NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

April 06, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

I know the war in Ukraine still weighs heavily on your minds and those of your students, faculty, and campus community. The impacts of the war are wide-ranging, including directly affecting students and campus programs.

This week, NAICU participated in a listening session held by the Department of State’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs, Ethan Rosenzweig. The session was held to provide an opportunity for U.S. higher education associations to share thoughts and concerns with the State Department on issues related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the impact on our institutions’ international exchanges and academic collaboration with the regions. While all U.S. students who were on exchange or in other international study programs in Russia and Ukraine have safely returned to the U.S., the State Department continues to work to support both Russian and Ukrainian students studying in the U.S.

I remain hopeful for an end to the hostilities and pray for a peaceful resolution to the war.

In other higher education policy news, this week’s lead Washington Update story breaks down the far-reaching impacts of the work of the negotiated rulemaking committee that was focused on institutional accountability. Of the seven broad topics considered, each of which had several underlying issues to be negotiated, consensus was reached on just two. In addition to the Washington Update story, we created a more detailed summary that highlights where consensus was and was not reached.


  • President Biden nominated Nasser Paydar to be the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, a role currently being filled on an acting basis by Michelle Asha Cooper, who is also the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs. Paydar is chancellor emeritus of Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and executive vice president of Indiana University. Before moving into IUPUI’s administration, Paydar was a faculty member in the mechanical engineering department. 
  • In an effort to extend the student loan payment pause beyond May 1, 2022, more Members of Congress are urging the Biden Administration to take action. This week, over 40 House Democrats sent a letter urging the President to extend the student loan payment pause. Previous statements of support included those by Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. 
  • A reminder that NAICU maintains a set of policy briefs on over 40 issues we are covering that impact higher education. These are excellent summaries that provide an overview and history of each issue, tools, resources, and news coverage germane to the topic, and lists things you can do to stay current and help advocate for the sector.

Double Pell

“(Doubling Pell) would make my future more bright and exciting (with fewer student loans) and my present happier by playing the sport (lacrosse) I love.”

Trinity Stryer, student at Guilford College, NC

The #DoublePell campaign continues to have a positive impact on campuses and in Washington. Nearly 20,000 letters have been sent to policy makers on Capitol Hill, urging them to double the Pell Grant max. Additionally, 110 students have submitted stories through the website lending their important voices to the campaign. Our polling also shows strong backing for doubling Pell and we continue to see leaders in Washington voice their support increasing the maximum grant. Let’s keep the momentum going!

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