NIRSA strives to monitor and track policy and legislative issues with the potential to impact our members and/or the campus communities they serve. These issues are wide ranging and may pertain to higher education, employment law, physical fitness, or our strategic values areas.

By equipping members with the knowledge of emerging and ongoing issues that may impact their campuses, the Association hopes to empower members to come to the table with campus partners and contribute to informed conversations about higher education.

NIRSA, as a part of its work with other Student Affairs in Higher Education Consortium (SAHEC) members, has been working with Active Policy Solutions to monitor and track relevant policy issues.

After the recent US mid-term elections, APS has prepared a summary document highlighting what can be anticipated from the 116th Congress, with particular attention to issues impacting higher education.

See the full document

Some issues highlighted include:

  • Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization – Congress missed the September deadline to reauthorize the HEA and the incoming Congress will therefore be starting over in the new year. Previously put forth acts (e.g. Aim Higher Act) may be used as starting frameworks.
  • Overtime rule – Both the House Democrats and the current Administration have indicated interest in passing legislation in this area. In 2016, proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were of significant interest to those in higher education.
  • The value of higher education – In the past few years there has been significant partisan divide and discussion on the value of higher education in both government and the media. Based on voting patterns in the recent mid-term elections, this divide—and conversation—is expected to continue.
  • Transgender protections – While protections, under Title IX or otherwise, are unlikely to be restored at a federal level in the immediate future, more state-level initiatives to protect transgender individuals may be brought forward.

If you’re interested in exploring these or other issues further, or have questions about how these issues might affect your campus, you can reach out to a member of the NIRSA Government Affairs Committee. You can also submit your thoughts via survey.

Active Policy Solutions provides government relations and advocacy support to NIRSA and the Association's SAHEC partners. Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA; she can be reached at erin.osullivan@nirsa.org.