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
Legislators Continue Infrastructure Push as NACUBO Weighs In
President Joe Biden introduced a $2.5 billion infrastructure development priorities plan in April and shortly after released his American Families Plan, which included several major higher education proposals among a number of other pandemic recovery and social spending goals. Nearly five months later, Congress is still endeavoring to turn these proposals into law. A slim margin in the House of Representatives and no margin in the Senate has forced Democrats to consider using a complex process, budget reconciliation, to advance these priorities. This week, work will begin on a massive legislative package that could result in more than $4 trillion in new spending if House lawmakers can satisfy Senate demands. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s goal is to complete work by the end of September, but additional time may be needed to secure final passage of such a large infrastructure and reconciliation deal.
NACUBO and other infrastructure advocates wrote to congressional leaders, stressing the need to restore advance refunding bonds, enhance the ability for small issuers to access capital, and restore and expand the use of direct-pay bonds. NACUBO has been working hard to ensure college and university priorities (infrastructure and broadband investments and more) are included in the final law.
ED Won’t Enforce Title IX Provisions Stuck Down in Court
The Department of Education has formally announced it will cease enforcement of the portion of the Title IX regulations issued under the Trump Administration that prohibited considering statements of witnesses and parties who would not subject themselves to cross-examination. A Massachusetts district court judge struck down that portion of the campus sexual assault regulations in July.
ED Automates Processes for Total and Permanent Disability Discharges and Interest Pause
The Department of Education recently announced that beginning this month, it will begin automatically discharging Title IV loans and TEACH Grant service obligations of borrowers and TEACH Grant recipients who are identified as eligible for Total and Permanent Disability Discharges. While ED will continue to match data with other federal agencies, borrowers and recipients will no longer submit an application for the discharge. ED also announced that, through a data match with the Department of Defense, it will automate the pause of student loan interest accruals for active duty servicemembers whose deployment qualifies them for imminent danger or hostile fire pay.
ED Updates R2T4 Q&A
On August 20, the Department of Education announced that it updated the Q&A guidance related to the Return of Title IV Funds on its Program Integrity page. The updates address changes to the regulations that became effective July 1, 2021.
ED Announces ACA Payments for 2019-20 and 2020-21 Award Years
In two separate electronic announcements, the Department of Education shared that it is processing the second Pell Grant Administrative Cost Allowance (ACA) payment for the 2020-21 Award Year (AY) and the third and final ACA payment for the 2019-20 AY. Once the payments are posted to G5, schools must sign in to the system and process a drawdown transaction to receive the funds.
ED Updates Guidance on Mandatory Assignment of Defaulted Perkins Loans
As part of the wind down of the Perkins Loan Program, the Department of Education requires institutions to assign to ED all Perkins Loans that have been in default for more than two years, unless the institution has documentation that these borrowers are making payments toward their Perkins Loan debt. Institutions will have through June 30, 2022, to either assign or purchase loans that have been in default for more than two years.
Two Opportunities to Take Action to #DoublePell
Congress is moving quickly on a legislative package that would bring historic investment to domestic programs including the Pell Grant Program. NACUBO and others in the higher education community have created tools to help you and members of your campus community tell Congress how important it is to increase the maximum Pell Grant. Tell Congress to #DoublePell by clicking here or texting “College Pell” to 52886. You can also find a suite of advocacy resources created by the higher education community here.
NACUBO On Your Side: August 10-16, 2021