Congress Continues Negotiations on Competitiveness Legislation
House and Senate lawmakers continue their work in conference committee to iron out differences between House- and Senate-passed bills aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness, including through increased investment in federally funded research. Conferees are attempting to reach a final agreement by July 4. Additionally, it has been reported that several Republican senators have indicated that final legislation will have to bear closer resemblance to the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competitiveness Act than the House-passed American COMPETES Act. APLU continues to urge that lawmakers add $10 billion in supplemental funding for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Title IX Proposed Rule Expected in June
On May 20, the Department of Education (ED) announced that it will release a proposed Title IX rule in June. Last year, ED set April as a target deadline for release of a proposed rule on Title IX and campus sexual misconduct. The rule is expected to overhaul how institutions respond to sexual misconduct on campus. APLU has shared our principles for a new Title IX rule with the Department of Education and White House.
ED Releases New HEERF Guidance on Infrastructure Projects
The Department of Education released new HEERF guidance related to efforts to maintain campus operations and facilities as institutions recover from the pandemic. Specifically, the guidance addresses flexibilities related to the use of HEERF HBCU, MSI, and SIP ((a)(2)) grant funds for construction, renovation, and real property projects included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022.
The FAQ document notes that construction or renovation project must be connected to the purpose of the HEERF program, which is to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” Guidance provides several examples, including dorm facility expansion and remodeling to improve social distancing, renovating campus buildings to improve ventilation, and building new campus-based food pantries due to increased need as a result of the pandemic. The guidance is limited to HEERF (a)(2) funds and grant recipients.
HELP Committee Advances Paydar’s Nomination for Assistant Secretary
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions advanced the nomination of Nasser Paydar, the former president of APLU member institution Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department of Education by a vote of 15-7. The nomination will now go to the full Senate. In April, APLU sent a letter to Chair Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Burr (R-NC) in support of the nomination.