September 2021

📣 Top Story


COVID-19 Action Plan
President Biden's COVID-19 Action Plan includes a mandatory vaccination policy for companies that employ more than 100 people. (It is not clear if remote, seasonal, and part-time workers count toward that threshold.) The policy requires employers to provide paid leave for vaccination and recovery from side effects. Employees will have to provide proof of vaccination or provide proof of negative covid tests on a weekly basis. Employers will face fines for each instance of noncompliance. The mandate is controversial and will likely be challenged in court. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked with enforcement of the policy. It is important to note however, that not all employees and employers are subject to OSHA regulations. The public also remains deeply divided on the issue of mandates. Colleges and universities exemplify those divisions, with some enforcing vaccine mandates and others banning them.

In Other News


Congress Unveils Budget Proposal 
Higher education spending in the budget reconciliation bill released by congress includes funding for community college tuition but does not include funds promised to minority-serving institutions. The amount set aside for HBCUs was reduced significantly. The maximum Pell Grant was increased by $500 rather than $1400, as promised. HBCU and other higher education advocates are pressing for delivery on the promises made. At least one member of congress, Representative Alma Adams, an HBCU advocate and activist, has said she will not back the spending plan unless it includes the funding promised by President Biden. Read more.


Bankruptcy Bill Would Harm HBCUs
At the beginning of the pandemic, the American Council on Education wrote to congressional leaders about restoring bankruptcy protections for federal student loan borrowers and reducing the interest rate on federal loans. At the time the federal government could borrow money at 0.5% but charged 4.53-7.08% on Stafford and Parent Plus loans. Now, over a year later, a bill introduced in the US Senate would allow students to discharge loans in bankruptcy. However, there is a catch. The federal government would recoup a portion of the amount discharged from the college or university where the borrower used the funds. In effect, institutions that serve first-generation, minority, low-income, and non-traditional students would be penalized for serving those sectors and penalized for society's failure to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion. The UNCF has strenuously opposed the bill in its current form. Read more.


1890 Land-grant Universities Press Congress 
The presidents of the 19 HBCU land-grant institutions have penned a letter to congressional leaders asking them to include the Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education for HBCU Excellence Act, or HBCU IGNITE Act in the spending bill now under consideration. The bill would allocate funding to upgrade facilities, address deferred maintenance, and purchase needed broadband and technology equipment. Read more.


States Sue Federal Government  
Twenty states have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Justice. At issue is legality of the Title IX guidance distributed in June. The states accuse the agencies of failing to follow established rule-making procedures. A similar lawsuit was filed by The College of the Ozarks, a faith-based institution, against President Biden and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The institution sought an injunction and restraining order in light of its religious mission. The case has not yet been resolved. Read more.


HBCU Week 
President Biden signed an executive order establishing the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Opportunity, and Excellence through HBCUs and declaring HBCU Week. A highlight of the week, the annual conference, was held online. Secretaries Cardona and Granholm, Dr. Fauci, and Congresswoman Alma Adams were among the participants. Topics included STEM, Tech, eSports, research grants, and infrastructure. Critics noted that, in his executive order, President Biden made no mention of student-debt cancellation. Debt cancellation, particularly for HBCU students, was a critical component of his presidential campaign. Read more.


Tech Conference
HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, and Microsoft held a Tech Conference for HBCUs. The conference included tracks for students staff, faculty, and administrators. Read more.


Innovation Ecosystem 
The Plug provided a preview of an upcoming report on the status of innovation at HBCUs. Researchers looked at programs and initiatives, recruitment, enrollment, and relationships with communities and businesses. The full report is scheduled for release later this year. Read more


Leadership Turnover 
Recent research by Dr. William Broussard revealed that turnover in executive leadership at HBCUs exceeds that at predominately black institutions (PBIs). He discussed his findings with HBCU Digest founder, Jarret Carter. Watch on YouTube.


Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Week
President Biden opened Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week by expressing admiration for the work done by the colleges and universities that serve Hispanic students. The federal government began recognizing HSIs in the 1990s. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) now represents over 500 institutions including high research designees. One of which, St. Philip's College in San Antonio, Texas, boasts a dual designation as an HBCU and an HSI. Read more.


