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Department of Education Updates Rules 

 

Just weeks after amending the final rule for financial value transparency and gainful employment, the Department of Education (Department) published the final rule for  financial responsibility, administrative capability, ability to benefit, and certification procedures. Both updates go into effect July 1, 2024. 

 

Notably, the final rule amends the events that automatically trigger a request for a letter of credit or other forms of financial protection (mandatory triggers) and adds events that will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis (discretionary triggers).  

 

The Department also added a signature requirement to the certification procedure. All entities with direct or indirect ownership of a proprietary or private nonprofit institution must sign the participation agreement. For private nonprofit institutions, this additional signature would generally be by an authorized representative of the nonprofit entity or entities that own the institution. These representatives will be financially liable to the Department should the institution close. 

Resources:

  • The financial responsibility, administrative capability, certification procedures, and ability to benefit rule in the Federal Register
  • Fact sheet for the financial responsibility, administrative capability, certification procedures, and ability to benefit rule
  • The American Council on Education's (ACE) summary of the  financial responsibility, administrative capability, certification procedures, and ability to benefit rule
  • The financial value transparency and GE rule in the Federal Register 
  •  Fact sheet for the financial value transparency and GE rule 
  • ACE's summary of the  financial value transparency and GE rule

 

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Other News

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed changes to the Uniform Grants Guidance. The revisions are intended to improve compliance by providing clarity and reducing the administrative burden on federal agencies and award recipients.

 

The update will increase the single audit threshold requirement to $1,000,000—from $750,000 and double the threshold for designation as equipment. OMB also proposes to use the term risk assessment as a standard term. It would include details on agency obligations to review eligibility qualifications and financial integrity information.

 

OMB stressed that any risk criteria, such as cybersecurity risks or impacts on local jobs and the community, can be considered pertinent to a program. The risk criteria to be evaluated must be described in the announcement of the funding opportunity. An agency may modify its risk assessment at any time during the life cycle of an award.

 

The public has until December 4, 2023, to submit comments. You can read the comments, review the White House brief, and check out the US Chief Financial Officers Council’s redlined version of the proposal.

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published final Standards for Safeguarding  Consumer Information in the Federal Register. The rule amends the Safeguards Rule, a key component of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Institutions of higher education are required to comply with it. The update requires institutions to report to the FTC notification events involving 500 or more customers within thirty days of discovery. A notification event is defined as a security event in which unencrypted customer information is acquired without authorization—including unauthorized access of unencrypted information and unauthorized access of an encryption key. The FTC plans to make the reports available to the general public. The rule goes into effect May 13, 2024.

 

ACE asked the Department of Justice(DOJ) to allow more time for colleges and universities to comply with web accessibility rules.  DOJ proposed a three-year grace period for small public institutions and a two-year grace period for large public institutions. ACE recommends a five-year grace period for institutions of all sizes.

 

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed update to the Fair Labor Standards Act sets the annual salary threshold for overtime exemption at $55,068—up from $35,568. The agency received thousands of comments on the proposal. Many from the higher education sector suggested the DOL lower the proposed salary threshold; drop plans to automatically update it every three years; and wait until inflation goes down before setting the threshold. Commenters also noted the rule as written would be difficult to apply to some higher education employees because some, like live-in residence hall staff, must be available 24/7. Comments closed on November 7, 2023. DOL denied a request by ACE to extend the comment period. You can review the comments here

 

In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, members of Congress, weighed-in on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for college students. They urged the agencies to ensure eligible students—particularly those who have disabilities or employment issues—have access to the program.  SNAP is one of the hotly contested components of the farm bill, which expired on September 30, 2023. The latest stopgap funding bill signed by President Biden extends the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill through September 30, 2024, while Congress irons out the details of its update. Ithaka S+R  and the Congressional Research Service provide additional insights.

 

The UNCF announced it has created a Philanthropy Institute (UNCFPI) to assist fundraisers working with minoritized and Indigenous communities. The institute will provide resources for fundraising professionals. Courses will begin in January 2024.

 

ACE wrote to the Department of Labor regarding the agency's proposed amendments to the mental health parity and addiction equity acts. ACE requested that the federal government invest in college students’ mental health on parity with investment in K-12 students’ mental health. The council cited a recent survey that found more than half of students who considered stopping out cited emotional stress as the primary factor. Comments are now closed.

 

Wiley College announced it is returning to its original name, Wiley University. In his state of the college address, President Felton said the university is partnering with Texas Southern University and community colleges, working with the UNCF, and launching high-interest programs that will boost recruitment, retention, and completion. The university also announced that it is the new home of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation.

 

The IRS published instructions for companies that need to withdraw an Employee Retention Credit claim. The instructions are only for those who want to withdraw the claim entirely. Companies seeking to amend a claim will need to amend their return.

 

Representative Alma Adams introduced the HBCU Arts Act to provide financial assistance and resources to HBCU students enrolled in programs focused on art, art education, and culture. The National Association for Music Education, Americans for the Arts, the National Guild for Community Arts Education, and Feierabend Association for Music Education expressed support for the bill. It will provide faculty and peer mentorship, work-based learning opportunities, guidance counseling, career advising, and apprenticeship, internship, and fellowship opportunities. 

 

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce passed the Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions Act (DETERRENT Act). The bill amends the Higher Education Act section 117, which sets reporting obligations for institutions entering into contracts with or accepting gifts from foreign entities. The act sets the reporting threshold at $50,000—down from $250,000. It obliges individuals to report gifts valued at $480 or more and requires institutions to designate a compliance officer.

 

The proposed rule requires institutions to maintain publicly searchable databases of their reports; includes an investment disclosure requirement; and sets fines and penalties for noncompliance. The Department of Education would be required to maintain a public database of the reports and transmit unredacted copies to other federal agencies.

 

In a letter to Representatives Virginia Foxx and Bobby Scott, ACE pointed out the proposed legislation duplicates reporting requirements already mandated by the CHIPS and Science Act. The council noted that the bill requires the Department to conduct risk assessments of scientific and technical research contracts, which it is not currently qualified to do. The council also pointed out that the proposed publicly searchable gift and contract database poses privacy and security concerns. Read the council’s letter and a summary of the legislation and an earlier article published by Inside Higher Ed. 

 

Moody's Investors Service released a report on higher education's enrollment challenges. The bond credit rating company advised colleges to align their academic programs with student interests and labor market demands. The report singled out computer science and engineering as two programs that, though expensive to offer, could help boost enrollment. However, it warned that the speed and trajectory of technological advances, like AI, have to be considered when creating or eliminating programs.

 

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) released its annual Student Financial Services Benchmarking Report. Highlights from the report shared by NACUBO indicated the ratio of students to student financial aid staff increased while the average operating budget for student financial aid offices decreased.  The full report is available from NACUBO.

 

Three HBCU alumni filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia and its university system over the underfunding of the states HBCUs. This comes weeks after  the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture sent letters to Governor Kemp and fourteen other governors of states that have underfunded their 1890 land-grant HBCUs. They advised the states to avoid litigation by committing to a two-to-one match of federal land-grant funding. According to the letter, due to thirty years of funding shortfalls, Georgia owes Fort Valley State University over $600,000,000. The letter did not address Savannah State University or Albany State University, Georgia's other public HBCUs. However, advocates say those institutions have also been underfunded. Legislators propose the state use a different funding formula for HBCUs and consider using some of Georgia’s $16,000,000,000 surplus to address funding disparities.

 

Attorney Benjamin Crump is advising Tennessee State University students on how to go about retrieving the billions of dollars owed by the state for chronic underfunding. The students held a news conference and a rally to highlight the problem.

 

Morehouse College entered into an agreement with the Debt Collective that effectively canceled outstanding student account balances for the fall 2022 semester and semesters prior. The college sold approximately $10,000,000 of student debt to the collective for $125,000. The collective then canceled the debt, which included parking tickets, library fines, and tuition. The collective is unable to cancel federal or private student loans but works with the Rolling Jubilee Fund to buy and cancel other types of debt.

 

The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) welcomed Stillman College, Voorhees University, and Wilberforce University, effective July 1, 2024. GCAC is the only all HBCU conference within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

 

Spelman College announced it will serve as the academic partner for Johnson & Johnson’s 2023-2024 Health Equity Innovation Challenge (HEIC). HEIC was created to support local entrepreneurs, start-ups, and community organizations that develop health equity solutions.

 

The Department held the second negotiated rulemaking for higher education 2023-2024 session.The meeting focused on student loan debt relief. As of this writing, neither the video nor the transcript has been posted to the rulemaking webpage. However, the materials distributed during the session are available for review, including:
Meeting Agenda, Proposed Regulatory Text, Borrower Hardship Issue Paper, Older Borrowers and Parents, Incarcerated Borrowers, Borrowers in Default, Spousal Loan Cancellation, Public Service Workers, and Victims of False Eligibility Certification and Unauthorized Payment .

 

 

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Leadership

Dr. Charlotte P. Morris announced she will retire from her position as president of Tuskegee University next spring. She was elected president in 2021 but has served at the university in various capacities for over forty years. The Board of Trustees thanked Dr. Morris for her leadership and praised her work on the university's strategic plan. 

 

The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System appointed Mr. Richard J. Gallot, Jr., JD, president and CEO. Mr. Gallot has served as president of Grambling State University since 2016. He takes the reins of the state system from Dr. Jim Henderson. 

 

Benedict College named Dr. Sharron Taylor Burnett chief financial officer. She is an experienced financial administrator who served as executive vice president at Lane College and vice president and chief financial officer at Tuskegee University.

 

Wiley University Board of Trustees appointed three board members: Ms. Kelley Cornish, president and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation, Ms. Kendra Davis Briggs, Esq., associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and Mr. Raymond T. Gilstrap, lead engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center.

 

Virginia Union University named Ms. Deborah Alston assistant vice president of stewardship. Ms. Alston is currently serving the university as senior director for alumni relations and advancement. She is an experienced accountant and fundraiser.  

 

Shaw University named Mr. Leon Lewis, Jr., chief information officer. Mr. Lewis is an experienced IT manager who has over thirty years in the field. He hails from Wesleyan University.

 

The 1990 Universities Foundation appointed Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh president and CEO effective January 1, 2024. Dr. Bronaugh served as deputy secretary for the US Department of Agriculture from May 2021 to March 2023. She also served on the faculty and in the administration at Virginia State University.

 

Philander Smith University announced Dr. Earl Graham, Jr., Will chair the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Pastor Graham has served in several leadership positions. He was also a member of the faculty at Arkansas Baptist College.

 

Johnson C. Smith University announced Dr. Tomisha Brock will serve as director of bands and assistant professor of music. Dr. Brock is the president of the HBCU National Band and Orchestra Directors’ Consortium. She previously served as the director of bands for Clark Atlanta University and Elizabeth City State University. 

 

Paul Quinn College named Mr. James Stafford interim men’s basketball coach. Coach Stafford hails from Prairie View A&M University. He is an experienced coach who has served at Division I institutions.

 

North Carolina A&T University announced Ms. Aniis Hopkins will serve as the track and field program’s jumps and combined events coach. Coach Hopkins is an effective coach who achieved good results at the University of Las Vegas and at Long Island University.

 

Barber-Scotia College named Mr. Christopher Hinton vice president for recruitment and first year experience. Mr. Hinton is the executive director at TLC Learning Academy and has served as a professor of business.

 

 

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Grants and Gifts

Morgan State University won a $4,400,000 contract to provide pediatric nursing services support at five schools in Baltimore, Maryland. The contract with Baltimore City Public Schools will provide students with valuable learning opportunities and career exposure.

 

Prairie View A&M University received a $600,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to research the possibility that metallic oxide nanoparticles can improve the nutritional value of leafy green vegetables. The work is an important step in alleviating malnutrition.

 

Tennessee State University received a $2,300,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to address high mortality rates of new mothers in Tennessee. The university will use the award to launch a research center for the study of maternal health disparities.

 

Tuskegee University received a $25,000,000 grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The university will use the grant to develop healthy solutions for minority communities in the areas of obesity, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. The research will be shared with the community. The grant is the largest award the university has received. Dr. Deepa Bedi, who recently patented a method for identifying aggressive breast cancer cells, will be the lead.

 

Delaware State University will partner with Kansas State University, Clemson University, Cornell University, Louisiana State University the University of Florida, and international partners in South Asia, Eastern and Western Africa and Latin America in a $22,000,000 push to develop climate resilient crops. Delaware State University professors, Dr. Kalpalatha Melmaiee and Dr. Bertrand Hankoua will work on plant breeding and chemical analysis.

