The future of higher education: legislative updates and noteworthy industry changes

The future of higher education: legislative updates and noteworthy industry changes

The higher education landscape is constantly transforming. Learn more about the instructions for remitting your excess interest earned on Title IV dollars, access the Department of Education’s 2017 Program Review Guide for Institutions to prepare for your Title IV program review and read about updates to the year-round Pell Grant. Additionally, you can read more about updates regarding institutional reporting and internationalization at colleges and universities across the country.

Title IV excess interest

The Department of Education (ED) has issued an electronic announcement (EA) providing instructions for institutions returning excess interest earned on Title IV dollars to the federal government.

In the ED’s previously revised cash management rules, published in 2015, there was a provision that requires institutions to maintain Title IV Higher Education Act funds in an interest-bearing account. The provision allows institutions to keep up to $500 of interest earned on these funds. Any excess interest earned must be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) no later than 30 days after the end of the award year.

Because in early July 2017 the Department of Education will deactivate the G5 process for remitting excess interest, the remitting of excess Title IV interest must be completed to HHS by July 30. The electronic announcement (linked above) details how payments can be made and outlines other information to be included with the remitted interest.

2017 program review guide for institutions available now

The Department of Education will review your Title IV student financial assistance programs. Will you be ready?

ED recently published its 2017 Program Review Guide for Institutions. The guide outlines its objectives in conducting program reviews of Title IV student financial assistance programs, as well as the steps its review teams may take during an evaluation. It also includes resources, such as definitions to common terms and acronyms, and a list of issues program reviews have uncovered most frequently.

Update on year-round Pell Grants

In May, Congress passed the FY17 spending bill, providing funding for the restoration of year-round Pell Grants. The Pell Grant program is designed to allow students to maintain their academic progress in the summer. NACUBO has published “that schools can begin awarding these additional grants to eligible students starting July 1, as long as the institution is using 2017-18 award year dollars.” Funds from award year 2016-17 cannot be used for summer 2017 Pell Grants. Formal guidance from the Department of Education on year-round Pell Grants and applicable award years is scheduled to be released early this summer.

College Scorecard is here to stay. What does that mean for administrators?

Even though the College Scorecard was met with some hesitation, and even some opposition from universities, it appears the initiative is here to stay. While it has been applauded for reflecting transparency in higher education, it has also received some concern from institutions that take in high risk students, and subsequently, may receive a lower ranking as a result. Another concern and complaint is that the data is incorrect, but the current Administration has pledged to make updates to the system to ensure the metric tool is more accurate.

Report: internationalization efforts rise at colleges

According to a new report from the American Council on Education’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE), internationalization has accelerated on college campuses in recent years. The CIGE defines "comprehensive internationalization" as “a strategic, coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate international policies, programs and initiatives, and positions colleges and universities as more globally oriented and internationally connected institutions.”

The report also indicates that many of President Trump’s policy proposals could significantly impact opportunities for current international students, as well as the application pool of future international students. One such proposal would “ban entry into the United States from certain countries and [requires] a reconsideration of the H-1B visa.” According to the CIGE, these issues are the top focus of internationalization efforts in schools.

The study also found funding increased for supporting education abroad and international student recruiting. The amount of support international students receive when arriving on campus still concerned researchers, and while the analysis found that more institutions were offering “internationally focused professional development opportunities” for faculty, international engagement was still considered in promotion and tenure decisions in only one out of ten institutions.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly higher education experts can help, contact our team.

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