Court Upholds Right to Sue 
An appellate court ruled that disabled students can rely upon evidence that a policy resulted in discrimination. They do not have to prove intent. The case under review involves blind students whose instructors failed to provide accessible handouts, textbooks, and software despite the institution's accessibility policies. Read more.


Macalester College Board of Trustees announced it will cease making new investments in dedicated publicly traded oil and gas assets and divest itself of those it now holds. Boston University also announced it will divest from fossil fuels.  Harvard University ended all direct investment in fossil fuels and will allow indirect investments to lapse. Read more.


Few Programs for Deployed Troops
Potential students have few options to use their education benefits while deployed by the armed forces. There are few programs available and in an attempt to cut costs, the military has tried to reduce the benefits. A handful of colleges and universities are trying to fill this void by offering certificate programs and providing assistance to students, many of whom are academically unprepared. Read more.


ED to Share FAFSA Data with IRS
The Department of Education has designated the US Treasury Department as an entity with which it may share FAFSA data. Institutions may use the data to aid in the administration of Economic Impact Payments and the Child Tax Credit. Read more.




Pell Grant Taxability
Several higher education advocacy groups are urging congress to preserve the repeal of Pell Grant taxes that is part of the Build Back Better Act. Under current regulations, only the amount that is spent on tuition is free from taxation. Any amount spent on non tuition expenses is taxable. The Build Back Better Act would eliminate taxation on the entire Pell Grant regardless of how it is spent. Read more


Classes Canceled 
Virginia State University canceled classes on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah said the intentional intervention was necessary to counteract the toll the pandemic has taken on physical and emotional well-being. Read more.


President Mute on Federal Debt
President Biden launched HBCU Week with an executive order that did not include student debt cancellation. His presidential campaign platform included cancelling $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower and cancelling all undergraduate tuition-related debt to attend public and/or minority-serving institutions for those earning up to $125,000 per year. He has come under fire for not taking the opportunity presented by HBCU Week to start making good on those promises. The Center for Responsible Lending published an open letter in which they urged the president to act. His fellow democrats are divided on the question of whether he has the authority to cancel federal debt. Senators Schumer and Warren say he does have the authority. However, Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, maintains that he does not. The president has not addressed the issue publicly. Read more.


Presidents Press Private Sector for Support,  
The presidents of Huston-Tillotson, Clark Atlanta, Albany State, and Grambling State Universities and Talladega College participated in panel discussions on campus infrastructure with corporate executives from Walgreens, Verizon, and Micron Technology. The discussions were a part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 50th Annual Legislative Conference. The presidents stressed the importance of keeping campus facilities up-to-date. They also pointed out that the damage inflicted by sustained underfunding and poor support has a ripple effect. Read more.


Research Challenges Assumptions About Out-of-State Students
Policies based upon the premise that out-of-state students generate more revenue for public institutions because they pay higher tuition may need to be revised, according to recent studies. One study looked at the effect increased enrollment of out-of-state students had on public support. Another study looked at the relationship between increased out-of-state student enrollment and decreases in spending on student services. Taken together, the results suggest the drawbacks may outweigh the benefits. Read more.


HEERF Used to Clear Institutional Debt 
The third round of HEERF was the first federal stimulus that permitted (see question 26) institutions to use their portion to clear student balances. After declaring student balances as lost revenue, institutions are free to reimburse themselves using the institutional portion of HEERF. Delaware State University was the first institution to do so. Other colleges and universities, including most HBCUs, followed suit. Read more


Federal Government Urged to Fund Endowments 
A report published by The Century Foundation calls on the federal government to make a large one-time contribution to HBCU endowments to increase their stability and remedy decades of underfunding. In Achieving Financial Equity and Justice for HBCUs, author Denise A. Smith contends that because public policy created the inequitable system, public policy should be tasked replacing that system and fixing the problems it caused.  Read more.


ED-Tech Merger 
Anthology, a company created in 2020 from a merger of Campus Management, Campus Labs, and iModules, and Blackboard, a company that provides software used for managing online courses (LMS) announced they will merge. Veritas Capital will be the majority owner of the new entity and Leeds Equity Partners will hold a minority stake.Read more.


