NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

February 04, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

I cannot begin my weekly thoughts without first mentioning the tragedy at Bridgewater College (VA), where two beloved campus security officials were senselessly killed, and the numerous threats this past week directed at our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and at least one faith-based institution. As we all continue to work through the various pressures of daily life augmented by the relentless pandemic, this week’s stories still have the capacity to stop us cold in our tracks.

But as always, I am inspired by the resiliency of our colleagues and how those among us can inspire us. Zachary Faison, President of Edward Waters University (FL), represented so many of those I heard from when he wrote to me: “This is indeed a tough and rather harrowing time for our students and collective campus family but we are remaining positive, encouraged and steadfast in our commitment as a community of hope and love for all.” Or as the choir director at Bridgewater told his students: “We come together as one.”

This Sunday, we kick off the 2022 NAICU Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day, Coming Together With Purpose, with that same sentiment in mind. As our first in-person meeting in two years, I am looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces, discussing timely policy topics, and advocating for the private, nonprofit sector and our students. The week ahead together will draw great comfort and strength from our common purpose.

As we make our last minute preparations for the conference, there are also a few important policy developments to share. Yesterday, the Department of Education announced applications for the last tranche of HEERF funds, providing $198 million from the Supplemental Support under American Rescue Plan (SSARP). If your institution missed out on previous funding because of administrative or technical issues, or is one of several types of institutions targeted in the final grant competition, you will want to read our article below.

We also have a story on the House consideration of the America COMPETES Act that aims to lessen adverse foreign influence on campus while also investing in research, innovation, manufacturing and technology.


  • Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona laid out his vision for broader investments in America's education system to ensure all students can succeed and thrive. The wide-ranging address focused on key strategies the Education Department can deploy to help students, educators, and school communities – continue to recover from the pandemic and address inequities that exist in the education system. On higher education, he specifically called for providing targeted loan relief to student borrowers, holding colleges and universities accountable for taking advantage of borrowers, ensuring borrowers have loan payment options that reflect their economic circumstances, making long term improvements to programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and creating a strong Gainful Employment Rule. A summary of the address can be found on the Education Department’s website.
  • Last month, we informed you that the Department of Education is accepting applications for institutions that are applying to be designated as a Minority-Serving Institution. The application deadline has been extended from January 21st to February 18th.
  • The Education Department is seeking nominations for appointment to serve on the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). Nominees should be individuals who are broadly knowledgeable about foreign medical education and accreditation. NCFMEA evaluates the standards of accreditation applied to foreign medical schools and determines comparability of standards to those applied to medical schools in the United States. Nominations must be received by February 18, 2022. You can find the announcement in the Federal Register Notice here.

Double Pell

Pell Grants are the foundation of our national investment in higher education. Each year, they allow more than seven million low- and middle-income students — including nearly 60 percent of Black undergraduates and almost half of Latino undergraduates — to attend and complete college.

- Double Pell Alliance letter sent to Congress this week and co-signed by 187 organizations

The Double Pell Alliance sent a letter to Congress this week requesting it work towards doubling the Pell Grant maximum award as it finalizes FY 2022 funding bills. The letter was signed by 187 organizations, representing the broad spectrum of higher education and student advocates. Thank you to the state associations and NAICU Secretariat associations that signed the letter. 

I look forward to seeing many of you next week in Washington at our 2022 Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day. Thank you for your continued engagement with us on these issues important to so many across our sector.

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