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
House Passes Build Back Better Act
The House has again passed a version of the Build Back Better Act (BBB). As was the case the first time the House passed a version of this bill, it is unlikely to pass in the Senate without further modifications. The bill, greatly reduced from original proposals, contains extensive new funding for community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and minority-serving institutions. It includes funds for research and development, infrastructure needs, a new workforce development grant program, and other direct institutional aid.
The package also contains a $550 boost to the maximum Pell Grant award, eliminates Pell Grant taxability entirely, and makes DACA recipients eligible for Pell Grants and federal student aid for the first time ever. In addition, individuals with felony drug convictions would now be able to use the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and public universities could benefit from the creation of a new competitive application process that would award a research infrastructure tax credit.
Despite House passage of the BBB, ongoing Senate debate may delay its final passage until late December.
House Holds HEERF Hearing
A recent House Education and Labor Joint Subcommittee hearing focused on how Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) aid is being used by colleges and universities. In testifying about HEERF usage, Department of Education (ED) Under Secretary James Kvaal stressed to lawmakers how important the relief has been to both students and institutions in addressing myriad material needs, avoiding campus layoffs, and helping combat the ongoing public health crisis. Kvaal also outlined steps the agency is taking to ensure accountability and proper use of HEERF aid.
ED Issues Reminder to Confirm SAIG Mailboxes
On November 16, ED published an announcement reminding all organizations registered for a Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) account to review and validate their assigned TG numbers and Electronic Services user accounts by December 10, 2021. Failure to accurately do so will result in the loss of access to Federal Student Aid data systems. Approximately 55 percent of accounts still require validation.
NACUBO, Associations Call for Technical Fixes to Veterans Legislation
NACUBO, along with 33 other organizations and higher education associations, sent a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, supporting a bill that would extend certain pandemic-related veteran flexibilities and make technical corrections to the Isakson-Roe Act. The letter also calls for a legislative fix to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ “rounding out” policy.
December Legislative Lunchcast
NACUBO's next legislative lunchcast—a quarterly update from NACUBO’s policy team on the latest news from Washington, DC—is approaching. Registration is free for NACUBO members, who can submit questions in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. An audio recording of the session will also be made available as NACUBO In Brief podcast.
NACUBO On Your Side, November 9–15, 2021