NAICU Washington Update

Education Department Maintains Busy Regulatory Agenda

July 09, 2020

Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Education continues to pursue a jam-packed regulatory agenda affecting higher education. 

In its most recent action last week, the department issued final regulations that both facilitate faith-based institutions’ access to the Title IV programs and revise the TEACH Grant Program. The regulations, the second of three sets of rules that emerged from the department’s 2018-2019 negotiated rulemaking process, are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2021, although the department is allowing for early implementation. 

Meanwhile, numerous regulations have recently gone into effect, while others await implementation or finalization or are still on the drawing board. A current regulatory snapshot is below.

Newly Effective Regulations

A trio of regulatory changes became effective on July 1, 2020. Final Regulations Not Yet Effective

Two sets of final regulations issued by the department have not yet taken effect.  Proposed Regulations Not Yet Finalized

Two sets of proposed regulations published by the department have not yet been finalized.
  • Proposed regulations that are designed to implement President Trump’s Executive Order addressing freedom of speech on college campuses, as well as to facilitate faith-based institutions’ eligibility to participate in various grant programs under the Higher Education Act, were published on January 17, 2020.
  • Proposed rules that are intended to facilitate distance learning and educational innovation were published on April 2, 2020. Once finalized, the rules will take effect on July 1, 2021.
Proposed Regulations in Development

The department has also announced that it plans to issue proposed regulations in the following three areas.
  • Foreign Gift Reporting: The department intends to issue proposed foreign gift reporting regulations regarding a requirement to produce true copies of gift and contract agreements under Section 117. This effort would supplement additional Section 117 foreign gift reporting requirements that the department has imposed. Under those requirements, institutions must report foreign gifts from the first part of 2020 via an online portal by July 31, 2020.
  • Anti-Semitism: The department intends to issue proposed regulations to implement President Trump’s Executive Order on combating anti-Semitism. 
  • Student Privacy: The department intends to issue proposed regulations amending the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that protects the privacy of students’ educational records. 

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