NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

June 03, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

With Congress gone for a Memorial Day break, this has been a quiet week on the policy front in Washington. However, we have been working on several longer-term projects, including determining next steps on addressing the concerns over the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reset of the 85/15 waiver and preparing for the 50th Anniversary of the Pell Grant program on June 23, 2022.

Several weeks ago, I sent you a survey on the effects of the 85/15 rule on the ability of your institution to serve veterans. I am so appreciative that, despite its length, 345 member institutions completed the survey. Here are several of the key findings:

  • 99% of institutions serve veterans
  • 89% participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • 35% say the new 85/15 rules “reset” will restrict access to programs that have been popular with veterans
  • 54% have submitted their 85/15 “reset” report that is due June 30 to the VA and just over half of this group (55%) have already heard back from the agency
    • Of the 55% who have heard back from the VA, 21% have programs deemed ineligible for veteran enrollment

These findings have given us an excellent base to plan our policy and advocacy efforts and congressional staff have already expressed an interest in our results. During the summer, you will hear more about our next steps on these issues.


  • The Department of Education announced that it would forgive the loans of 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges Inc. through borrower defense to repayment. The forgiveness amount totals $5.8 billion in full loan discharges, resulting in the largest single loan discharge in history for the Department. Corinthian Colleges Inc. was the owner of multiple proprietary institutions and was found by the Department to have defrauded students in 2015, ultimately resulting in its downfall. With this act by the Department, the total amount of forgiveness across all forgiveness programs will amount to $25 billion for 1.3 million borrowers.

I am writing this week from Rome, where I am participating in the Rome Seminar hosted by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). I have had the privilege to join with college and university leaders from the U.S. and Canada to participate in energizing and enlightening conversations around institutional missions and to reflect on the importance of international education worldwide. My thanks to ACCU president Fr. Dennis Holtschneider for inviting me and hosting such an impactful seminar.

Double Pell

“In order to support giving kids a shot at their dreams, helping our economy, and filling those college graduate positions, let’s find the best means of helping them on their way, by doubling the Pell Grants.”

John A. Tures, professor of political science at LaGrange College (GA), in a recent column in the Savannah Morning News.

We are just a few short weeks away from the 50th anniversary of the Pell Grant program. I have been excited to see some of the efforts underway to highlight the occasion around the country. Last week I mentioned the planning and work being done in Washington State. I know that several NAICU colleagues will be presenting to the communications teams of our member institutions in Maryland next week. If you are making plans to mark the anniversary, please let us know so we can follow and highlight your efforts.

Nationally, NPR just launched an online effort to collect stories from Pell Grant recipients about what the federal aid has meant in their lives. It’s a very brief form that I hope you will consider sending to students, alumni, and your faculty and administration. It would be terrific to have a significant showing of submissions from our sector.

Next week you will be receiving additional information and updates from us about the campaign’s efforts for the stretch run and how you can help.

Barbara K. Mistick, D.M.
President, NAICU</em

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