 

Researchers from Texas Southern University and the University of Texas Medical Branch will use artificial intelligence to study social and cultural barriers that stop people from getting cancer diagnoses in the early stages of the disease. The National Institutes of Health awarded $1,000,000 for the project.

 

The 1890 Universities Foundation was awarded a $35,000,000 US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry grant. Of that, $7,000,000 goes to the foundation and the remaining $28,000,000 passes through to the 1890 Land-grant institutions. South Carolina State University announced it would use its allocation to revitalize green spaces and restore native tree diversity in Orangeburg and Bamberg Counties.

 

Morgan State University received $2,400,900 from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The award is part of a 5-year initiative aimed at improving maternal outcomes for black women. Sixteen HBCUs will participate in the study. Dr. Kesha Baptiste-Roberts will lead.

 

Hampton University was awarded a $1,760,000 grant to enable the university to participate in cutting-edge fusion plasma research. The award from the Simons Foundation will be used to build an experimental stellarator in collaboration with scientists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

 

Texas Southern University received a $990,000 grant from Houston Endowment Inc., to increase participation in the electoral process. The grant will be used to launch the Institute for Voter and Civic Engagement. Dr. Michael O. Adams will serve as principal investigator and founding director.

 

Xavier University of Louisiana announced it received a $500,000 grant from Louisiana Healthcare Connections as part of its Equity in Health and Care Initiative. The funds and health data provided by Louisiana Healthcare Connections will be used to further academic research into health disparities.

 

Stillman College received a $500,000 grant from Google’s Cybersecurity Clinics Fund. The college will partner with Google to power its cybersecurity clinic and help other HBCUs establish their own. The cybersecurity clinic at Stillman College will offer free services to community organizations and small businesses in the mid-south—particularly focused on minority-owned businesses in Alabama and Tennessee.

 

Cheney University announced it received a $495,878 award from the US Department of Labor’s Critical Sectors Job Quality Grants Program. The award will be used to establish a winery management certification program in collaboration with Chaddsford Winery’s Vice President and General Manager, and the members of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail.

 

Morgan State University Clarence M. Mitchell School of Engineering was awarded a four-year $446,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research Aerospace Science Research Division. The award will be used to cultivate interest in engineering and Navy STEM educational programs in the Baltimore area. In line with this goal, faculty in the School of Engineering will develop programs for K-12 students and teachers. The initiative will also include post-secondary programs and internships and provide research opportunities for students and faculty. Dr. Oscar Barton, Jr., dean of the engineering school, will serve as the sole principal investigator.

 

Lincoln University (PA) received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an HBCU undergraduate center for forensic science. This is a step toward accreditation by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission. Dr. Thomas Gluodenis will serve as the principal investigator. The center will provide mentoring, internships and opportunities for interdisciplinary research and networking. 

 

Alabama State University announced it won a $203,696 competitive grant from the National Science Foundation. The funds will be used to acquire a state-of-the-art x-ray diffractometer. The device, which is used to analyze and measure the structure of materials, will enable advanced research and provide hands-on experience to students. Dr. Robert L. Green, chair of the department of physical and forensic sciences, will serve as the project’s principal investigator.

 

Johnson C. Smith University announced Dr. Harriette Richard received a $100,000 grant from Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Health. Dr. Richard, an associate professor of psychology, will use the funds to research the connections between body image and breast cancer in older black women who have had mastectomies.

 

 

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Kudos
 

 

Dr. Keisha Grayson Rogers received the 2023 Dr. Sylvia Walker Multicultural Award from the National Rehabilitation Association in recognition of her work in rehabilitation counseling and her dedication as an educator, practitioner, and leader. Earlier this year, Dr. Rogers received the 2023 Joyce Keener Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns. She is an associate professor at Winston-Salem State University.

 

Mr. Frank Stevenson was elected chair of the Metro Hospital Authority Board. Mr. Stevenson is vice president of student affairs and dean of students at Tennessee State University. He has been a board member for eight years.

