NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

October 06, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

Since last week, President Biden has visited Puerto Rico and Florida to survey the extensive damage caused by the two recent hurricanes and discuss and strategize with local leaders the way forward to begin rebuilding.  I know that our colleagues there, as well as in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and along the east coast, are still very much struggling with the hurricane aftermath.

We continue to stand with you and pray for a return to a campus environment as close to normal as possible as quickly and safely as possible.  Again, as a reminder, in states and counties where a federal natural disaster has been proclaimed, there may be federal assistance available. FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides supplemental grants to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and certain types of private, nonprofits, including private, nonprofit colleges and universities. More information is available on the NAICU website.

Here in Washington, the act of withholding transcripts from students who owe money to an institution is making headlines. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report this week that found that institutions had violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act by withholding the official transcripts of students who owe money as a blanket policy. As a result, the CFPB is prohibiting institutions from withholding transcripts from students who were extended credit by the institution as a means to retrieve payment.

This week’s Washington Update has more on the transcript story as well as details on new Title IX guidance released by the Biden Administration that reminds institutions of the prohibition against excluding students or employees from educational programs or activities based on pregnancy or related conditions and reiterates the obligation to treat pregnancy or a related condition the same as any other temporary disability.

  • The Department of Education has begun notifying colleges and universities of their official FY2019 cohort default rates (CDRs). Institutions will be able to appeal their official CDRs beginning on October 10.  Given the various types of appeals, an institution must use the electronic CDR appeals system for loan servicing appeals, uncorrected data adjustments, or new data adjustments. All other appeal types must be sent to
  • Institutions of higher education are eligible for competitive grants to support and demonstrate innovative partnerships to train school-based mental health services providers for employment in K-12 schools. The Department of Education recently announced final priorities and requirements for the program, which is designed to address the shortage of mental health professionals in K-12 schools.
  • In its ongoing effort to protect student loan borrowers from scammers, the Department of Education is launching an all-of-government scam prevention effort.  The wide-ranging initiative will be coordinated across the Department, the FTC, and the CFPB to target scammers in close coordination with state banking regulators, licensing bodies, Secretaries of State, and more. The Department is also launching coordinated outreach and education campaigns to help borrowers spot scams. Beyond its existing FSA resource page on scams, the Administration has two new resources to help prevent scams: a dos and don’ts primer and a White House fact sheet.
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“But I just want to say a minute about small towns because and also about the power of the Pell Grant. I was the first in my family to go to college. And I went solely on need-based financial aid, a few scholarships, you know, like the Kiwanis, you know, gave me a couple hundred bucks.  Well, I had really good teachers, and all my friends were going (to college), and I was, like, none of them are smarter than me. And then I had this guidance counselor that told me there was this thing called the Pell Grant, which many years later, I would learn the story about how the Pell Grant came to be …”

Beth Macy, journalist and author of “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” during an interview on the Axe Files with David Axelrod podcast.

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