NIRSA’s Government Affairs Committee stays up-to-date on the latest federal and state policy and legislative news through a variety of scanning tools. One particular resource they use is the bi-weekly Policy Pages provided by Active Policy Solutions. (For more on this partnership, along with other SAHEC associations, have with Active Policy Solutions, see below.)

The policy issues included in the Policy Pages document are highlights of a point in time. They are by no means exhaustive and change continually – so matters discussed in the last issue normally will not carry over to the next unless there is some updated action to be discussed.

The Committee encourages NIRSA members to keep themselves informed on federal and state policy issues affecting their work as professionals on campuses. These issues could be specific to higher education, physical activity, or NIRSA’s strategic value areas. If you have an issue that is of concern to your campus, reach out the Government Affairs Committee.

Policy Page documents will be stored, as a resource for NRISA members, in the NIRSA Connect Community library. You can find them within the “Member Benefits” folder in a subfolder titled “Federal and State Policy Pages.”

Full SAHEC Policy Pages

In this issue:

Government Updates


  • Chairman Lamar Alexander’s Higher Education Plan supported by business groups, POLITICO reports
  • U.S. Department of Education selects colleges, companies for payment card pilot, POLITICO reports
  • White House signs off on final accreditation rule, POLITICO reports
  • Report: State and federal spending on higher ed has nearly converged
  • Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization priorities released by Congressional Tri-Caucus
  • Higher education free speech concerns of Liberty University raised by Congressmen in letter to U.S. Department of Education


  • DACA higher education impact report released

Federal Legislation

  • Improving Access to Higher Education Act (HR 4643) introduced
  • Opportunity to Address College Hunger Act (HR 4637) introduced
  • Transparency in Off-Campus Housing Act (HR 4648) introduced
  • Simplifying Student Loans Act (HR 4670) introduced
  • Protecting Undergraduates with Board Limitations from Influence and Conflicts (PUBLIC) Act (HR 4653) introduced
  • Accountability in Student Loan Data Act (HR 4662) introduced
  • Advancing Competency-Based Education Act (S 2608/HR 4706) introduced
  • Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act (S 2600) introduced
  • Pell Grant Sustainability Act (HR 4639) introduced
  • College Affordability Act (HR 4674) introduced
  • Equitable Student Aid Access Act (HR 4680) introduced
  • Students Not Profits Act (HR 4724) introduced
  • A bill to provide temporary authority to the Secretary of Education to reissue certain student loans to reduce interest rates paid by borrowers (HR 4749) introduced
  • A bill to amend title 11 of the United States Code to make student loans dischargeable (HR 4750) introduced
  • Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act (HR 4327) adds three new cosponsors
  • Higher Education Mental Health Act of 2019 (HR 3489) adds new cosponsor
  • Campus Prevention and Recovery Services for Students Act of 2019 (HR 3591) adds new cosponsor

Other Federal News

  • Roll Call: Will California’s ‘pay for play’ legislation prompt congressional action on college athletics?
  • Booker announces plans for federal bill based on California’s Athletics Fair Play Act that calls for the paying of college athletes
  • espnW and U.S. Department of State launch 8th year of Global Sports Mentoring Program

State & Local Government

  • Report looks at state fiscal support for higher education, 2018-19
  • Article looks at whether recent state laws to criminalization hazing has had the intended effect


  • California governor signs bill into law making it easier for high school students to attend community college in the summer
  • California abortion pill access required on public college campuses bill signed into law
  • San Francisco public employee travel ban list includes 22 states


  • Florida paying college athletes bill pre-filed for next year’s session


  • New Illinois mental health law provides guidelines for college counseling services


  • In Michigan lawmakers seek to eliminate requirement for concealed carry license

New York

  • New York’s free tuition program’s impact on private colleges and universities discussed in article


  • Tennessee bill would allow pregnant women to keep college HOPE scholarship post maternity leave

Education and Schools News

  • Higher education industry is ‘shrinking’ according to recent government report
  • Federal tax reform further complicates federal student aid form, Reuters reports
  • Brandeis University researchers release study on racial disparities in the student loan system
  • Civil liberties group launches new searchable database of campus due process litigation

Health & Wellness News

  • Article looks at community colleges eliminating mental health services on campus
  • Suicide rates on the rise at college campuses, prompts concerns over mental health care

Civil Rights News

  • Sexual violence persists on elite research campuses, report finds
  • Georgia Southern University defends book burning as student right

Sports News


  • Brain injury from concussion may linger longer than one year after return to play
  • Student athletes more likely to get concussions in games than practice, study shows
  • Concussion research from University of North Carolina found to be missing critical data

Full SAHEC Policy Pages

About NIRSA’s partnership with Active Policy Solutions

As an association, NIRSA strives to monitor and track policy and legislative issues with the potential to impact our members 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.

NIRSA has joined with a subset of SAHEC members (ACUHO-I, ACPA, ASCA, NASPA, and NIRSA) in hiring Active Policy Solutions to assist with monitoring, tracking, analyzing, and determining appropriate action on issues relevant to our associations. Through our partnership with SAHEC, NIRSA continues to monitor policy, legislation, and advocacy work that affects both the higher education and physical activity space. Active Policy Solutions provides government relations and advocacy support to NIRSA and the Association’s SAHEC partners.

  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships Erin O’Sullivan.
  • Want to share with your colleagues how this proposed legislation might impact your campus? Pitch us your ideas.
Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at | NIRSA Profile

Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA.