January 2023
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Registration is open for the
2023 WPI HBCU & Small College Forum

Another Round of Rulemaking in the Works. The Department of Education (Department) will hold negotiated rulemaking committee discussions on accreditation, state authorization, return to Title IV, cash management, third-party servicers, deferments and forbearances, and distance education this spring. The Office of Management and Budget updates the status of legislation recently adopted or under consideration by the Department on their web page


The Comment Period for the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan expires in February. The proposed regulatory update would lower monthly payments to zero for any individual borrower earning less than about $30,600 per year or any borrower in a family of four who makes less than about $62,400. It would halve monthly payments on undergraduate loans for borrowers who do not fall into one of those zero payment categories. In addition, it would prevent the adding of unpaid interest back to loan balances. The Department intends to publish the final rule in the Federal Register and begin implementing it later this year. 


Higher Education Gets a Boost. The latest federal spending bill signed by President Biden increased the Pell Grant, provided funding to improve research infrastructure and capability at HBCUs, MSIs and tribal colleges, and build a new hospital at Howard University. It also included earmarks for over 500 projects related to higher education.


Credit Ratings Agencies Report Mixed Outlook for Sector. Bond rating agencies anticipate a difficult year ahead for higher education, which may be particularly hard on smaller tuition-dependent institutions. Fiscal pressures include rising costs, enrollment challenges, and labor shortages. Analysts suggest administrators revisit their plans to address financial crises. 


Public Institutions Eye Budget Surpluses. Most states started 2023 with a surplus. Although several governors included increased funding for higher education in their budget proposals, legislators may prefer tax cuts.


Court Upholds Title IX Religious Exemption. US District Judge Ann Aiken dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the exemption of faith-based colleges and universities from Title IX regulations. Plaintiffs had alleged the exemption was unconstitutional. 


Mass Layoffs in the Technology Sector. The tech industry responded to the racial unrest following the death of George Floyd by launching diversity initiatives, setting up grants, and establishing partnerships with HBCUs. After expanding rapidly during the pandemic, it is now contracting.  Despite accounts of massive layoffs, there are some indications companies will continue to partner with HBCUs. However, the strength of those commitments remains unclear. 


Advocacy Group finds Department of Education Garnished Wages During Pandemic. Despite the provisions and waivers of the CARES Act, federal student loan servicers continued to garnish wages during the pandemic, according to a report released by the Student Borrower Protection Center.


The Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education (Department). The suit accuses the Department of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of good faith and illegal taking of funds. CEHE claims the Department deliberately caused it to close by placing it on Heightened Cash Monitoring 2, requiring a letter of credit, and jeopardizing its accreditation. 


College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) released a report that warns the sector is in danger of losing a significant portion of administrators, professionals and nonexempt staff. Many of those surveyed indicated that they are overworked and are considering looking for employment elsewhere.


The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear a second case brought against President Biden’s federal student debt forgiveness program without lifting the injunction that is blocking it. SCOTUS will begin hearing Department of Education v. Brown and Biden v. Nebraska in February.


Institutions that Appealed the Sweet v. Cardona Settlement asked the court to stop the Department of Education from executing the terms of the settlement until after their appeal has been decided. Lincoln Educational Services, American National University, and Everglades College, Inc. filed a motion to stay just days before that option would have expired


Artificial Intelligence (AI) Challenges Established Academic Protocols as preview apps become widely available. ChatGPT, for example, can answer questions, develop code, create images, and write essays. Courts have ruled that AI cannot be listed as an inventor on a patent, but consensus on copyright, collective licensing and intellectual property right infringement has been elusive. Some faculty advocate embracing the technology while others are banning its use. 


Several Public Institutions have blocked WiFi access to popular apps created by companies based in China and Russia. In most cases, the applications can still be accessed on personal devices using cellular data. Banned programs include TikTok, WeChat, and Telegram. The federal government has a similar ban in place. 


Community Colleges have been slow to rebound from faculty and staff losses during the pandemic. The shortages impact course offerings, student support services, employee health, and access to individuals who possess historical institutional knowledge. A webinar focused on how to respond to these concerns was recently hosted by EAB and the League for Innovation in the Community College. You can watch the webinar on YouTube or read about it on the Inside Higher ED website.


Inflation Walloped Higher Education with year over year increases in utilities, supplies, materials, and salaries. The only categories tracked by the Commonfund Higher Education Price Index that did not show an increase over fiscal year 2021, was fringe benefits. Similar to the Consumer Price Index, the Commonfund Higher Education Price Index is used in the budgeting process.


