NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

May 27, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

The shooting that tragically took the lives of 19 young students and two of their teachers this week at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX is yet another reminder of how precious every life is. I know how very hard each of you works to create a safe environment on your campus. These senseless acts of violence have disrupted all of what we hold as sacred. Universally, we believe that students should find in school a place that allows them to become life-long learners not a place to see their journeys needlessly cut short.

I have been heartened, but also saddened, to see on social media and elsewhere that students around the country, from elementary through high school, have been making their voices heard on the issues they believe will impact their safety and their own educational journeys. These are difficult times that require difficult conversations. And, for our colleagues Texas, these are especially painful conversations right now.

As we get set to celebrate Memorial Day, let this be a reminder to take this opportunity to reflect on all that makes America a symbol of hope and freedom. While we grieve for the families and friends of those killed this week in Uvalde, let us too honor the many men and women in the armed services who have sacrificed their lives so we could have a better nation. Let their service and tremendous sacrifice be a guide as our nation navigates these challenging times. It is because of their sacrifice that we are even able to have the conversations we are having now and will need to continue having in the days and weeks ahead.

In the midst of all this, there were several developments in Washington that could impact higher education covered in today’s Washington Update.

I have written to you many times about the importance of the two different negotiated rulemaking sessions the Department of Education held this academic year (one last fall and one this past winter). With Congress at a partisan impasse, the Executive Branch becomes the engine for policy change through the regulatory process. This is certainly the situation for higher education, where most change during the past decade has come through new regulation and not new law.

Fortunately, under the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Department of Education must convene a public negotiation with stakeholders before it formulates proposed regulations related to Title IV (the student aid programs), and fortunately for private, nonprofit colleges and universities, the HEA requires the Department to give our sector a seat at the table. While that seat is not always given to NAICU (more often to a campus official from a private college), NAICU is always actively engaged in every step of the negotiations and in supporting the chosen negotiators for our sector.

We are now at the point in the process where all negotiated rulemaking sessions have concluded, and the Department is preparing its proposed regulations for public comment in the Federal Register. We remain in active dialogue with the Department on those proposed regulations but also anticipate needing your help once the proposed rules come out. The number of public comments have a deep impact on the final regulations, and we will need your engagement in the process to ensure the final regulations are as effective and efficient as possible for our sector and students.

To give you a head start on the next phase of the regulatory process, NAICU has prepared summaries on the seven key issues on which we think your campus needs to be most ready to provide comments to the Department (Adequate Procedures for Validating High School Diplomas, Career Services Expansion, Definition of a Non-Profit Institution, Financial Responsibility, Gainful Employment, NC-SARA, and State Licensing Requirements).

We are fortunate that NAICU’s Director of Student and Institutional Aid, Emmanual Guillory, was named a formal negotiator for the recent sessions and continues to be actively engaged in discussions on the proposed rules. We are indebted to Emmanual for preparing these issue papers and hope you will share them on campus and let Emmanual know of any concerns you may have by emailing him at

Finally, I’d like to thank those of you completed our veterans survey, which is allowing us to gain a better understanding of how the Department of Veterans Affairs’ reset of the 35 percent waiver and 85/15 rules will impact your campuses and your veteran students. We had a tremendous response and are going through the data now. From our preliminary review, the findings will be very helpful in our conversations going forward.


  • The Department of Education announced that the proposed Title IX campus sexual assault rules will be issued in June. Originally set for release in April, the rules are expected to revise requirements governing the hearing process and to address issues affecting LGBTQ students.
  • The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions voted to advance the nomination of Nasser Paydar to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department of Education. Paydar now awaits confirmation by the full Senate. Paydar is chancellor emeritus of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.
  • The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a broad coalition of more than 100 education associations that work together to increase the federal investment in education, held its annual briefing for advocates and Capitol Hill staff this week in conjunction with its release of its federal budget book. I want to thank NAICU member Hakim J. Lucas, President of Virginia Union University, who participated as a panelist and did a fantastic job representing the higher education community, especially our Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is a great example of a NAICU president who serves with passion and continued excellence in making our community better and more informed.

Double Pell

Did You Know?

The Basic Educational Opportunity Grant (now the Pell Grant) was part of the 1972 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on June 23, 1972.

Next month will mark the 50th anniversary of the Pell Grant. I hope you will take this opportunity to seek ways to highlight the value of the Pell Grant program to your students and institution and to advocate for doubling the maximum award to $13,000. Leading into this anniversary month, we continue to see incredibly encouraging signs of momentum and support for doubling Pell.

So please, use our tools and resources and talking points to write letters to Congress and op-eds or to draft social media content. And, plan ahead. For instance, I know that our colleagues in Washington State are planning a “Pell Week” for the week of June 19 to highlight the importance of Pell.

We are also working with the Double Pell Alliance to create specific outreach tools and messages for the anniversary celebration, so stay tuned for that content to arrive soon.

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

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