 

In recognition of her community and volunteer work, Dr. Paula Groves Price received a Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award and Presidential Medal. Dr. Groves is dean of the College of Education at North Carolina A&T State University. The award was presented at North Carolina Central State University during a ceremony for regional awardees.

 

Clark Atlanta University Vice President for Enrollment Management and Retention Cherise Peters was named one of the 10 most influential women leaders in education  by CIO Views Magazine. In its detailed account of her career and life story, the magazine praised Ms. Peters for her dedication to students.

 

Dr. Denise Ferebee, an associate professor in computer science at Rust College, and her team had their research accepted for publication. Immersive Learning: Understanding the Psychology of Crime Using Virtual Reality, will be published by the Journal of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education. The paper examines the psychological aspects of cybersecurity and embraces a multidisciplinary approach to criminology.

 

Dr. Hideko Sera was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association as member-at-large. In her candidate statement, she expounded on the problems the nation will face in the future if students do not have equitable opportunities where they live. Dr. Sera is director of equity, inclusion, and belonging at Morehouse College. 

 

Arkansas Baptist College opened a health center on its campus. The Arkansas Baptist College Community Health Center will provide health care services to students and the surrounding community. The center will be operated by the Jefferson Comprehensive Care System Incorporated.

 

Bishop State College held the grand opening of a center for nursing and health sciences. The center is equipped with physical therapy labs and high-fidelity nursing simulation suites. The advanced technology will help prepare students to meet the growing demand for health professionals in the region.

 

Multiple health assessment stations were set up around campus during the Campus Health Committee’s inaugural health fair at Bethune-Cookman University. The committee is led by the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. Sandra Tucker. Services available included flu shots, and blood pressure and glucose level checks.

 

Ms. Ada Brown Belton, assistant vice president for alumni relations and advancement services for Benedict College, was selected as the 2023 Alumni Director of the Year by the National Black College Hall of Fame Foundation. A Benedict College alumna, she raised over $20,000,000 for the Alumni Fund Campaign during her tenure.

 

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) and the Pine Bluff School District organized a screening of The Right to Read. The event took place on the UAPB campus. The Right to Read is a documentary that addresses the problem of falling literacy levels in the US. A panel discussion, with executive producer LeVar Burton, producer Kareem Weaver, and director Jenny Mackenzie, was held after the screening.

 

Delaware State University’s Early Childhood Innovation Center was featured as a case study in a New America article on the relationship between the availability of quality cost-effective childcare and post-pandemic economic recovery and development. The case studies examined how states used the federal State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to bolster the childcare component of economic recovery.

 

Ms. Justine Boyd received accolades in the Atlanta Business Chronicle for her work at UNCF.  As assistant vice president, she curates the annual Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball, the UNCF’s largest fundraiser and a major social event.

 

Diverse Issues in Higher Education aired a video podcast on the Student Freedom Initiative founded by philanthropist Robert F. Smith. The funding alternative has expanded to include tribal colleges.

 

Norfolk State University partnered with Virginia Department of Health to host Creating Healthy and Equitable Communities, a conference where issues ranging from the escalation of Alzheimer’s Disease in vulnerable populations to methods of increasing and improving the health workforce in Virginia, were discussed.

 

Dr. David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University was awarded the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. The organization praised Dr. Wilson for increasing graduation rates, engaging adult learners, and innovative use of data-driven initiatives and analytics.

 

 

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Programs

Morgan State University signed an agreement with the Community College of Baltimore County to provide a dual admission option to students as a pathway to earning a bachelor degree. The program is called Degrees to Succeed and it includes co-advising, membership in the Morgan State University’s Transfer Mentor Program, application fee waiver, entrance into a scholarship competition, and access to select events and activities. 

 

Coppin State University entered into a transfer agreement with the Colorado Community College System’s Badge to Bachelor’s Degree Program.The agreement allows students who earn their associate degree at the community college to transfer to and  complete their bachelor degree at Coppin State University. Participants will be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates. The partnership is Coppin State University’s first out-of-state transfer agreement. 

 

Langston University is launching a new online bachelor of science in nursing degree program this spring. The program is aimed at registered nurses seeking to further their careers. It can be completed in nine or twelve months.

 

Central State University is offering a minor in computer hardware technology. The online program will provide students with advanced skills in enterprise resource planning, very large-scale integration (VLSI) design and fabrication, and  AI. The course was developed in collaboration with Intel. 

