NAICU Washington Update

Flexibility Offered to Colleges and Universities Affected by Hurricane Harvey

August 30, 2017

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Department of Education has issued two guidance documents outlining regulatory flexibility offered to colleges and universities. This guidance supersedes any prior guidance issued by the Department after other major natural disasters.
The first set of guidance offers a broad overview of the ability of the Department of Education to allow certain flexibility to institutions of higher education affected by natural disasters, via the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The second serves as more specific guidance to colleges and universities on how to handle certain situations pertaining to campus administration in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The regulatory relief is extended to all recipients of Title IV aid and their families who, at the time of a disaster, were residing in, employed in, or attending an institution located in a federally declared disaster area. The relief also applies to all institutions, lenders, guaranty agencies, and their servicers that are located in such areas.
Campus administrators are encouraged to contact their School Participation Division representative with questions or information about the guidance.
The Department also announced that it has activated its Emergency Response Contact Center for those “seeking informational resources as well as those seeking relief from Department-based administrative requirements.”  Anyone needing assistance should contact the Department toll free at 1-844-348-4082 or by email at   
The Department anticipates that it will be publishing further guidance in the coming weeks. 

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