NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

February 25, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

Our nation is on edge this week as we watch the geopolitical situation unfolding in the Ukraine. To the faculty, staff and students of Ukrainian descent on our campuses, I want to extend our hope for a peaceful resolution to the tensions that threaten their homeland and our international community.

Despite that shadow, policy making in Washington continued on many issues of importance to our institutions this week. Where we have yet to see progress is on the FY 22 spending bill. Congress faces a March 11 deadline when the current FY22 continuing resolution is set to expire.

Also behind the scenes are continuing negotiations on the America COMPETES Act in the House, and the U. S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA) in the Senate. The overall intent of these wide-ranging bills is to increase research funding across multiple federal agencies, and ensure institutions of higher education are protected from negative foreign influence. The bills, which have a high likelihood of passage, have become a vehicle for multiple amendments, including ones that would affect higher education. To date, higher education provisions include: funding for international education programs under Title VI of the Higher Education Act; the establishment of a federal student unit record system; some limited uses for short-term Pell Grants; and a new definition of community college for purposes of new research funding in these bills that excludes two-year private, nonprofit colleges. On some of these provisions I have sent out specific alerts to our members who would be impacted. We will be watching closely to see what ultimately emerges in the final bill.

In good news, the FBI held a briefing this week that indicates progress has been made on the investigation into the bomb threats at HBCUs. More detail on those developments is in an article below. Another article focuses on a new loan servicer announcement by the Department of Education that is intended to streamline student loan repayment for borrowers.

  • The Justice Department has announced it is ending its three-year-old “China Initiative,” which had been set up to curtail unwanted foreign influence in American society, including on college campuses. The counter-espionage effort looked not only at China, but also Iran and Russia. The federal government lost recent court cases based on the conclusion the program used racial profiling to target Chinese Americans on campus and throughout American society. Counter-espionage and other intelligence work against unwanted foreign influence will now continue under a reorganized DOJ initiative.
  • A reminder regarding the April 4 deadline for applying for the final tranche of COVID HEERF funds (Supplemental Support under American Rescue Plan). Higher education institutions located in rural settings that serve a high percentage of low-income students and experienced an enrollment decline are eligible, according to the following definitions: (a) 50 percent or more of degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students enrolled in Fall 2019 were Pell Grant recipients; (b) a 4.5 percent or greater decline in student enrollment from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020; and (c) a delineation of Town-Fringe, Town-Distant, Town-Remote, Rural Fringe, Rural-Distant, or Rural-Remote as defined by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. Please contact if you have questions about your institution’s eligibility under the rural definition.
  • The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) held its regularly scheduled biannual meeting this week. NACIQI reviews accrediting agencies and provides recommendations to the Department of Education regarding whether to renew the recognition of existing accreditors or approve new applications. Although NACIQI often addresses contentious issues regarding accreditation, the most recent meeting was fairly noncontroversial.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is seeking authorization from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to make a change to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collection that could include the collection of additional information. Current authorization expires August 31, 2022, and NCES is requesting a new clearance for the 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25 data collections.

"Passing Pell took tenacity. It took patience. It took passionate advocates—from students to community college presidents, from an aristocratic Rhode Island Senator to a dogged Black female College Board executive—to achieve. When you consider how many Pell recipients have gone on to shape so many other lives—as doctors, lawyers, and artists, as engineers and public servants—as college presidents—the true impact of Pell is incalculable."
  • Ambassador Susan Rice while accepting NAICU’s 2022 Award for Advocacy for Independent Higher Education given posthumously to her mother, Lois Dickson Rice.
Thank you for your continued engagement with us as we work together to advocate on the issues critical to the private, nonprofit college and university community.



Barbara K. Mistick, D.M.
President, NAICU

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