NAICU Washington Update

Introduction by Barbara K. Mistick

September 29, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

As I write this, Tropical Storm Ian is still moving through Florida and headed toward the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas where it may once again gather steam and reform as a hurricane.

I know the past days and weeks have been extremely trying for residents of Puerto Rico and now Florida and others along Ian’s path. I am sending my strongest thoughts and prayers to all who have been affected by these storms, especially your students and campus communities. Just as you all were beginning to settle into your academic year, along comes this incredible weather and health crisis. I have seen your resiliency in overcoming previous disasters and stand with you as you navigate the difficult days and weeks ahead.

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. Governors in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia have already declared states of emergency, the first step in being eligible to receive federal assistance under the Stafford Act.

Here in Washington, President Biden’s loan forgiveness proposal is facing its first set of legal challenges and, as of Thursday afternoon, Congress is expected to avoid a government shut down by reaching an agreement on a Continuing Resolution.  You can read more about these issues, as well as a reminder about the next deadline for filing HEERF quarterly reports, the Department of Education’s national educational technology plan, and new data from FSA on the student loan portfolio in today’s Washington Update.

  • The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, in the midst of its 51st annual legislative conference, featured a session on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) led by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC). During this session, NAICU members Roslyn Artis, J.D., Ed.D., president of Benedict College, and Suzanne Walsh, J.D., president of Bennett College, participated on a panel with other HBCU presidents to discuss the bomb threats and needed funding to enhance the infrastructure on HBCU campuses. In particular, the HBCU IGNITE Act was discussed as the best means to address HBCU infrastructure needs. 
  • The Department of Education has invited several higher education stakeholders, including NAICU, to a listening session on October 4 to receive input regarding the Department’s regulations addressing racial and national origin discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. As previously reported, the Biden Administration is planning to amend the Title VI regulations to better address discrimination against students based on actual or perceived (1) shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics or (2) citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity.
#DoublePell logo

“Building off President Biden’s actions, this legislation would lower the cost of college for students and families by doubling the Pell Grant, improving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, lowering interest rates, and making other critical reforms to streamline our student loan system.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, in a statement introducing the LOAN Act he sponsored with Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) earlier this month.

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