The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights published guidance on compliance with Title IX rules prohibiting discrimination based on pregnancy and related matters. 


The Federal Trade Commission is moving to ban employers from requiring workers to sign noncompete agreements based on a finding that such arrangements violate Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The proposed rule would apply to paid and unpaid workers and both employees and independent contractors. It would also apply to non-disclosure agreements that are used as noncompete agreements. Comments on the proposed rule are open through March 10, 2023.


Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy recommended the Department of Labor (DOL) reassess its independent contractor rule in a letter published online. The Office of Advocacy found the DOL had underestimated the complexity of the rule, the cost of compliance, and the need for training. A brief overview can be read here


Unionization Continues to Spread Across Higher ED. Unions of graduate workers were formed at Yale University and at Northwestern University. A recent strike at the University of California upended classes, research, and other activities. Graduate workers at the University of Chicago will vote on unionization later this month.






Arkansas Baptist College named Dr. Calvin Jerome McFadden, Sr., president. He takes the reins from Ms. Regina Favors, who had served on an interim basis during the executive search.


Winston-Salem State University Chancellor Dr. Elwood L. Robinson announced his plans to retire at the end of June. Dr. Robinson was named chancellor in 2015 and has served in higher education for over 39 years. The university named Provost Anthony Graham the interim chancellor. 


Johnson C. Smith University President Clarence D. Armbrister, J.D., announced his retirement effective June 2023. President Armbrister has led the institution since 2018. He previously served in administrative positions at Temple University, Johns Hopkins University, the School District of Philadelphia and Girard College.


Florida A&M University has extended the contract of Dr. Larry Robinson for another year. Dr. Robinson has served as president since 2017. State regulations restrict contract extensions to 12 months. 


Texas Southern University announced the retirement of Dr. Dianne Jemison Pollard. Dr. Pollard was dean of the Thomas F. Freeman Honors College and a professor of theatre. She served at the university for 44 years.


Livingstone College announced Mr. Anthony Books will serve as vice president of enrollment management and Mr. Robert E. Bedford will serve as dean of students, housing, and residential life. 


North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T) named Dr. M. Ray McKinnie administrator and associate dean of Cooperative Extension. Dr. McKinnie most recently served as administrator and dean for the Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University. NCA&T also named Mr. Dominique Harrison director of undergraduate admissions. An NCA&T alumnus, Mr. Harrison recently served as director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions at Norfolk State University. 


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) appointed six HBCU presidents to its USDA/1890 Task Force. Dr. Paul Jones, Dr. Felicia Nave, Dr. Kent J. Smith, Dr. Makola Abdullah, Dr. Larry Robinson, and Dr. Jack Thomas will work with the USDA to create career opportunities for students.


Lincoln University (MO) named Dr. Douglas LaVergne dean of the College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences. Dr. LaVergne comes to the university from the Texas A&M University system where he served as associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.


The University of the West Indies appointed Ms. Sandrea Maynard, LLB (Hons) LLM, SFHEA, PgCHE pro vice-chancellor for global affairs. Ms. Maynard is a barrister-at-law who, in addition to practicing law internationally, has held leadership roles in academia.


Jackson State University (JSU) named Dr. Terrell Brown director of the master of social work program. Dr. Brown comes to the JSU School of Social Work from the College of Health Sciences where he is a tenured associate professor. The JSU School of Social Work also named Dr. Kristin Richards director of the bachelor of social work program. She hails from Future Energy Solutions where she served as an associate vice president.


Virginia Union University named Mr. Adisa Muse director of government relations. Mr. Muse has extensive experience working with local and state legislators and grassroots organizations. 


Talladega College named Dr. Gary Edwards vice president and dean of students. Dr. Edwards previously served at Edward Waters University and currently hails from Fisk University, where he was dean of students. 


Elizabeth City State University named Mr. Jamar Jones chief information officer. The university also named Alyn Goodson, J.D., chief of staff, expanding the responsibilities he currently has as vice chancellor and general counsel. 


Howard University named Dr. Oluwaranti Akiyode dean of the College of Pharmacy. Dr. Akiyode, a professor in the college, had been serving as interim dean. 


Dillard University named Ms. Stephanie Rogers executive vice president of institutional advancement and development. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Rogers served as chief advancement officer for Southern University at Shreveport.


