NAICU Washington Update - April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

This was an important week in terms of accessing information related to the implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Yesterday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a letter to all college and university presidents encouraging the quick distribution of 50 percent of the funding included in the CARES Act relief package intended for emergency grants to students.
The announcement included individual institutional allocations and the methodology used by the Education Department in making its allocation decisions. NAICU’s Frequently Asked Questions includes additional details related to yesterday’s announcement, including how and when the relief funds will be distributed.

While the response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains, rightfully, top of mind for most colleges and universities, there was significant activity this week on issues unrelated to the coronavirus and the CARES Act implementation. 

Title IX Regulations Looming: The long-anticipated final Title IX regulations on campus sexual assault are expected to be published soon. The Office of Management and Budget recently completed its review of the new rules, and the Department of Education is expected to submit them for publication in the Federal Register, where they are likely to appear within the next few weeks.

As a reminder, last month, NAICU and the higher education community, led by ACE, sent a community-wide letter to Secretary DeVos asking the Department to delay implementation of the Title IX and foreign gifts reporting regulatory efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. 

College Scorecard Updated: The Department of Education recently updated the College Scorecard with the most recent annual data from IPEDS, new metrics related to percentages of full-time, first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students awarded a Pell Grant or federal loan, and more.

New Financial Responsibility Standards Reporting Requirements Published: The Department of Education has published a series of technical changes to the Financial Responsibility Standards (FRS) reporting requirements stemming from changes in accounting standards.  The guidance provides clarifications and direction regarding how to treat long-term leases, updates to the eZ Audit templates (expected spring 2020), and an explanation of long-term debt treatment.  The guidance also provides a few examples of sample institutions to help guide decision making.  While the technical changes were both necessary and welcomed, the regulations do not tackle the underlying problems of the financial responsibility composite scores. (Read more)

NC-SARA Update: As reported in last week’s Washington Update, the executive committee of the board of NC-SARA met to discuss the challenges with the current Financial Responsibility Standards in light of the continuing economic downturn.  This week, the Council responded with a letter in response to the determined efforts of college and university leaders asking them to reconsider use of the federal Financial Responsibility Standards as a threshold for NC-SARA eligibility.    

Guidance Sought on International Students: In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the higher education community formally requested guidance from the U.S. Department of State on the 1 million international students currently studying at U.S. institutions, and for those students anticipating studying in the U.S. in the fall of 2020.  The request asks for an end to the suspension of visa premium processing, and to waive the in-person interview requirement for F-1 and M-1 visa applicants during the COVID-19 crisis, as the Department did for H-2 applicants.  Lastly, it asks the State Department to grant flexibility and extend F-1 status following graduation dates to allow students time and flexibility to make safe decisions on returning to their home countries. (Read more)

Private, Nonprofit Colleges & Universities may be Eligible for FEMA Funds: President Trump issued a nationwide COVID-19 emergency declaration last month, in accordance with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act, making private, nonprofit colleges and universities eligible to apply for public assistance.  If a college or university is located in an affected area, protective measures taken to contend with COVID-19 may be eligible for reimbursement, if they are taken under the direction of public health officials. (Read more)

Association Partnerships: These are difficult times for all of us.  However, we are grateful for the help and partnership of so many in the higher education community.  This week, for example, we were able to provide NAICU members with important resources from CUPA-HR on the human resource provisions contained in the CARES Act. Thank you to CUPA-HR President and CEO Andy Brantley, and his entire staff, for your partnership.  

NAICU COVID-19 Resource Pages: NAICU continues to maintain and update on a daily basis its dedicated webpage that provides current information, guidance, and news coverage on the coronavirus.  NAICU is also updating its Frequently Asked Questions link as more information becomes available. 

Editor’s Note: Changes Coming to Washington Update: Beginning in May, Washington Update will become a member’s only newsletter.  NAICU members will continue to receive the newsletter automatically and no action is required.  For readers who are not affiliated with a NAICU member institution or organization, we thank you for your readership through the years.  If your institution is interested in a NAICU membership, contact Deborah Sykes Reilly at

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