NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

July 22, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

As a heatwave consumed Washington, DC (and much of the rest of the country) this week, legislative and regulatory action has also heated up as policymakers look to get as much accomplished as they can prior to their August break. This week we saw significant regulatory moves from the Biden Administration and the courts and important appropriations action on Capitol Hill.

I am pleased to provide a positive update on the story we reported on last week about the final tranche of HEERF funding. As we wrote, the Department of Education awarded $198 million to 244 colleges and universities. Overall, 34% of the 244 institutions receiving funds are private, nonprofit colleges. 

The two priority award areas which help private colleges the most are rural institutions with a high percentage of low-income students and declining enrollment, and those institutions that have primarily graduate students. NAICU was a vocal advocate working to ensure these institutions, as well as those that were underfunded in previous HEERF allocations, were included in this final round of pandemic relief.

In other news, last week, the Department also released the first of many upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRMs) related to its recent negotiated rulemaking committee sessions. This NPRM covered multiple topics that were discussed in the Affordability and Student Loans Committee in the fall of 2021. NAICU has prepared a summary of the NPRM and is planning to submit comments to the Department. You can find the summary and more details on this and several other stories we’re following in today’s Washington Update.


  • The House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs are continuing their work on a package of education bills, including a fix for the 85/15 problems colleges and universities are having. NAICU supports this effort and is advocating for Congress to pass legislation before the August recess. If you have not already weighed in with your congressional delegation in support of this effort, please do so soon. NAICU’s Action Alert, sent on June 27, has talking points and a sample letter to help tailor communications to policy makers.
  • NAICU met with the Office of Management and Budget this week to advocate for private, nonprofit higher education in the next set of proposed regulations expected to emerge from the Department of Education. The focus during the discussion was on proposals from the most recent negotiated rulemaking session in which the Department proposed to change the definition of a private, nonprofit institution to include oversight of revenue sharing agreements and use of net earnings on private entities. Also joining the meeting were officials from the Department of Education, including the Office of General Counsel. It is expected that the next NPRM will be released soon.
  • On July 15, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, renewed the declaration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The emergency declaration has been renewed quarterly since January 27, 2020. HHS guidance to governors reminds them that the agency will provide states with 60 days’ notice prior to the termination of the public health emergency declaration for COVID-19.
  • Earlier this week, NAICU attended a stakeholder meeting held by the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s transition to a new three-digit hotline number. The new number is 988. The transition from a ten-digit number to 988 occurred on July 16, though the 10-digit number will continue to operate indefinitely. To aid in outreach about the transition, the Department has provided a 988 Partner Toolkit that institutions can use to introduce this new resource to campus communities.

Double Pell

“Funding Pell Grants is an investment in the future of our nation and our citizens, as well as an effective and proven way to break the cycle of generational poverty. Federal policymakers recognize the value of Pell, and bipartisan support is increasing in Congress for significantly increasing the maximum grant, particularly as the pandemic made clear the serious need for additional grant aid for students furthest from opportunity to stay in school and complete their college degrees.”

Adriana Villafan and Craig Leuthold from their op-ed published last week in the Yakima (WA) Herald-Republic. Villafan, who was featured in NAICU’s 2021 national community impact report, is a graduate of Heritage University and directs the TRIO program at her alma mater. Leuthold, a graduate of Washington State University, owns Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, WA.

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

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