NACUBO On Your Side: July 13-19, 2021
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.
A federal district court judge in Texas has issued a decision declaring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal and prohibiting the federal government from accepting any new applications. The decision will not impact current DACA-status holders. It is in direct conflict with President Joe Biden’s January executive order to “"preserve and fortify" the DACA program. Biden called the decision “deeply disappointing” and said the Justice Department will appeal it.
NACUBO Praises Education Funding Levels
NACUBO joined 30 other higher education associations in praising the work of congressional appropriators for the education funding levels proposed in the FY22 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The letter, led by the American Council on Education (ACE), highlighted positive changes in the proposed bill including increased funding for Pell Grants and the Federal Work-Study Program, additional assistance for Minority Serving Institutions, and a change that would allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to access federal financial aid.
Associations Launch #DoublePell Campaign
ACE and other higher education associations launched a new national campaign designed to urge lawmakers to double the maximum Pell Grant award. The campaign includes advocacy resources, issue briefs, and stories from Pell Grant recipients. NACUBO’s own Pell Grant campaign has a tool to contact lawmakers about doubling the maximum Pell Grant award.
NACUBO Supports Tax-Free Pell Bill
NACUBO has joined a letter, led by the American Association of Community Colleges, expressing support for the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act. The bill, introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would eliminate the taxation of any portion of Pell Grants, eliminate the Pell Grant offset included in the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) formula, and expand the AOTC and the Lifetime Learning Credit to include additional expenses like childcare and computers. The letter, which was joined by 21 other higher education associations, strongly endorses the legislation and urges all members of Congress to support it.
NACUBO Endorses Bond Expansion Legislation
NACUBO has endorsed a new bill designed to maximize the flexibility of tax-exempt private activity bonds by expanding their permitted uses to include the financing of qualified carbon dioxide capture facilities. The bipartisan legislation comes as many in Congress and the administration are devoting significant time to revamping America’s existing infrastructure support and regulations. NACUBO is frequently meeting with lawmakers to stress higher education priorities.
NACUBO Advocates for Expanded Broadband Access
NACUBO joined a higher education community letter, led by ACE, to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, encouraging them to address higher education’s “digital divide” in infrastructure legislation. The letter states that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the preexisting technology and internet divide that disadvantages students from low-income backgrounds and the institutions that primarily serve them. Legislators should build on recent investments in broadband and ensure that a small portion of funding is set aside specifically to connect higher education students and institutions.
Register for Wednesday’s Legislative Lunchcast
Join members of NACUBO's policy team from 1–1:30 pm ET on Wednesday, July 21 for the latest news from Capitol Hill and around Washington, DC. This session will specifically address recent Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) guidance, Department of Education rulemaking, and more. Learn more about this free-for-members webcast and register here.