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SA Weekly: February 3

Student Success Policy and Advocacy Public Policy Division
February 3, 2020 Maya Ward-Fineman NASPA

Welcome to SA Weekly, your destination for higher ed news, NASPA research and policy, constituent blogs, and more.

Increased Legal Scrutiny for Sexual Assault Policies “A federal appeals court's decision in California puts pressure on institutions to ensure Title IX policies and procedures effectively prevent sexual misconduct.”

Education Dept. Unveils Fix For Student Loan Program's 'Bureaucratic Nightmare' “In its first year, the forgiveness program turned away 71% of borrowers because of a paperwork technicality. Now, the department says it's fixing that roadblock.”

Virginia's Fight Over Online Ed “Governor has proposed ending tuition assistance for students who take classes online, drawing intense criticism from Liberty University and its president, Jerry Falwell Jr.”

A Call for More Aid, and More Accountability “A panel including lawmakers involved in Congress's last renewal of the Higher Education Act says that law is now obsolete, recommending a series of changes.”

Senators To CFPB: Why Are You Still Failing To Protect Student Loan Borrowers? “Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the director of the nation's top consumer watchdog agency demanding that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau do its job supervising the student loan system.”

Coronavirus Hits China Exchange Programs “Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, colleges are suspending travel to China, a popular destination for faculty and students and a country where many colleges have deep connections.”

Debating Student Shout Downs “A committee at Georgetown University law school is re-evaluating its policies on student protests after a demonstration prevented a speaker's speech. Some law students believe the move will chill free speech.”

Early Decision Is Down “And early action is flat, according to numbers from Naviance. Black and Latino applicants are less likely to apply early than are Asians and whites. Common App figures point to fears about this year's totals.”


Policy Update

AACRAO Veterans Reporting & Support Report

NASPA endorses the recommendations of the AACRAO Veterans Reporting and Support Work Group, as published in their report: “[T]he Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to partner with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) for outcome data. With over 97% of [institutions of higher education] submitting enrollment and degree data to the NSC, it would seem logical and effective to leverage that process to fulfill the VA outcome reporting mandate. While enrollment reporting to the VA is far more challenging given the nuances and regulatory mandates, the outcome data reporting is far simpler.” 

Hoops and Hurdles of Financial Aid, Part II by Alexa Wesley, Associate Director for Research and Policy

Hill Days Participant Reflection, The Power of a Single Voice by Lauren Reliford, NASPA Hill Days Intern

Relevant Bills

Supreme Court Stay of Nationwide Court Injunctions on Public Charge

The Supreme Court issued a stay on a preliminary court injunction filed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Public Charge rule to go into effect. Public Charge may restrict access to obtain a green card for certain immigrations pursuing a pathway to citizenship. The rule is expected to impact those receiving certain public benefits and their families. Justice Gorsuch along with Justice Thomas issued an opinion at the time questioning the right of the lower Circuit to issue nation-wide injunctions at all, which may indicate future deliberation on the matter. Public Charge is scheduled for implementation by USCIS on February 24, 2020, in all states except for Illinois where a statewide court injunction still stands. For more on Public Charge and the impacts for student affairs, consider revisiting “Public Charge Presents Challenge for SA Professionals Addressing Student Food and Housing Insecurity.”

State Policy Issue Spotlight: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

Still, no word on an exact release of Title IX after the final rule made its way to the Office of Management and Budget last November, marking the final stage before its release to the Federal Register. Currently, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has meetings scheduled with advocacy groups through mid-February. A final rule is expected to be released by March 2020.

In the meantime, state legislative sessions have been ramping up through the month of January, and multiple states have (re)introduced new legislation, and moved to implement enacted measures, pertaining to sexual assault prevention and response on campus. Examples include reintroduced affirmative consent policy, Missouri House Bill 1582, or the “Enough is Enough Act,” and Hawaii congressional resolutions (SCR6SR7) that work to examine any necessary changes to existing state law in light of the impending final rule. Texas has moved to implement Senate Bill 212, which requires campus employees to report incidents of sexual violence to a Title IX investigator, with the risk of violation resulting in a misdemeanor. Jill Dunlap examines the impacts in “Raising the Stakes on Title IX Compliance.

NASPA is tracking higher education state legislation across the regions, including, but not limited by, the areas of the impact regarding free speech, hazing, sexual assault prevention and response, undocumented students, trans and gender non-binary students, and student borrowers and loan servicer accountability. If you are interested in having the team cover a policy or topic of interest to you, please reach out to Teri Lyn Hinds and Diana Ali.

Relevant Regulations

Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Application and Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Notice by the Department of Education, January 30, 2020

Open Comment Period Ends on March 30, 2020

Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments


Around NASPA

2019-2020 NASPA Annual Award Winners

Engaging Student Governments in Public Policy Efforts by Brett Bruner, Public Policy Division