States Still Reeling from Back to Back Storms
Fred, Ida, and Nicholas left a trail of damage from the Gulf of Mexico up to New England. In just a little over a month, the storms caused widespread flooding, power outages, knocked out offshore production platforms, caused oil spills, and the release of toxic emissions. There were over two dozen confirmed  tornadoes and over 80 storm-related deaths. Although most of the deaths occurred in the Northeast, the area around New Orleans, Louisiana took the brunt of the impact from Hurricane Ida, the worst of the three storms. HBCUs in the area prepared for the storms, suspending in-person classes, scheduling meal delivery, and closing facilities. Southern University at Baton Rouge (SUBR) set up an emergency center for evacuees in its Mini-Dome. As the storm roared through it downed thousands of utility poles, damaged high-voltage lines, knocked down transformers, and caused the release of toxins into the atmosphere. Power outages, flooding, shortages, and intense heat persisted after the storm passed and were exacerbated by Tropical Depression Nicholas. With several weeks left in hurricane season, estimates of losses are discouraging. Xavier University of Louisiana, Southern University at New Orleans, and Dillard University are among the institutions that are accepting donations online. Read more.


Record Enrollment for Fall
Despite the pandemic, HBCUs reported stable enrollment numbers for fall with some significant increases. Elizabeth City State University reported its highest fall enrollment in eight years. The freshmen class enrolled at Saint Augustine’s University's this fall was its largest freshmen cohort in ten years. Wiley College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff also reported higher enrollment. At Edward Waters University enrollment surged, increasing by 14% over last fall.  Read more.







Talladega College Board of Trustees announced that President Dr. Billy Hawkins has resigned due to medical reasons. Provost Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lisa Long will serve as acting president. Dr. Hawkins had planned to retire in June 2022. He has served as president since 2008. His many accomplishments include restoring and showcasing the valuable Hale Woodruff Amistad murals, reviving the athletic program, renovating buildings, and increasing enrollment. Read more.


President Biden announced that he will tap Delaware State University President Dr. Tony Allen to chair the President's Board of Advisors on HBCUs Read more.


Allen University named Dr. Eric Gamble vice president for planning, and information technology; Dr. Gee Lockhart Sigman, associate vice president for planning, assessment, and research; and Mr. Jasher Cox, director of athletics. Read more.


US Congress has confirmed James Kvaal as Under Secretary of Education. His confirmation was blocked by Senator Elizabeth Warren as a means of pressuring the administration to reform the federal student loan program. Read more


Florida A&M University Board of Trustees has extended the contract of Dr. Larry Robinson to December 2022. The extension is subject to approval by the Florida Board of Governors. The board is very satisfied with his performance and has given him an above-average rating. They also re-elected the board chair and vice chair to additional two-year terms. Read more.


Edward Waters University named Ms. Veronica Cohen vice president of institutional advancement, development, marketing, and communications. Ms. Cohen is an experienced administrator who has successfully managed institutional advancement and fundraising campaigns at both private and public HBCUs. Read more.


Clark Atlanta University named alumna Dr. Lorri L. Saddler vice president of alumni relations and engagement. Dr. Saddler is a skilled administrator whose experience spans both the corporate realm and academia. Read more.


Wiley College named Dr. Tashia L. Bradley chief operating officer and vice president for administration. She is an experienced administrator, having served in key positions at Wilberforce University, Colby College, Berea College, and New College of Florida. Read more.


Saint Augustine’s University announced Mr. Gregorio E.O. Kishketon and alumna Mrs. Magdalene Johnson Obaji have joined its board of trustees. Mrs. Magdalene Johnson Obaji is the president and chief executive officer of NIS Solutions Corp, whose client roster includes both the US treasury and justice departments. Mr. Kishketon is the FOIA Officer in the Health Information Governance Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also a Tribal Elder of the Water Clan of the Kickapoo Tribe. Read more.


Alabama A&M University named Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Dr. Roderick Smothers, and Dr. Daniel K. Wims as finalist in their presidential search. Read more.


Savannah State University named Ms. Megan Davidson vice president for business and financial affairs. Ms. Davidson comes to the university from Gordon State College where she served as vice president of finance and administration. Read more.


Spelman College President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell announced she will retire at  the end of the academic year. She leaves office having exceeded a $250,000,000 fundraising goal. Read more.


