The steady stream of news emerging from the nation’s capital can be overwhelming. NACUBO highlights key actions and provides the status of top higher education business concerns.
On the Hill
House Passes Additional Coronavirus Relief Bill
The House of Representatives has passed a fourth major coronavirus relief bill, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The bill contains roughly $90 billion for K-12 and postsecondary public education through grants made to individual states, roughly $7 billion in additional support for private higher education, and a number of additional elements for HBCUs, MSIs, and other postsecondary programs. This bill is not expected to be passed in the Senate and does not have the support of congressional Republicans. The higher education community wrote to House Democratic leadership in support of the additional funding for higher education.
ED Provides Additional Regulatory Flexibilities
On May 15, the Department of Education published guidance expanding on the flexibilities provided in previous announcements. Items of interest to business officers include compliance audit deadlines, Return to Title IV procedures, the impact of Paycheck Protection Program funds on composite scores, and guidance on distance education, among others.
IRS Adds Guidance on Mispayments to International Students
The IRS, in question 11 of its most recent FAQ guidance, has addressed the concerns of some international students who erroneously received economic stimulus payments from the Treasury Department following passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Administrators may instruct international students who received a payment in error to follow the guidance given to return the funds.
Distance Ed Authorizer Votes to Keep Financial Responsibility Measure
At its recent board meeting, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) voted to continue using financial responsibility composite scores to evaluate institutional eligibility for membership. Some members of the higher education community had sought a suspension of the standard due to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and the unprecedented move to distance education. All states other than California participate in NC-SARA, and institutional membership allows participating schools to offer distance education to students who live in another state.
NACUBO Supports Legislation to Improve Student Tax Credits
NACUBO signed a higher education community letter in support of legislation that would overhaul the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) and provide temporary changes to assist students impacted by COVID-19. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, would temporarily increase the AOTC’s $2,000 cap to $3,000. In the long term, it would consolidate the AOTC and LLC into a single tax credit that would provide up to $2,500 in tax relief to students and their families, increase the amount that can be refunded, and change how eligibility is measured.
AICPA Clarifies PPP Audit Guidance, and NACUBO comments to FASB and GASB
On May 5, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Governmental Audit Quality Center clarified in Alert 404 that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans obtained by not-for-profit entities will not be subject to Uniform Guidance single audit requirements. Over the past month, NACUBO has submitted comments to both the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) supporting proposals that delay implementation dates for major accounting standards, such as leases, until FY21. NACUBO also asked FASB to delay the effective date for private institutions without conduit or public debt by one year for revenue recognition under Topic 606 and conditional grants and contributions under Topic 605. Finally, NACUBO commented and was in general agreement with GASB over its proposal to modify how the board evaluates essential information for inclusion in notes to the financial statements.
NACUBO Endorses Broadband Connectivity Support Legislation
NACUBO has endorsed new legislation, the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act, which provides $1 billion to colleges and universities to pay for at-home internet connections for students with low income. The bill, led by Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the House and Senate, respectively, prioritizes funding for minority serving institutions and requires that institutions prioritize students with demonstrated need. Funds could be used to pay for routers, modems, wifi hotspots, tablets, or laptops, and monthly broadband service for eligible students.
Stay Informed with Telephone Town Halls
Hear the latest from Washington during NACUBO’s weekly Telephone Town Halls. In these 30-minute calls, NACUBO experts break down complex federal guidance, update you on what’s happening in Congress, respond to member questions, and more.
What Did I Miss in Washington? April 21-May 5, 2020