Department of Education Releases Memo on Expiring Temporary Student Eligibility for SNAP
The Department of Education (ED) released a memo last week detailing how institutions and state agencies can help students access basic needs support programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and Medicaid.
With the upcoming expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, temporary student eligibility flexibilities for SNAP will end. Institutions play a vital role in communicating this information to students and working to connect them with other basic needs programs for which they retain eligibility.
Federal Student Aid Sends Reminder to Institutions on Overhaul of FSAFA
The Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid sent a letter to college presidents, chancellors, and chief executive officers reminding institutions about the significant overhauls set to impact the financial aid system in the upcoming academic year, and urging institutional leaders to staff, train, and provide resources to aid offices.
The letter specifically points to the continued rollout of the FAFSA Simplification Act as well as the implementation of the FUTURE Act, which will both alter the current systems and procedures schools use to award federal student aid.
Department of Education Releases NPRM on Title IX and Athletics
ED issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the application of Title IX to athletics teams limited to male or female participation. The proposed regulation would permit a school to adopt or apply criteria that would limit or deny a student’s eligibility to participate on a male or female team consistent with their gender identity if those criteria are substantially related to the achievement of an important educational objective.
The proposed regulation would also require a school to minimize harms to students whose participation on teams consistent with their gender identity would be limited or denied. One-size-fits-all policies that ban transgender students from participating consistent with their gender identity across all sports, age groups, and levels of competition would not satisfy the proposed regulation. ED’s factsheet provides that schools maintain flexibility to develop team eligibility criteria “that serve important educational objectives, such as ensuring fairness in competition or preventing sports-related injury.”
Department of Education Announces Delay Implementation of Third-Party Servicers Guidance
ED announced it would delay federal guidance on third-party servicers, shifting implementation to six months after publication of a new guidance letter. ED notes receiving more than 1000 comment letters, which are under consideration as it crafts new policy. Further, the announcement details areas of concern for the higher education community in which it does not consider applicable to the TPS requirements and areas in which it will work to narrow the policy. ED also removes the foreign ownership component of the policy guidance while noting the issue will be considered under negotiated rulemaking.
APLU raised concerns about unintended consequences of overly broad guidance and will continue to engage the Department as it works to refine the guidance as well as conduct negotiated rulemaking.
APLU Submits Written Testimony in Support of Ag Funding
APLU submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies in support of the Department of Agriculture’s research, Cooperative Extension, and education programs funded through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
The testimony reiterates APLU’s FY24 appropriations priorities and highlights the return of $20 for every $1 invested in U.S. agriculture research and Cooperative Extension. Despite this return on investment, NIFA support has been flat in real dollars, resulting in destabilization of the very system the U.S. relies on to cultivate agricultural leaders, reinforce domestic preparedness against pests and diseases, and ensure the U.S. leadership in global food security and technology.
APLU Joins Higher Education Community Letter in Support of Postsecondary Student Success Grants
APLU joined over 20 higher education organizations and institutions in sending a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education leadership in support of at least $165 million for the Postsecondary Student Success Grant program in FY24. The letter notes that increased funding for the program will position more institutions to increase college completion.
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