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 Makes Latest FISAP Available, Creates Training Program to Assist Staff
On August 2, the Department of Education announced that the Fiscal Operations Report for 2020-21 and Application to Participate for 2022-23 (FISAP) are now available on the Common Origination and Disbursement website. The notice also includes supplemental FISAP reporting instructions due to the COVID-19 emergency. FISAPs must be electronically submitted by October 1, 2021. An online, self-paced training course is available to help financial aid and business office staff complete the FISAP.
ED Calls for Second Chance Pell Institutional Partners
The Department of Education has issued an invitation for more colleges and universities to participate in its Second Chance Pell experiment under the Experimental Sites Initiative. In this round of the experiment, which provides Pell Grant funding to otherwise Pell-eligible students who are currently incarcerated, ED will consider letters of interest from Title IV-eligible postsecondary institutions to participate, beginning in the 2022-23 award year.
ED Announces New Rulemaking Effort
The Department of Education has shared an unofficial notice about its first negotiated rulemaking effort under Secretary Miguel Cardona, which will establish the Affordability and Student Loans rulemaking committee, as well as a subcommittee to address topics like Pell Grant reform, student loan forgiveness and discharge programs, and loan repayment plans. ED will be accepting nominations for committee members for 21 days after official publication in the Federal Register, and rulemaking sessions will take place over several days this October, November, and December.
Vaccine Mandates Upheld, Expanded
President Joe Biden has announced that all federal government employees and onsite contractors will be required to attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status. Those choosing not to be vaccinated will be required to wear masks while working, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel. Similar standards are being developed for all federal contractors; combined, these provisions likely will become applicable to the many college and university employees that serve as federal contractors.
Similarly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld an earlier district court ruling regarding Indiana University’s (IU) vaccine mandate and related mask-wearing and testing requirements. The decision noted that the mandate has reasonable exemptions, and that those students wishing not to comply with IU’s requirements had “ample educational opportunities” to study at a different institution.
NACUBO, Associations Urge Congress to Pass Immigration Protections
NACUBO joined 60 other higher education associations in a letter to House and Senate leaders, urging them to provide permanent legal protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The letter, which comes as a recent federal ruling has threatened the DACA program, highlights the many contributions of DACA recipients to the U.S., from serving in the military to working on the front lines of the pandemic as healthcare workers. NACUBO’s latest DACA resource offers more information on the history of the DACA program, as well as various political efforts to strengthen or eliminate the program since its inception.
Higher Ed Community Weighs In on State Vaccine Restrictions
NACUBO has joined a joint statement, led by the American College Health Association, in response to a growing number of state laws that prevent primarily public colleges and universities from enacting evidence-based policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on their campuses. The statement emphasizes that these restrictions “undermine the ability of all organizations, including colleges and universities, to operate safely and fully at a time of tremendous unpredictability…and prohibit higher education institutions from taking responsible and reasonable public health measures and ultimately threaten the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and neighboring communities.”
Dig Deeper on NACUBO In Brief
You can hear directly from NACUBO’s policy team and members of the higher education community on our podcast, NACUBO In Brief. In the latest episode, NACUBO’s Megan Schneider interviews Heather E. McGowan, an author and NACUBO 2021 Annual Meeting general session speaker, about the future of work and learning in a post-pandemic world.
NACUBO On Your Side: July 27-August 2, 2021