NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

January 28, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

In just over a week, NAICU’s 2022 Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day will kick off here in Washington, DC for the first time in two years. Our theme this year, Coming Together with Purpose, captures the moment of time we’re living and working in. The simple act of coming together, I know, is exciting for many but still carries concerns for others. I am looking forward to seeing so many familiar faces and meeting new members. 

We also have an important purpose. The purpose of carrying our messages about the importance of private, nonprofit higher education and the students and communities we serve to our elected leaders. The purpose of coming together to hear from and engage with policy experts and higher education leaders to learn about the issues, challenges, legislative proposals and ideas that will shape the future of higher education. The purpose of advocating for doubling the Pell Grant and supporting other financial aid programs for our students and thanking Congress for including us in all three pandemic relief bills during the past two years.

It’s not too late to register. Our program this year is our most diverse and the issues we’re tackling will have an enormous impact on your students and campus. Of course, we will be closely monitoring all local and federal health and safety guidelines. We are requiring proof of vaccination for all meeting participants. You can view our complete health and safety protocols on our conference page.

This week’s Washington Update includes stories on the recent announcement from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration that the agency is withdrawing an emergency temporary standard establishing a vaccine or testing mandate for large employers, an update on two Supreme Court actions that affect higher education, and legislation that would impact investments in research, innovation, and technology while protecting against adverse foreign influence.

  • NAICU joined 109 other groups representing a wide range of employers from the business, education, and non-profit communities in a letter to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh asking the Biden Administration to hold a stakeholder meeting regarding anticipated changes to the “white collar” salary level exemptions to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule. NAICU was actively engaged in pushing back against DOL’s efforts during the Obama Administration to more than double the salary threshold for overtime pay, but supports incremental and reasonable adjustments. We’ll continue to monitor this newest development. Rumors are the DOL is preparing to propose new salary thresholds this spring.

Double Pell

“The Pell Grant has allowed me to focus on continuing my education without a huge financial burden. Doubling Pell would allow me to continue and complete my goal of earning my B.A. without the worry of choosing between college and being able to support my family.”

Deliana Gomez, Student, Mercy College, NY

As student voices like Deliana’s continue to come in and you continue to write op-eds and add your perspectives to the Double Pell campaign, I’m also excited and energized by the work happening on your campuses and in your states. 

Just this week, higher education leaders from Tennessee, representing private, nonprofit and public two- and four-year colleges and universities sent a letter to their state’s congressional delegation urging them to support “doubling the maximum Pell Grant and permanently indexing the grant to inflation to ensure that its value will no longer diminish over time.”

I also recently became aware of a Double Pell roundtable discussion that Briar Cliff University in Iowa hosted last fall with five other colleges and universities to encourage their elected leaders to support increasing the maximum Pell Grant award. 

Our momentum continues! We will also have several sessions at our annual meeting that touch on the Pell Grant, including a dinner celebrating the grant’s upcoming 50th anniversary. 

I look forward to seeing you at our 2022 Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day, February 6-9 in Washington, DC.

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