 

Wiley University announced it will offer three graduate programs: a master of business administration; a master of arts in criminal justice; and a master of science in higher education administration. The programs launch in January 2024.

 

Jackson State University announced a new round of projects in collaboration with Princeton University.  The university will participate in four projects: Green Solvent-Based Processing and Passivation of Metal Halide Perovskites for Solar Cell Application, The 2024 National Black Election Study, Sustaining Black History through a Regenerative Future: The Margaret Walker Center at JSU, and Optical Preparation and Read-out of Nanosystems Used for Quantum Information Applications. The initiative is funded by the Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation and was developed in partnership with UNCF. Princeton also partners with Spelman College, Prairie View A&M University, and Howard University.

 

Texas Southern University (TSU) and Wiley University signed an agreement to make it easier for Wiley's students to further their education at TSU. In addition to expedited transfer opportunities, Wiley students will be eligible to take courses at Texas Southern University over the summer and during the winter mini semester. The agreement also provides Wiley's students an opportunity to participate in TSU's educator preparation program. 

 

Earlier this year Nex Cubed, an investment firm specializing in funding underrepresented founders, launched the HBCU Founders Initiative. It recently announced it will partner with HBCU.vc, to train HBCU students and alumni. The partnership will provide HBCU.vc fellows with the opportunity to work with a venture capital firm.

 

The Association of International Certified Professional Accounts announced the start of Career Launchpad, a program for students interested in careers in accounting and finance. The program which utilizes AI, offers students advice and provides information on salaries, resume preparation and interview skills,  personal branding, and career choices. Membership is free.

 

 

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Federal Student Aid (FSA)

FSA published guidance effective for any Single Audit performed using the 2023 Compliance Supplement. The guidance provides an update to the student consent requirement. Normally, institutions are required to obtain student consent before activating an access device (like a bank card or a code) used for electronic funds transfer. Failure to maintain documentation sufficient to demonstrate compliance could result in an audit finding. However, because some financial institutions have declined to provide auditable information, auditors will not be required to perform the suggested audit procedure (b.(2) in the 2023 Compliance Supplement). This pertains to situations where an access device is provided to a student for school purposes other than electronic fund transfers ( ex. ID card) and after receiving the device, the student provides consent to the financial institution to validate it.

 

New information on suspension and debarment from participation in Federal Student Aid programs was made available. An indictment or evidence of an offense that would cause debarment automatically triggers a suspension. The suspension lasts a year or until any legal proceedings have concluded. Criminal convictions, civil judgments, evidence of irresponsibility, or willful violation of regulations can lead to debarment. Debarment goes into effect when and if the Deciding Official in the Department's Office of Hearing and Appeals determines it is warranted. The official determines the length of debarment, which is usually not more than three years. The Department published a list of individuals who are currently suspended or debarred.

 

The new FAFSA form will be available by December 31, 2023. 

 

The deadline for the cash on hand update for the Federal Perkins Loan Program is December 15, 2023.

 

Corrections to the FISAP must be made by December 15, 2023. Any institution unable to meet the deadline due to a recent major disaster should contact the FSA Partner and School Relations Center (1-800-848-0978 or CODSupport@ed.gov). Remember to click the submit button. Simply validating or saving a correction does not submit it to the Department.

 

The latest edition of SAIG software is required to transmit federal tax information for the 2024–25 award year. Software updates for EDconnect and TDClient are available on the software page of the FSA website.

 

The updated SAIG enrollment agreement is available. This update requires institutions to sign an acknowledgement of the criminal and civil penalties for the unauthorized inspection or disclosure of federal tax information.

 

FSA provided an outline and suggested text for 2024-2025 FAFSA verification. Institutions are not required to use the suggested text and formats, with the exception of the "Statement of Educational Purpose" (Appendix A ) for students who are placed in Verification Tracking Groups V4 or V5. That text must be used exactly as provided. Aside from that exception, institutions may develop and use their own text, forms, documents, statements, and certifications specific to the items required to be verified for a particular student or group of students.

 

FSA published a reminder to recognized institutional accrediting agencies that all adverse actions are subject to the Higher Education Act (HEA)  arbitration requirements. The notice also stated that the secretary will not recognize the accreditation or pre-accreditation of any institution that does not agree to submit disputes involving adverse actions to arbitration prior to taking any legal action.

