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APLU Submits Response on Free Inquiry Rule
Last week, APLU submitted responses to the Department of Education on two components of the “free inquiry rule,” the Request for Information (RFI) on First Amendment litigation and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) repealing restrictions on public colleges and universities regarding student organization governance.

In its letter on the RFI, APLU urges the Biden administration to repeal the prior administration’s regulations tying an institution’s Department of Education funding (not including Title IV) to the outcome of First Amendment litigation. On the NPRM, APLU expressed support for the administration’s proposed regulatory repeal.

APLU also joined with the higher education community in submitting comments on the First Amendment litigation and student organization governance issues.

APLU, Higher Education Community Send Letter in Support of Double Pell
APLU joined over 100 higher education organizations in sending a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Chairs and Ranking Members in support of the Pell Grant program, with the goal of increasing the maximum Pell award to $13,000. The letter notes the progress Congress has made over the last three years in increasing the maximum award by more than $1,000 and the ability of the Pell Grant program to make college more affordable and lower student debt burdens for millions of students. 

FAFSA Roadmap Released, Timeline for 2024-25 FAFSA Launch
The Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) published the Better FAFSA Better Future Roadmap, an implementation timeline that includes resources, guidance, and training materials for students, parents, institutions, and other stakeholders.

The Department of Education announced the 2024-25 FAFSA will be rolled out in December 2023 – a delay from the typical October release.

The delay has raised concerns across campuses. Hopefully, clarity around the timeline and publication of the FAFSA Roadmap will provide some guidance for campuses to begin planning for the rollout, although the delay presents challenges. The FSA Knowledge Center has been updated with the electronic announcement, Roadmap, and FAFSA Simplification page.

APLU, Other Higher Education Organizations Send Letter on Third-Party Servicers
APLU, the American Council on Education, and thirteen other higher education organizations joined in submitting comments to the Department of Education as ED considers possible changes to guidance on the incentive compensation prohibition and bundled services exemption for regulated entities known as third-party servicers, and in particular when organizations that provide student recruitment services fall into this category.

The letter calls for greater clarity regarding the variety of third-party servicers and bundled services arrangements before considering changing guidance on these servicers.

APLU Joins Higher Education Community Letter on Proposed USCIS Fees
APLU, the American Council on Education, and 20 other higher education organizations joined in submitting comments on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ proposed fee rule.

The letter highlights the adverse impacts on international students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and on institutions hiring highly skilled professionals. The letter calls for USCIS to waive the $600 asylum program fee imposed on Form I-129 (petition for nonimmigrant workers, used by H-1B and O-1, high skilled and extraordinary ability individuals) and Form I-140 (immigrant petition for alien workers, used by EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 individuals with extraordinary ability or advanced degrees seeking permanent residence in the U.S.) filers for institutions of higher education. 

OSTP Report on Advancing American Bioeconomy
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently released a new report, Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing, to advance the American bioeconomy. The report is accompanied by a factsheet and Department of Defense strategy brief. The release of the report signals the beginning of the next stage of the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, in which OSTP will develop and implement a plan to address research and development needs outlined in the report. 

Council on Governmental Affairs Awards
APLU’s Council on Governmental Affairs announced the winners of two awards. Ashley Fumiko Dominguez, of UCLA, received the CGA Emerging Leader Award in recognition of her early leadership, involvement, and exceptional contributions to the field of public university governmental relations. 

Jon Clark (U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) was awarded the CGA Exemplary Public Service Award in recognition of his exemplary leadership, service, and commitment to the student veteran community at public universities. 

Image of CGA Award recipients.

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