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Education

Education Department Reconsidering State Authorization Rule Changes

For the third time in a decade, Department of Education officials are attempting to change the state authorization regulations for distance learning. Department officials want to simplify the rules for online programs operating in multiple states. Earlier in January, officials proposed eliminating Obama-era rules that required institutions with online programs to show they are authorized to operate in each state with enrolled students who receive federal financial aid. Scrapping the rules falls in line with the Trump administration’s deregulation agenda, but recent talks with the distance learning and educational innovation subcommittee ended with department officials walking back the proposal to remove the. Read More.

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AICPA Committee Issues Revised Exposure Draft on Independence Requirements for Governments

The Professional Ethics Executive Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”) has issued a revised exposure draft on the independence requirements for state and local governments. Published as  Proposed Interpretation: State and Local Government Client Affiliations (formerly Entities Included in State and Local Government Financial Statements) , the exposure draft features significant changes to the original July 2017 proposal, which aims to replace current interpretive guidance in “Entities Included in State and Local Government Financial Statements.” The AICPA is proposing the amendments to address concerns regarding an accountant’s independence on a financial statement attest client that is a state or local government entity. Since existing interpretation does not specify when accountants should review the “Conceptual. Read More.

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Tax Reform’s Impact on Colleges and Universities

One year after the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, colleges and universities are still reeling from tax reform. Higher education leaders have sought guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department concerning key issues like the excise tax and Opportunity Zones. Institutions are uncertain of the long-term impact the new tax laws will have on donors. While a drop in major donations could be a problem for some institutions, some experts are skeptical that wealthier donors will close their wallets because of tax reform. More on tax reform’s impact on colleges and universities is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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Retirees Secure Housing Spots at Arizona State

A new housing complex set to open at Arizona State University next year will include a surprising group of college students. Senior citizens have reserved their spots at the on-campus housing that will serve as a retirement community with a college twist. Residents will be free to enroll in classes, use campus facilities, and mentor younger students. Arizona State’s housing complex catering to senior citizens reflects a rising trend of privately-owned, on-campus retirement communities. More on Arizona State’s retirement community is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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California Community Colleges Reject Tuition-Free Plan

Amid concerns about high default rates, several California community colleges are rejecting the state’s plan that offers in-state students one year of free tuition. California awards community colleges free tuition aid for participating in the plan, but institutions like Barstow College and Imperial Valley College disagree with the mandate requiring participation in the federal student loan program. The San Bernardino district referenced the recent high federal loan default rate among borrowers at its colleges for rejecting participation in the tuition-free plan. Meanwhile, California Community College system officials oppose the move and believe colleges that aren’t taking part in the federal. Read More.

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Colleges Told Not to Worry About GDPR Compliance

Six months after the European Union announced the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), U.S. colleges and universities are still unsure how to comply with the data protection and privacy rules. To ease concerns, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lawyer Esteban Morin recently advised university IT leaders not to panic if they are just beginning to develop a compliance plan. He noted that many institutions and companies are still starting their compliance efforts and the European Union is struggling to enforce its GDPR rules. However, Morin warned institutions not to be complacent and expect enforcement of the data-privacy rules in the next. Read More.

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