The future of higher education: Fall 2017 legislative and industry updates

Trump Administration Announces End to DACA. The administration announced on September 5 that it will fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides temporary relief from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who have been in the United States since childhood. See also our article in this issue: Potential impacts of DACA repeal.

IRS Clarifies TIN Checkbox Instructions. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an updated Publication 1220, which includes specifications for filing the Form 1098-T. On page 86, the IRS updated instructions that clearly state the checkbox is for soliciting the student’s taxpayer identification number (TIN), not its accuracy. The description specifies the checkbox should be marked regardless of whether an institution performed the TIN solicitation in the current year or not.

Federal Register
On August 30, 2017, the Department of Education announced that it is establishing two negotiated rulemaking committees to prepare proposed regulations for the Federal Student Aid Programs authorized under Title IV.  Two committees will be formed – Committee 1 – Borrower Defenses and Financial Responsibility Issues and Committee 2 – Gainful Employment Issues.

The Financial Responsibility subcommittee for Committee 1 will discuss whether or how the FASB’s recent changes to the accounting standards for financial reporting – ASU 2016-14 “Presentation of Financial Statement of Not-for-Profit Entities” create a need for modifications to the Department’s financial responsibility regulations. The three ratios used to compute the institutions’ composite score will need to be revisited as terminology and changes to certain definitions within these ratios will need to be defined. Topics for the second committee will be looking at the debt-to- earnings rates measure, sanctions, and reporting and disclosure regulations in 34 CFR part 668.41.

OMB Releases FY19 R&D Budget Priorities. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), together with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has released a memo outlining the Trump administration’s FY19 research and development priorities. The agency directive outlines five areas of federal research to receive priority: military superiority, security, prosperity, energy dominance, and health. The memo advises federal agencies to increase their efficiency, without receiving additional funds, by modifying or eliminating programs that could move "more efficiently through private sector R&D."

Judicial Action
Federal Judge Strikes Down Overtime Rule. On August 31, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the Obama administration's overtime rule is invalid.