Dillard University announced Dr. Walter Kimbrough will leave the presidency at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. Dr. Kimbrough has served the institution for 10 years. Under his leadership the university experienced financial and academic growth. Alumni and community engagement have also grown. Read more.


Southern University System President and Chancellor of Southern University in Baton Rouge Dr. Ray L. Belton announced that he will retire in the fall of 2022.  During his tenure student enrollment and completion, fundraising, athletics and agricultural technology transfer have all improved. Read more.


South Carolina State University named Retired US Army Colonel Alexander Conyers as acting president. He is an alumnus whose military career spanned nearly 30 years. He had been serving as vice president for strategic alliances and initiatives since May. He takes the reins from Dr. James E. Clark. Read more.


Shaw University extended the contract of Dr. Paulette Dillard for an additional five years. Dr. Dillard was appointed to serve on an interim basis in 2017. The board voiced its satisfaction with her performance during the pandemic as well as her role in developing strategic relationships with tech firms. Read more.


Morris Brown College extended the contract of Dr. Kevin James through June 2025. Dr. James has served as president since March 2019. During his presidency the institution achieved accreditation candidacy status, launched several academic programs, increased fundraising, and formed industry partnerships. The college also named Dr. Anthony B. Johnson provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.  Read more.


Clinton College named Dr. Toneyce S. Randolph vice president and dean of academic services. Dr. Randolph has experience as chief academic officer and was responsible for launching several associate degree programs. The college also named Harriet Hobbs  vice president of institutional effectiveness. Ms. Hobbs comes to the college from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she served as director of assessment systems and university accreditation. Read more.


Morgan State University named Dr. Hongtao Yu provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Yu, a research chemist who has over 30 years of experience, previously served as dean of Morgan State University School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. Read more.


Edward Waters University named Shannon Palmer Council chief of staff and assistant to the president for strategic initiatives. She comes to the university from North Carolina A&T University where she served as assistant to the chief of staff. Read more.


Fayetteville State University  named Dr. Juanette Council vice chancellor for student affairs. Dr. Council has more than 30 years experience in the field. Read more.


West Virginia State University named Dr. J. Paige Carney, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Carney has served as an interim associate provost and was the dean of the College of Professional Studies. Read more.






Delaware State University College of Business announced its Global Entrepreneurship Education Initiative has launched a training program for entrepreneurs in Uganda. The program helps participants acquire the skills necessary for launching and managing a business. The program's creators work closely with the Garage (The College of Business's maker space), the US Embassy, Feminature Uganda, and the Delaware Center for Enterprise Development. Read more.


Fisk University announced it will offer a bachelor of science in kinesiology, a bachelor of science in social work, and a masters in executive leadership beginning next fall. Read more.


Fort Valley State University announced it will create a bachelor of science in nursing program to alleviate the shortage of nurses in rural Georgia. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc. will invest $24,000 to support the program. Fort Valley State nursing students will be able to do their clinical rotations at Phoebe Putney Health System's facilities.  Read more.


University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff announced it will expand its Spanish minor degree program to include a study abroad component. The university's office of international programs and studies was invited to participate in Guatemala's first exchange program for US and Canadian institutions. Students and faculty spent a month in Guatemala immersed in the language and culture. Read more.


Cheyney University announced it has launched the Life Sciences and Technology Hub Initiative. The program will support STEM students by providing internships, resources, and guidance. Through its corporate partners, the university will provide internships, and research, and training opportunities. Read more.


The Department of Defense has established Centers of Excellence at two HBCUs: a Center of Excellence in Biotechnology at North Carolina A&T University and a Center of Excellence in Materials Science at Morgan State University. The center at North Carolina A &T will coordinate with Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The center at Morgan State University will partner with Johns Hopkins University and the Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to create the Center for Advanced Electro-Photonics with 2D Materials. Read more.


Grambling University announced Amazon Web Services Educate program will support the university's new Cloud Computing program. The program is the first of its kind in Louisiana.Read more.


Southern University at New Orleans announced the opening of the Center for Grief and Trauma Therapy. Licensed clinicians will work with graduate students to provide free, confidential, therapeutic interventions and therapies for the community.Read more.


Virginia State University has opened a Center for Policing Leadership and Social Justice. The center will focus on research, training, policy, and program development concerning policing, criminal justice, and race. It is the first of its kind in the nation. . Read more.


Spelman College announced it will launch eSpelman, an online certificate program. The program will deliver online courses and certificates in leadership, business, project management entrepreneurship and other fields of interest. The courses are open to all people regardless of age or gender. Read more.


North Carolina Central University School of Business and Wake Technical Community College have signed an articulation agreement that creates a pathway for students to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting. Eligible students who earn an associate degree in accounting and finance at the community college can complete their bachelor's at North Carolina Central in two years. Read more.



☑️ Deadlines
Deadlines and Information



    Pinned     2021 Compliance Supplement
Get the Office of Management and Budget's 2021 Compliance Supplement here.


Administrative Cost Allowance (ACA)
ACA to defray the administrative cost to institutions participating in the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Perkins Loan programs. A breakdown of the total ACA an institution is eligible to receive will be sent to the institution's Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) mailbox. Note that ACA payments will not be deposited automatically. The institution must sign into the G5 website and drawdown the funds. Read more.


COD System Update
Federal Student Aid is implementing changes that will affect the way the system handles Direct Loan and TEACH Grant Programs. Institutions will be able to submit downward adjustments and non-financial changes to those programs after the closeout deadline or after they have confirmed closeout without having to request extended processing or reopen an award year. This does not apply to new or upward adjustments. Read more.


Automatic Total and Permanent Disability
The Department of Education will automatically discharge Title IV loans and TEACH grants for recipients who are identified as eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) through information obtained from the Social Security Administration without requiring them to submit an application or other documentation. Eligible borrowers and recipients will receive notices. This includes those who had been previously notified of their TPD status but who did not go through the application process. The post TPD discharge monitoring period (three-years), during which earning must be reported, has been suspended for the duration of the pandemic. Federal tax consequences have also been eliminated. Read more.


E-Filing Rule
Effective immediately, the Department requires administrative litigants to use the E-Filing system on the Office of Hearings and Appeals' website. The rule change goes into effect immediately. However there is a provision that allows parties to declare that they are unable to file electronically. Read more.


Reallocation of Funds
A portion of the supplemental Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) funds will be redirected to eligible institutions that have been directly affected by Hurricane Ida or the California wildfires. Read more.


Accounting Standards Update
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released amendments to its standards on lease reporting. The updates amend Topic 842 and provide lessors, including private institutions, more flexibility in recording lease transactions. The updates have different effective dates for different types of entities. Early adoption is permitted. Read more.


Application and Institutional Student Information Record Test Files Available
Student Financial Aid has published the Application and Institutional Student Information Record test files and the comment code text for 2022-2023. Review the CPS Test System User Guide for information regarding testing using the mainframe portion of the system. Read more.


Return to Title IV FAQ (R2T4) Updated

The FAQ was updated to reflect the changes made during to negotiated rulemaking and the modifications made due to the pandemic. Access to a training video has been provided along with the associated slides and transcript. Read more.


Other Opportunities for Training

FISAP Training is available. Federal Student Aid has also launched the 2021–2022 Fundamentals Training Series (virtual workshops and a self-paced online course).


Data and Reference

The list of codes for institutions participating in Title IV programs for the 2021-2022 award year is available. The 2022-2023 SAR Comment Codes and Text Reference is also available.


Treasury Department / IRS Updates
The following information was published by the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and/or the Small Business Administration.

Announced a safe harbor allowing employers to exclude 1) the amount of the forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan 2) Shuttered Venue Operators Grants under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act, and 3) Restaurant Revitalization Grants under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from gross receipts when determining eligibility for the Employee Extension Credit. Read more.

Announced the extension of the 28-day deadline for employers to get an employee certified as a Designated Community Resident or a Qualified Summer Youth Employee when claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Read more.

Updated FAQs for Paid Sick and Paid Family Leave tax credits to include leave taken by employees to accompany certain designated individuals to obtain a COVID vaccination and/or to care for a vaccinated individual recovering from a condition related to having gotten the vaccine. Read more.

Updated Guidance on Single-Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plan funding changes under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Read more.

Answered questions regarding reporting obligations related to HEERF grants, Form 1099-MISC, and Form 1098-T. Read more.