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The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) received $190,000,000 from Fidelity Investments to establish the Fidelity Scholars Program. It is the largest philanthropic corporate gift the UNCF has received.


Defense Department and the Air Force selected Howard University to lead a University Affiliate Research Center (UARC) focused on developing autonomous tactual support systems. The center will be established through a five-year $90,000,000 contract agreement. Jackson State University, Hampton University, Tuskegee University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Florida Memorial University, Norfolk State University, and Tougaloo College will be part of the UARC. Howard University is the first HBCU to lead a UARC. 


Fisk University and the City of Nashville formed a public-private partnership to transform Burrus Hall into the Darrell S. Freeman Sr. Incubation and Innovation Center. The city’s financial oversight committee approved the use of the American Rescue Plan Act funds needed to begin renovation. The center is named for the late Darrell Freeman, founder of Zycron Inc.


Claflin University received a $17,417,000 grant to build a science and technology center. The funds were earmarked by Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) in in the omnibus appropriations bill.


Jackson State University announced it was allocated $4,000,000 in the latest omnibus appropriations bill to establish a center for supply chain management. The funds were earmarked by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).


Morris Brown College received $2,900,000 to support academic programs and restore the historic Fountain Hall. The funds were earmarked by Senators Ossoff and Warnock (D-GA) in the recent spending bill.


The Department of Education (Department) awarded Project School Emergency Response to Violence grants to North Carolina Central University, Philander Smith College, and Hampton University to support security, mental health, and other recovery efforts related to the bomb threats received last year.


Central State University announced it will provide free tuition scholarships for new first time freshmen from 15 high schools in four school districts.


The Department of Education announced Claflin University was awarded a $1,000,000 competitive grant to help students at risk of dropping or stopping out. The grant is part of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.


The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff received a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to lead a research team focused on food access and education for communities in the  Arkansas delta region. Aramark Corporation and Go Forward Pine Bluff will work with the university's interdisciplinary team..


Elizabeth City State University announced it has been selected to participate in the HBCU Transformation Initiative. The university received an initial investment of $606,000 to support enrollment management, student retention and completion, a chatbot program, search engine optimization, and a digital community platform for students and parents. The HBCU Transformation Initiative is led by Blue Meridian Partners in collaboration with the Partnership for Education Advancement, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the United Negro College Fund.


Norfolk State University received a $150,000 grant from the Virginia African American Cultural Center Tourism Corporation. The funds will support “Sold Down River: Making the Invisible, Visible,” a Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies project. The Sargeant Memorial Collection at Norfolk Public Libraries and the Roadstead Montessori High School are collaborating on the project, which will publish data related to the role the port of Norfolk played in the domestic slave trade.


Huston-Tillotson University received a $150,000 grant from Bank of America to continue its support for the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Training Program


Lincoln University (MO) received a $2,900,000 National Telecommunications and Information grant to upgrade its technology and improve its ability to offer remote instruction.


Philander Smith College received $2,000,000 grant from the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church to support expansion and upgrades to the Dr. Joycelyn Elders School of Allied and Public Health.


Jackson State University announced Billy Cummins, husband of the late Karen Cummins, established the Karen Cummins Memorial Endowment to provide scholarships. Ms. Cummins served on the board of the Institutions of Higher Learning, which governs the state’s public colleges and universities.






Selma, Alabama, home of Selma University, was devastated by a tornado earlier this month. However, the university was able to fulfill plans to host the Selma Links’ 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast.


A List of Top Black Higher ED CEOs included HBCU Presidents: Dr. Helene D. Gayle (Spelman College), Dr. Kevin James, (Morris Brown College), and Dr. David Kwabena Wilson, (Morgan State University). Published on the Forbes website, the list was compiled by Dr. Shaun R. Harper, who is a provost and professor at the University of Southern California.


The Mississippi Business Journal named Jackson State University President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., a 2023 Top CEO at an awards ceremony in Jackson, Mississippi.


Howard University partnered with Kaplan to provide students with free test preparation courses for graduate degree and professional licensing admission exams.


Jarvis Christian University launched a scholarship program for Dallas, Texas government employees who want to complete undergraduate degrees in business administration or criminal justice.