 

Institutions impacted by a national emergency in a foreign country can take advantage of waivers offered by the Department. Under the CARES Act, the Department can waive limitations on distance education and written arrangements if a national emergency has been declared in the foreign country where the institution is located. This applies only to declared national emergencies. It does not apply to disasters or closures that are not part of a national emergency. The Department will consider granting waivers on a case-by-case basis upon request by an institution. The waiver, if approved, will be granted retroactively to the date a national emergency was declared. Unless the Secretary notifies an institution otherwise, the waiver will expire at the end of an institution’s first payment period that begins after the end of the declared national emergency.

 

FSA issued guidance regarding loan discharges under undue hardship claims in bankruptcy proceedings. The guidance is aimed at institutions that participate in the Federal Family Education Loan Parent Plus Loan and the Federal Perkins Loan Programs. Under the guidance, a loan holder can fulfill its regulatory requirements by evaluating the borrowers claim to determine whether full or partial discharge is recommended. In cases where the borrowers claim of undue hardship is not supported, the holder must determine if the cost of objecting to the claim will exceed the amount that would be discharged.

 

FSA requested comments on the proposed updates to the Privacy Act of 1974; Matching Program and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Request for Supplemental Information form.

 

The 2024-2025 College Financing Plan is available. The plan is a tool that institutions can use to notify prospective students about their financial aid package. Scroll down to see the list.

 

FSA posted a resource page for financial aid administrators, school counselors, college access professionals, and mentors. It includes links to webinars, a financial aid toolkit, FAFSA information, and social media content. Please note that the financial aid toolkit is not intended for distribution to students, parents, or borrowers. Please refer them to ED’s student aid website.

 

FSA issued a warning to research institutions about hackers targeting and exploiting Atlassian’s Confluence Data Center and Server. The attackers create an unauthorized administrator account to access Confluence instances so they can exfiltrate data. Institutions are advised to check their server version to see if it is a vulnerable one (CVE-2023-22515), upgrade your server, and conduct comprehensive threat detection.

 

 

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Events
Event: Federal Student Aid Training Conference
Date: Nov. 28 - Dec. 1, 2023
Venue: Virtual
More: Link

Event: SACSCOC Annual Meeting
Date: Dec. 2-5, 2023
Venue: Orlando, FL
More: Link

Event: MSCHE Annual Conference
Date: Dec. 4-6, 2023
Venue: Philadelphia, PA
More: Link

Event: Complete College Annual Meeting
Date: Dec. 10-12, 2023
Venue: Paris, NV
More: Link

Event: ATS Leadership Intensive
Date: Dec. 11-14, 2023
Venue: New Orleans, LA
More: Link

Event: CHEA Annual Conference
Date: Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2024
Venue: Washington, DC
More: Link

Event: ABHE Annual Meeting
Date: Feb. 14-16, 2024
Venue: Orlando, FL
More: Link

Event: The Integral Partnership for Innovation: Board and Administration Roles in Leading Accreditation
Date: On Demand (AGB Membership Required)
Venue: Virtual
More: Registration

Event: How to Start a Registered Apprenticeship
Date: Podcast
Venue: Virtual
More: Registration

Event: Strategies for Surviving Year-end Reporting
Date: On Demand
Venue: Virtual
More: Registration

Event: University Business Cybersecurity Webinar
Date: On Demand
Venue: Virtual
More: Registration

Event: What Works for Improving Mental Health in Higher Education?
Date: On Demand
Venue: Virtual
More: Watch

Event: Minding My Business is to Mind My Mind
Date: On Demand
Venue: Virtual
More: Watch

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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 consists of 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, email 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 serving privately held businesses and clients in the education, government, faith-based, and not-for-profit sectors. We specialize in higher education with a particular emphasis on minority-serving institutions. We hope you find this publication useful and welcome your feedback.
 
The Wesley Peachtree Group, CPAs


Atlanta Office:
1475 Klondike Road, Suite 100,
Conyers, Georgia, 30094
+1 404-874-0555
 
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Atlanta Office1475 Klondike Road, Suite 100, Conyers, Georgia, 30094


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