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 Unveils Religious Freedom Rule Reporting Guidelines
The Department of Education has published guidelines for institutions to submit copies of certain final, non-default judgments as required under its newly finalized Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry Final Rule. The notice also shares information about how individuals may report alleged violations of the rule. The rule, which originated partially from an executive order, is anticipated to be heavily modified or rescinded entirely by the incoming Biden administration.
ED Updates Latest CARES Act HEERF FAQ
The most recent CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) FAQ has been updated to clarify and enforce that senior administrator and executive salaries are not, in most cases, an allowable use of any CARES Act HEERF aid.
Still Time to Register for ED’s Virtual FSA Training Conference
Because the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Training Conference is online this year, there is still time to register for the event, which begins on December 1. In addition to federal updates, there are many sessions that will be of interest to business officers, including those covering HEERF reporting, financial responsibility, and program review findings, among others.
ED Produces CARES Act R2T4 Training Video
The Department of Education recently announced the availability of an online training video to support the reporting requirements for withdrawn students who qualify for a Return of Title IV (R2T4) Funds waiver under the CARES Act. To view the video, individuals will need a username and password for the Federal Student Aid E-Training website.
ED Updates Federal Student Aid Handbook
On November 20, the Department of Education announced it had updated Volume 6—The Campus-Based Programs—of the Federal Student Aid Handbook. The update provides information that schools need to administer the Federal Work-Study Program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Grant Program, and the Federal Perkins Loan Program.
Associations Urge ED to Extend Student Loan Pause
NACUBO joined 45 other higher education groups in a letter to the Department of Education, urging the agency to extend the current suspension of payments and zero percent interest for federal student loan borrowers, as well as the suspension of collections on defaulted loans, in light of the ongoing pandemic. These policies, initially passed in March and set to expire in September, were later extended via Executive Order through the end of the year. While the incoming Biden administration likely will reinstate the provisions once in office, the roughly month-long period between the provisions’ expiration and the installment of a new administration could lead to huge administrative burdens for ED and confusion and financial stress for loan borrowers.
NACUBO Aids in Crafting PPP Comments
NACUBO assisted the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education in preparing comments submitted to the Small Business Administration in response to its "Loan Necessity Questionnaire for Non-profits," which is currently being sent to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers. The comments express concern with some of the questions raised on the form and their potential impact on nonprofit higher education institutions.
Coalition Letter Encourages Policies That Enable Charitable Giving
The Charitable Giving Coalition, of which NACUBO is a member, recently wrote to President-elect Joe Biden to urge his support for tax policies that enable and increase charitable giving. The letter expresses concerns with provisions reportedly included in the Biden-Harris tax plan that could disincentivize giving from high-earning individuals and encourages the administration to consider proposals to expand the universal above-the-line charitable deduction.
Send Your Questions for NACUBO’s Next Legslative Lunchcast
NACUBO’s next quarterly Legislative Lunchcast is only two weeks away. Do you have federal affairs questions or specific topics you’d like to hear addressed in the webcast? Send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 14.
NACUBO On Your Side: November 17-23, 2020