Livingstone College gave the inaugural cohort of students enrolled in its MBA program free laptops. The MBA program is the college’s first graduate degree program.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named Dr. Godfrey A. Uzochukwu chair of the Science Advisory Board Clean Air Status and Trends Network review panel. Dr. Uzochukwu is a professor at North Carolina A&T State University. The EPA also appointed Dr. Chantel Y. Simpson to serve on its Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee. Dr. Simpson is a professor at North Carolina A&T State University.


Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center honored four civil rights activists during its 28th Annual For My People Awards luncheon. The event was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Awardees included Mr. Charlie Cobb, Ms. Euvester Simpson, Dr. Tiyi Morris, and Ms. Angela Stewart.


The Association for Advancing quality in Educator Preparation Accreditation Commission has accredited the University of the Virgin Islands School of Education.


Morgan State University published an article on the success of academic programs that it launched over the past year, particularly those that are interdisciplinary and unique. 


In An Announcement, Winston-Salem State University congratulated faculty who received promotions or tenure.


Xavier University of Louisiana Board of Trustees received the 2023 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.



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The University of the West Indies and Norfolk State University signed a memorandum of understanding to promote joint research and teaching activities, hold seminars, conferences, and academic meetings, and to provide opportunities for student exchanges and internships.


West Virginia State University Department of Social Work and Concord University Master of Social Work signed an articulation agreement to facilitate successful student transfers. Concord University will waive the application fee and reserve a set number of seats for West Virginia State graduates seeking entrance to the program.


Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health have agreed to establish a joint college of medicine. Plans include using the facilities and personnel of both organizations to form a nonprofit corporation. The university has had a long relationship with Ochsner Health.


Spelman College will offer a bachelor’s degree in documentary filmmaking. The program will be housed in the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation Center for Documentary Media Studies located in the Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Center for Innovation & the Arts. Jonathan Logan Family Foundation donated $1,000,000 to establish the center.


Fayetteville State University School of Nursing launched a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. Initially, the program will train 20 nurses per semester with plans to expand. It is the first program of its type at an HBCU. The state of North Carolina provided $1,500,000 to establish the program.


The President of Yale University announced the launch of the Yale University Pennington Fellowship. The program provides scholarships for local high school students accepted into Morehouse College, Spelman College, Morgan State University, or Hampton University. The program will provide cohorts of 10-12 students up to $20,000 for tuition and fees per year. It is named for Reverend James W. C. Pennington, the first black student to attend Yale, although he was prevented from actually enrolling. The university plans to expand the program to include other HBCUs.



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Lincoln University (MO) joined the Great Lakes Valley Conference as its first HBCU member. Lincoln had been a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.


Talladega College launched its women’s artistic gymnastics team in collaboration with Brown Girls Do Gymnastics. The team will be coached by Aja Sims-Fletcher. She is currently coordinator of student-athlete enhancement and social responsibility at the University of Alabama. Talladega College and Fisk University are the only HBCUs to compete in women’s artistic gymnastics at this time. 


Deion Sanders accepted a head coach offer from the University of Colorado (Boulder). He was head coach at Jackson State University (JSU) for two seasons. During his tenure he energized the national debate over race and recruiting and led the team to conference championships. However, they did not win an HBCU national championship title either year. 


Clark Atlanta University named Dr. Jerel Drew athletic director. He previously served at University of the Virgin Islands where he was athletic director and at Elizabeth City State University where he was associate athletic director for compliance.



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Deadlines and Information


Student Loan Pause:  The Department of Education (Department) announced the pause in student loan repayment, interest, and collection will be extended to 60 days after the Supreme Court of the United States permits the Department to implement its debt relief programs or the litigation is otherwise resolved. 


HEERF Extension:  ED announced an automatic extension of the performance period through June 30, 2023, for all open grants issued under the Higher Education emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that have a balance greater than $1,000.




Single Audits: The Department posted the following links as a resource for auditors:


Foreign Gifts, Contracts, or Control: January 31, 2023, is the deadline for submitting required disclosure reports.


Campus Based Programs: February 6, 2023, is the deadline for to apply for 2023–2024 Underuse Penalty Waiver


Title III or Title V: February 27, 2023, is the deadline to apply for designation and waiver of the non-federal share requirement for FWS and FSEOG. 


2023-2024 FAFSA: FSA posted the final form and worksheets (in Spanish and English) for the 2023-2024 FAFSA. 


2022-2023 Verification Waiver:  ED extended the waiver of certain verification requirements for the 2022-2023 award year. 


2023-2024 FAFSA Verification and Documentation:  FSA published information in the Federal Register for 2023-2024 award year. It includes the policy for verification for incarcerated students. 