The Frequently Asked Questions page for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans was updated on July 29, 2021. However, the text still indicates it does not include some of the changes made by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

The Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508 was updated.

The Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ was updated.

The Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508S was updated.



Accounting Standards Update
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) released amendments to its standard on lease reporting. The update amends Topic 842 and provide lessors, including private institutions, more flexibility in recording lease transactions. The effective dates vary by entity type. Early adoption is permitted. Read more.




Coronavirus Indicator Deadline
The deadline for adding the Coronavirus Indicator for disbursement of Title IV funds for the 2020-2021 award year until September 30, 2021. Read more.


FISAP Deadline
The Deadline for (electronic) filing the Fiscal Operations Report for 2020–2021 and Application to Participate for the 2022–2023 award year is October 1, 2021. Note that not all pandemic-related wavers have been extended to the 2022-2023 award year. Read more.


Deadline for Comments
The Government Accounting Standard Board has updated its draft on notes to financial statements and is seeking comments. Deadline for comments is October 15, 2021. Read more.


Student Aid Internet Gateway Software Update Deadline
The deadline for institutions to upgrade their EDconnect or TDClient (Student Aid Internet Gateway aka SAIG software) is October 23, 2021. Institutions that have not upgraded by the deadline will lose access to the system. Read more.


Second Chance Pell Deadline
The deadline for submitting a letter of interest to participate in the Second Chance Pell experiment is October 28, 2021. Read more.


Perkins Loan Wind Down
All Perkins Loans that have been in default for more than two years must be purchased or assigned to the Department of Education by June 30, 2022, —unless there is documented evidence that the borrower is making payments. Note that any Perkins Loan that is in default and is required to be assigned but has been placed with a private collection agency, must be returned to the institution so institution can assign it to the Department. Institutions are advised to maintain records of their collection efforts. Read more.


Audit Deadline
A memo from the Office of Management and Budget Department of Education directs federal agencies to allow recipients and sub-recipients that have fiscal year-ends through June 30, 2021, and have not yet filed their single audits to delay completion and submission up to six months beyond the normal due date. Although they do not have to seek approval for this extension, recipients and sub-recipients should maintain documentation of the reason for their delayed filing. They could also still qualify as a low-risk auditee. Read more.

FAFSA Verification


2021-2022 Verification Requirements
Student Financial Aid announced that the following FAFSA verification changes will be applicable from July 13, 2021, through the remainder of the 2021-2022 FAFSA processing cycle. Read more.

In-person submission and notary requirements for verification of Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose is suspended. Institutions may accept electronic copies and signatures. Read more.

High school completion or equivalent requirement can be satisfied with documents already obtained for other purposes such as those held by the admissions office. Read more.

Institutions are required to review all subsequent ISIR transactions for the processing year and resolve any discrepancies before disbursing Title IV funds. Read more.

Note that many 2021-2022 transactions will continue to be selected for verification by the Central Processing System (CPS). When this occurs, institutions must report a V for completed verifications or an S for students who are exempt. Do not use blank unless a student is no longer enrolled at your institution. Institutions are not required to verify students selected under Verification Tracking Flag V1. Read more.

Interest Rate Notices


Federal Student Aid announced the interest rates for various loan programs:
FFEL Variable Interest Rate Notice.
Direct Loan Fixed Interest Rate Notice.
HEAL Program Interest Rates Notice.
Direct Loan Variable Interest Rate Notice.



Grants, Awards, Gifts


St. Philip’s College was awarded a four-year $1,250,000 grant to support STEM majors. The National Science Foundation award will fund Project SURE (Scaffolding Undergraduate Research Experiences) efforts to increase student retention and completion rates and boost the transfer rates of STEM majors. Read more.


The University of the Virgin Islands Libraries announced they received $249,750 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and $40,000 from the American Library Association. The awards will be used to support technology training, reference services, telehealth programming, and digitization projects. Read more.


Fisk University announced it received a $2,500,000 gift from the R.I.S.E. Opportunity Foundation to develop the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Risk Management Institute. The institute will support programs that prepare students for careers in the insurance industry. Read more.


