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 Releases New Title IX Guidance
The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has released a new Title IX Q&A document addressing campus handling of sexual assault. The latest guidance addresses topics including how an institution may determine whether to investigate off-campus incidents, how to interpret the new definition of sexual harassment, and allowable evidence guidelines in campus hearings. OCR is still reviewing current regulations, with the intent of making changes in future rulemaking efforts.
Federal Court Upholds IU Vaccine Mandate
A federal district court judge has issued a decision on the legality of one institution’s vaccine mandate and related mask-wearing and testing requirements. The decision upheld Indiana University’s vaccine mandate and mask-wearing requirements, finding that the university’s decision on vaccines was reasonable, based on scientific data, and within the state’s right “to act reasonably in protecting the public’s health.” The decision also found that “there is no fundamental constitutional right to not wear a mask.”
NACUBO, Associations Request More Travel Restriction Guidance
NACUBO joined two dozen other higher education associations in a letter to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requesting more guidance on the National Interest Exception (NIE) for some international students on COVID-19 travel restrictions that are scheduled to start August 1. The letter also requests that the State Department expand the NIE to include campus faculty and other personnel so they can be present for the start of their academic terms. Information on the current NIE guidance can be found here.
NACUBO Calls for Student-Veteran Bill Fixes
NACUBO joined 10 other higher education associations in submitting a letter to the leadership of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, suggesting several improvements for the recently passed Isakson Roe Act. The letter, which also praises many components of the bill, was sent in advance of a committee hearing with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to discuss implementation of the law. Suggested improvements include making dual certification of enrollment verification for student-veterans optional and aligning consumer information requirements with those already in place at the Department of Education.
NACUBO Endorses Tuition Assistance Legislation
NACUBO has endorsed the bipartisan Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act, introduced by Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Jason Smith (R-MO). The bill is identical to legislation introduced in the Senate several months ago, which NACUBO also endorsed. The bills propose amending Section 127 of the tax code to increase the amount of tax-free educational assistance that employers can offer to employees, from $5,250 to $12,000 annually for two years. NACUBO also endorsed the Upward Mobility Act, introduced by Davis and Smith, which would similarly amend Section 127 but would permanently increase the annual benefit for undergraduate coursework to $12,000 and index it to inflation.
NASFAA Resource Helps Financial Aid Offices Address Implicit Bias
A report and toolkit from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is designed to help aid offices address negative impacts of implicit bias in financial aid work. With policy and procedural suggestions, the toolkit is meant to help administrators address bias as they develop financial aid forms, policies for cost attendance and scholarships, and more.
NACUBO On Your Side: July 13-19, 2021