriction. Previously, eligibility was not to exceed 150 percent of the length of a borrower’s program. Finally, ED shared that it is working with Congress to provide an extra year to make changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with implementation set for award year 2024-25.
NACUBO Endorses Pell Grant Expansion Bill
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) have introduced bills in the Senate and House that contain several proposals to expand the Pell Grant program. Provisions include an immediate increase to the maximum Pell Grant award by $1,475 for the 2022-23 school year, followed by a gradual increase in the maximum award amount to $13,000 by the 2028-29 school year and subsequent automatic increases based on inflation. The bill also would extend Pell Grant eligibility to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and would increase the lifetime cap on how long students can receive Pell Grants from 12 to 18 semesters. NACUBO has endorsed the legislation. A fact sheet with more details is available here.
Higher Education Community Outlines Tax Priorities
NACUBO joined a higher education community letter, led by the American Council on Education, outlining over a dozen tax proposal requests for the American Jobs and American Families plans from the Biden administration. The letter includes proposals to aid students, institutions, and student loan borrowers. Institution-facing proposals include improvements for infrastructure and charitable giving and the elimination of UBIT basketing and the endowment excise tax.
Public Finance Network Calls for Tax-Exempt Bond Support
NACUBO, with other members of the Public Finance Network, wrote to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen to encourage support for key tax-exempt bond priorities. The letter thanks the Biden administration for its focus on infrastructure and highlights broad bipartisan support in Congress for tax-exempt bond issues as a reason to support the restoration of advance refunding for tax-exempt bonds, restoration of Direct-Pay bonds, and an expansion of access to bank-qualified debt, which would make it easier for small issuers to access capital.
NACUBO Weighs in on Potential Compliance Supplement Change
NACUBO, joined by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, sent a letter to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office of the Department of Education expressing concern with a potential change to college and university single audits that would transition audit sampling to a “random sampling” approach in 2021. This would require student financial services professionals to redo work that has already been completed for the 2021 audit cycle. The letter requests that FSA delay any new requests related to the single audit cycle until 2022.
NACUBO Calls for ENERGY STAR Funding Increase
NACUBO joined a diverse group of 75 other companies and organizations in asking Congress to increase the annual funding for the ENERGY STAR program to at least $80 million. The letter highlights the billions of dollars the program helps energy consumers save every year, as well as its role in serving as a national framework for energy efficient progress.
NACUBO On Your Side: June 8-14, 2021