Alabama State University doctoral student Ayodeji Ipinmoroti has been awarded a $75,000 grant to study viruses. The National Science Foundation funds the Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which awarded the grant to Mr. Ipinmoroti. He will use the award to investigate the potential for using human cells found in bodily fluids as diagnostic tools for therapeutic purposes. Read more.


Jackson State University's WJSU radio station announced it has received a $450,000 Urban Alternative Grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The funds will be used to switch to the Urban Alternative format, which includes local and national hip hop and rhythm and blues programming. Read more.


The University of the Virgin Islands received the first installment of a $500,000 Office of Insular Affairs Technical Assistance Program grant. The funds will be used to establish an Office of Constitutional Development and Self-Determination and launch a Caribbean Studies program. The university expects to receive the second installment in 2022. Read more.


Morehouse and Spelman Colleges and the Black Economic Alliance Foundation were awarded a $5,000,000 grant from MasterCard. The funds will be used to support the establishment of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship. In addition to the grant, MasterCard will also provide access to Start Path (tool to help startups) and technology training. Read more.


The Baker Hughes Foundation announced it was awarding $800,000 in grants to Southern University and A&M College and Prairie View A&M, North Carolina A&T State, and Texas Southern Universities. The funds will be used to support career readiness,  curriculum development initiatives, provide scholarships, invest in technological infrastructure, and aid in recovery from recent storms. Read more.





HBCU Affordable Learning $olutions (AL$) was the subject of a feature article on the Association of American Colleges & Universities's blog. The goal of AL$ is to provide low and no cost educational resources including OER (open educational resources) textbooks, which are often prohibitively expensive. The HBCU AL$ program was started by the California State University at Long Beach but is now run by Tennessee State University. The program's creators, the MERLOT and SkillCommons teams at California State University, continue to provide support. Financial backing is provided by the Hewlett Foundation. At least ten HBCUs are currently using ALS programs. Several more plan to do so in the near future. Read more.


The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame announced the inductees for 2021. The inductees and the HBCU that they attended are:
Education Category: Dr. Adena Williams Loston (Alcorn State University)
Athletics Category: Mr. Gregory L. Lloyd, Sr. (Fort Valley State University)
Business Category: Dr. Tyrone A. Burroughs (Benedict College)
Civil Rights Category: Ms. Melanie L. Campbell (Clark Atlanta University)
Community Service Category: Mr. Gerald K. Harris, Sr. (Dillard University)
Faith Category: Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Murriel (Jackson State University)
Government Category: Retired Major General John F. Phillips (Jarvis Christian College)
Law Category: Mrs. Dorothy (Rabb) Brown Cook (Southern University)
Medicine Category: Dr. Alvin V. Blount, Jr. (North Carolina A&T University)
Science Category: Dr. Valerie L. Thomas (Morgan State University)
Lifetime Achievement Category: Dr. Lorene K. Robinson (Delaware State University)
Lifetime Achievement Category: Dr. Anne R. Gayles-Felton (Fort Valley State University)
Lifetime Achievement Category: Mrs. Lauretta Hasty Holloway (North Carolina Central University)
Chairman’s Award Category: Mr. Alden J. McDonald, Jr. (Dillard University)
Read More.


Dillard University’s Presidential Professor Dr. Abdalla Darwish has been granted a third patent for the multiple beam pulsed laser deposition of composite films. Dr. Darwish is an expert in nanocomposite films. Read More.


The HBCU Executive Leadership Institute at Clark Atlanta University (HBCU ELI) recently made Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms its first honorary fellow. In celebration of that appointment, members of the Council of Past HBCU Presidents and the HBCU ELI Advisory Board participated in the Mayor's Cup Golf Tournament. The tournament raised nearly $500,000 for the Mayor's Youth Scholarship Program. Read More.


University Business Magazine recently published an article lauding student retention programs at HBCUs. While first-year student programs are very common at all institutions, the author noted that HBCUs often have support programs for second-year and transfer students as well. Some HBCUs also have programs for parents. Read more.


Bethune-Cookman University is preparing for a visit by a statue of founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, as it makes its way from Italy to Washington, DC. The marble statue was sculpted by Nilda Comas in Pietrasanta, Italy. It will replace that of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith as Florida's contribution to the National Statuary Hall in the US capitol. Dr. Bethune, a dedicated public servant,  is best known as the founder of Bethune-Cookman University and the National Council of Negro Women. Read More.