Expected Family Contribution Guide:  FSA posted the 2023-2024 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Guide.


Noncitizen Aid Eligibility:  Special Immigrant Lawful Permanent Residents, Special Immigrant Conditional Permanent Residents, Special Immigrant Parolees, and Non-Special Immigrant Afghan Parolees are noncitizens eligible for federal student aid under Title IV. (See DHS-SAVE’s Fact Sheet or Volume 1, Chapter 2 of the Federal Student Aid  Handbook for more information on eligible noncitizens.)


Codes for Participating Institutions: FSA posted the updated 2022-2023 list of federal codes for institutions participating in the Title IV programs. Students can use these codes on the FAFSA form to indicate which institution(s) should receive the results. You can see the list in Excel format here and in PDF format here. The name and address FSA has for your institution should be kept current. 


Application to Participate in Title IV:  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the Fiscal Operations Report for 2021–22 and Application to Participate for 2023-24 (FISAP). Download the form, instructions, desk reference, and technical reference.


Problems Updating Dependency Status:  Students unable to submit a change of dependency status to the FAFSA should request their financial aid administrator submit the correction on their behalf. They can also request a paper Student Aid Report (SAR) which they can correct and submit. Call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to request a paper SAR. 


Audit Submission Extension for Major Disaster Areas: A six-month single audit submission extension is available to non-federal entity recipients that have due dates between September 18, 2022, and December 31, 2022, and are located in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Florida, South Carolina, or North Carolina. The extension covers the whole state but institutions in less affected areas are encouraged to submit their audits on time.  


Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL):  Compensation that student athletes receive for NIL may impact their student financial aid. FSA published guidance for financial aid administrators making awards to student athletes who have received compensation under NIL contracts.


2023-2024 College Financing Plan: Forms, HTML specifications, technical guide, and FAQ are available on the Office of Postsecondary Education website.


Supplemental Funding:  FSA announced Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are available for institutions in areas impacted by Hurricane Fiona and severe weather in Kentucky. 


Perkins Loan Assignment:  The deadline for purchasing or assigning Perkins Loans that have been in default for more than two years has been extended to June 30, 2023. All other conditions remain in effect. Institutions are advised to maintain records of collection efforts and consult the latest  federal aid handbook


Pell Grant:  Payment and disbursement schedules are available for Pell Grants for 2022-2033. See the electronic announcement.


Campus-Based Programs:  Final funding authorizations for the 2022-2023 campus-based programs available have been posted to the COD


Address Correction:  The correct address to use for sending paper MPN packages, Direct PLUS Loan endorser addenda, and Campus-Based signature pages and forms is: US Department of Education PO Box 1130 Fairfax, VA 22038. The street address that should be used for overnight or commercial courier deliveries is: US Department of Education 4050 Legato Road, #1100 Fairfax, VA 22033.







Event: Fundraising Events in 2023: How to Plan and What to Know

Date: February 9, 2023

Location: Virtual

Information: Details


Event: Association for Biblical Higher Education Annual Meeting

Date: February 15-17, 2023

Location: Orlando, FL

Information: Additional Details


Event: CCCU Grant and Research Workshop

Date: February 17-18, 2023

Location: Miramar Beach, FL

Information: Additional Details


Event: 2023 WPI HBCU & Small College Forum

Date: March 6-7, 2023

Location: Virtual

Information: Registration


Event: Higher Learning Commission 2023 Annual Conference

Date: March 24-28, 2023 

Location: Chicago, IL

Information: Additional Details


Event: Texas HBCU Conference

Date: March 31, 2023, - April 1, 2023

Location: Austin, TX

Information: Additional Details



About This Publication
WPG HBCU News is a monthly email published by the Wesley Peachtree Group, CPAs (WPG) as a service to the sector. It provides short summaries of news articles, government regulations, and announcements found online.

WPG HBCU News is available at no cost to HBCU administrators, trustees, and senior stakeholders. It is not intended as legal or financial advice. WPG's staff, writers, editors,  publishers, web hosts, e-mail distributors, and others involved with the production and presentation of this newsletter are not liable for errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages arising directly or indirectly from use of this newsletter or any information presented therein.

WPG is a full-service accounting firm with clients in the private business, education, government, faith-based, and not-for-profit sectors. We specialize in higher-education with a particular emphasis on minority-serving institutions.  We welcome your feedback.
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