- AAU President Welcomes Federal Court Ruling Affirming Diversity in Harvard Admissions
- AAU, Associations Submit Comments on Endowment Excise Tax
- Decision Issued in Net Neutrality Case
- AAU Staffing Announcement
- Budget and Appropriations Update
- Upcoming Events
AAU PRESIDENT WELCOMES FEDERAL COURT RULING AFFIRMING DIVERSITY IN HARVARD ADMISSIONS
President Mary Sue Coleman released a statement Wednesday applauding Tuesday’s federal court ruling in the Harvard admissions case, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. The court unambiguously confirmed that Harvard’s narrowly tailored consideration of race and ethnicity as one factor in its admissions review follows the principles the Supreme Court set out in Fisher II. “As someone who has long fought for inclusive admissions,” said President Coleman, “I applaud Harvard for its commitment to focusing on the whole person in admissions and creating a diverse community that fosters learning.”
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS SUBMIT COMMENTS ON EXCISE TAX ON ENDOWMENT EXCISE TAX
AAU Tuesday joined NACUBO, ACE, and eight other higher education organizations on a letter to IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Janine Cook and U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Tax Policy Attorney-Advisor Elinor Ramey to express strong opposition to, and offer comments on, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on implementation of the “endowment” excise tax. This is a 1.4 percent tax on the net investment income (NII) from certain private university endowments and other investments. The proposed rule seeks to implement the provision included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
In the letter, the organizations recommend the following: do not treat colleges and universities identically, rather than similarly, to private foundations for purposes of implementing rules related to the new excise tax; exclude income derived from institutional student loans in the calculation of NII; exclude student housing payments from “rents” treated as NII; remove the proposed 1.5 percent safe harbor as a benchmark for cash that an institution may exclude from its non-charitable use assets in determining whether it is subject to tax and instead permit institutions to make a determination of their reasonable cash needs; and remove proposals requiring institutions to gather basis information from donors of gifts of appreciated property as well as from partnerships.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: College and University Endowments
DECISION ISSUED IN NET NEUTRALITY CASE
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Tuesday issued its ruling in Mozilla v. FCC. The decision upholds the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which repealed the Obama Administration FCC’s net neutrality rules. The ruling also declares, however, that the FCC erred when it asserted that states cannot pass their own net neutrality laws, while leaving open the possibility that the FCC could try to block state efforts on a case-by-case basis.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: Higher Education Organizations Submit Amicus Brief on Net Neutrality
AAU STAFFING ANNOUNCEMENT
Associate Vice President for Federal Relations Amy Scott is leaving AAU at the end of the month. For the last 14 years, Amy has been an integral part of the AAU staff and the higher education community. She has made important contributions to the association’s policy and federal relations activities on a diverse set of issues, including visa and immigration policy; NSF, NASA, and DOE policy and appropriations; export controls; and international issues. Amy’s last day with AAU is October 31. We wish her well in her future career endeavors.
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
The president last week signed into law a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels through November 21. This gives lawmakers more time to wrap up the ongoing FY20 appropriations process and prevent a second government shutdown this year.
Congress currently stands in recess until October 15. The Senate has not considered any FY20 appropriations bills on the floor, but the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved 10 of 12 measures. As of August 1, the House Appropriations Committee had advanced all 12 FY20 spending bills and the chamber had passed 10. The House must still cut $15 billion in non-defense spending and increase defense spending by $5 billion in their appropriations measures.
Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has said that impeachment proceedings may affect regular order in the Senate, and force “more and more continuing resolutions.” Shelby Friday met with President Trump to discuss a bipartisan pathway forward on the appropriations process. Both Shelby and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have called for floor votes on spending bills and a bicameral deal on allocations for all bills soon after Congress returns from recess.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table (UPDATED)
OCTOBER 7 NEH 2019 JEFFERSON LECTURE IN THE HUMANITIES; 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. ET. Warner Theatre, 513 13th Street NW. For more details and to register, click here.