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ATIXA June 2021 Legislative Policy Corner

Office for Civil Rights Hearing on Protections for Students, Loan Repayment, Targeted Loan Cancellation Programs, and Other Higher Education Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced they will be holding public hearings on June 21, 23, and 24, 2021, to receive stakeholder feedback on potential issues for future rulemaking sessions for students, loan repayment, and targeted loan cancellation programs. Issues include borrower defense, repayment for students harmed by their colleges’ misleading practices, and gainful employment requirements to protect students and taxpayers from poor-performing programs. They also include loan repayment and improving the rules governing targeted student loan cancellation authorities for borrowers engaged in public service, with disabilities, or whose institutions close, among other topics.

Joseph Vincent, M.L.S., Senior Associate with TNG & Advisory Board Member, ATIXA will be testifying at the hearing on June 21, 2021 and submitting written comments to advocate for guidance to support developing a process to defer loan payments for victims of sexual violence who take a leave of absence from school. Following the hearings, the Department will solicit nominations for non-federal negotiators to serve on the negotiated rulemaking committees, which will convene in late summer 2021. ATIXA will be putting forth a member to be a part of the negotiated rule-making committee.

State News: Oregon State Legislature Increasing Oversight on Campus Sexual Assault and Discrimination

Last month, Senator Kim Thatcher (R-13), Representative Christine Drazan (R-39), and Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-55) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 30 (SJR 30) which would direct a joint committee to hold public hearings to study the culture, policies, practices, and procedures certain institutions use to prevent and respond to allegations of sexual and racial discrimination, harassment, and misconduct. It also authorizes the joint committee to subpoena witnesses and documents, in addition to permitting the committee to appoint one or more independent investigators to conduct audits of certain institutions.

ATIXA recently submitted a written letter to the Oregon Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee Senator Rob Wagner (D-19) requesting that he bring Senate Joint Resolution 30 up for a hearing immediately. SJR 30 would bring needed government oversight of Oregon institutions to improve safety on school campuses.

ATIXA is committed to ensuring Title IX best practices at the federal and state level through our Legislative policy efforts on behalf of our 7,200 members and Title IX Administrators around the country.