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Washington Update

Update on Biden Administration Student Loan Debt Cancellation
On August 24, the Biden administration announced its intention to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for single borrowers making less than $125,000, or married borrowers with incomes under $250,000. For students who received a Pell grant in college, the administration intends to cancel $20,000 in student loan debt.

Over the weekend, the Department of Education (ED) released a new FAQ page on the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) providing a timeline and additional details on the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan. According to the FAQ, an online form to apply for debt cancellation will be made available in early October 2022. ED anticipates it will take between 4-6 weeks to process applications.

ED will be launching a campaign encouraging borrowers to complete the form prior to November 15, 2022, to ensure debts are cancelled before loan payments resume in January 2023. Borrowers will have until December 31, 2023 to apply for student loan debt relief. (This timeline is subject to change, depending on the anticipated court challenges.)

We understand that campuses have been receiving many questions from current and former students, as well as faculty and staff, on the announcement. APLU is in contact with ED officials on the status of implementation and will continue to share information and updates as they are available.

President Signs 85/15 Legislation into Law
On August 26, President Biden signed the “Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022″ into law (S. 4458), which updates 85/15 Rule requirements. Specifically, the bill exempts accredited schools from 85/15 requirements if their GI Bill student enrollment is lower than 35 percent of the total student population.

According to a recent communication from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), if the VA has already granted an institution a 35 percent Reporting Exemption as part of the October 1, 2021 reset, no action is required. Alternatively, if an institution submitted a 35 percent Reporting Exemption to VA since the October 1, 2021 reset, it does not need to reapply.

Finally, if an institution did not meet the deadline to report and submit the associated application for a 35 percent Reporting Exemption, they must submit one using VA Form 22-10216, “35 percent Exemption Request From 85/15 Reporting Requirement.”

Federal Register Notice on Research Disclosure Forms
On August 31, the National Science Foundation (NSF) published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments on new common disclosure forms to be used across federal agencies for individuals applying for federal research grants. NSF is the lead agency for the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) process and is soliciting comments on several documents, among them the common disclosure form and an excel spreadsheet that summarizes all of the data elements that will be collected in the new form. NSF posted all of the information and background on its website.

As background, in January 2022, the Biden administration published guidance for federal agencies to implement NSPM-33 related to research security. As instructed, federal agencies have been working through the NSTC Research Security Subcommittee to develop consistent disclosure requirements for federally funded researchers and common disclosure forms for the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending (Other) Support sections of applications for federal grants or cooperative agreements. OSTP posted a blog outlining the NSTC process and engagement with the scientific community.

Public comments on the new disclosure forms are due on October 31, 2022. APLU is analyzing the proposal and considering submitting comments.

Department of Homeland Security Issues DACA Final Rule
On August 24, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the Department issued a final rule on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that allows certain eligible noncitizens who arrived in the U.S. as children, deferring their removal and providing access to a renewable work permit. The rule largely codifies the program as written in a 2012 policy memo and will go into effect on October 31, 2022. However, under a July 2021 injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas that remains in effect, DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests or employment authorizations and may only grant DACA renewal requests.

Commerce Publishes CHIPS for America Strategy
The Commerce Department published its strategy for implementing the CHIPS for America fund. The $52 billion fund includes $28 billion for domestic production of logic and memory chips, $10 billion to expand capacity for current generation chips and conductors, and $11 billion for a new National Semiconductor Technology Center. Commerce will be releasing funding documents with specific application guidance for the program by February.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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