Grambling State University faculty members have been selected by the Louisiana Library Network and the Louisiana Board of Regents to write a high school science textbook. Dr. Dagne Hill, head of the Department of Biological Sciences and Dr. Waneene C. Dorsey, a biological sciences professor will write a biology textbook. It will be created as an Open Education Resource and made available to dual enrollment programs. Read More.


North Carolina HBCU Living Legends Fund recognized Shaw University President Dr. Paulette Dillard as a 2021 Living Legend and awarded scholarships to three Shaw University students at the North Carolina HBCU Living Legends Scholarship Gala event. Read More.


North Carolina A&T University in collaboration with other institutions has established the Science and Technology center for Phosphorous Sustainability. Funded by the National Science Foundation. The center is led by North Carolina A&T . Its goal is to find ways to decrease society's dependence on phosphate mining which harms aquatic life, pollutes water, and contaminates the food supply. Read More.


Lut Williams, publisher of the Black College Sports Page, paid homage to Mr. Eric Moore, publisher of Onnidan.com, a website dedicated to HBCU sports. Mr. Moore has provided statistics for HBCU athletics for several decades. He also assisted and trained students. Mr. Williams dedicated the HBCU Gameday list of the HBCU Classic games for this year's football season to Mr. Moore, who has been ill. Read More.




HBCU Football is doing well in the television ratings. The season starter, Alcorn State University vs North Carolina Central University, drew over a million viewersTwo of the weekend matchups outdrew Power Five games. The Jackson State University vs Florida A&M University game drew 715,000 viewers. Read more.


The Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic will air on TNT on Saturday, December 18, 2021. Two games will be played at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Hampton University will face off against North Carolina Central University and Howard University will challenge North Carolina A&T University. Read more.


Southwest Athletic Conferences (SWAC) and the Pac-12 announced that beginning in November 2022, member institutions will play home-and-home series on an annual basis. Student athletes will take part in social justice initiatives as part of the exchange. The agreement includes women's programs. A preliminary schedule was released.Read more.


Virginia State University announced that Mr. Lonnie Blow, Jr., will remain head coach through 2023. Coach Blow has earned several awards and has led the Virginia State Trojans to the playoffs five times. Read more.


Jarvis Christian College announced that it will host its 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Luncheon. Read more.


Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference adopted a mandatory vaccine policy. Students, staff, band members, coaches, and any others active during the games, are required to be vaccinated. Read more.


Xavier University of Louisiana announced it has named Nathan Cochran executive director of athletics and recreation. He previously served as assistant head football coach and coordinator of recruiting and compliance at Kentucky State University. Read more.


Morris College named Towanna Hicks career services director and head volleyball coach. Ms. Hicks is an alumna and an award-winning player .The college also named Tammy Brown head women's basketball coach and enrollment counselor. Ms. Brown is a decorated two-time combat veteran, an experienced coach, and an award-winning player. Read more.


Alabama State University named Dr. Jason Cable director of intercollegiate athletics. Dr. Cable comes to the university from the Southwestern Athletic Conference where he served as Senior Associate Commissioner for Administration. Read more.


Grambling University named Dr. Trayvean Scott vice president for intercollegiate athletics. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Scott was the deputy athletic director of Southern University in Baton Rouge. Read more.


Mississippi State University named Mr. Alvin Franklin assistant athletic director for development. Mr. Franklin holds degrees in kinesiology, sports management, and higher education administration. Read more.





Event:African American Board Leadership Institute Board Talks
Date:On Demand


Event:New Presidents Academy
Date:July 12, 2021-October 18, 2021
Location:Hybrid Virtual and In Person

Event:Association for Biblical Higher Education Accreditation Journey
Date/Location:September 27-28, 2021 Baltimore, Maryland
Date/Location:Virtual and On-site

Event:American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Town Hall Meeting
Date:September 29, 2021 1 PM Eastern time
Location:Virtual (Register for Zoom link)

Event:The 2021 Federal Student Aid Training Conference
Date:November 30-December 3, 2021




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. Our support for HBCUs includes the WPG HBCU News (this publication) and the Annual WPG HBCU Forum. We welcome your feedback.
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