COVID-19 Legislative & Regulatory Updates
    June 18, 2020

    This page is designed to provide information on COVID-19 legislative and regulatory developments that may be relevant to your graduate programs and students. CGS will continue to update information as new legislation is introduced and regulatory guidance is released.


    CGS Resources following CARES Act Passage


    The CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) was signed into law by President Trump on March 27 as the third federal stimulus package responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. CGS Government Affairs has created the following resources to navigate various provisions in the law that impact graduate institutions and students. Resources may be updated or amended and should be considered working documents.


    Updated 6/17/2020: CGS Factsheet: CARES Act Grants to Students and Institutions

    This resource includes a short summary, FAQs, and CGS’s requests to Congress and the Administration on the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This document will be updated regularly as new information is made available.


    Updated 5/27/2020: CGS Factsheet: Immigration and International Graduate Students in COVID-19

    This policy resource includes FAQs, highlights additional issues requiring federal guidance, and CGS’s requests to the Administration on COVID-19 policy issues impacting international students and scholars.


    CGS Summary of Unemployment Provisions (UPDATED 5/7/20)

    CGS has compiled a summary of major unemployment compensation provisions in the CARES Act here. The summary details the purpose of the provisions, the terms of coverage and amounts, and the eligibility requirements for each. Possible implications for graduate students at the state and federal levels are included in the document.


    CGS Summary of Certain Financial Assistance Provisions 

    CGS has compiled a summary of certain financial assistance provisions in the CARES Act here. The provisions included are those most likely to have implications for graduate students, such as stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, grant aid, and federal student loans.


    COVID-19 "Phase Three" Stimulus Bill

    On March 25, Congressional leaders released legislative text of H.R. 748, the CARES Act, which would provide an over $2 trillion stimulus package primarily aimed at bolstering support for activities to address COVID-19. CGS has prepared a summary of higher education and research provisions here


    Individual COVID-19 Legislation 

    Aside from large stimulus packages, several lawmakers have introduced individual proposals to address more particular issues or to provide language that can be wrapped into a larger package. CGS has prepared a summary of these proposals here. 


    CGS Resources on the HEROES Act

    CGS Summary of Select Provisions in the HEROES Act (5/18/20)

    On May 15, the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800) as a framework for a fifth COVID-19 relief package. CGS has complied a summary of certain higher education and research provisions as a member resource.


    CGS's Requests to Congress and the Administration



    CGS Joins Letter Urging Senate Support Reopening Institutions (7/2/20)

    On July 2, CGS joined a higher education community letter requesting Senate support for costs of reopening institutions in the next COVID-19 supplemental funding package.


    CGS Comments responding to Chairman Alexander's June 9 White Paper (6/26/20)

    On June 26, CGS sent comments to Senate Help, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in response to his June 9 white paper titled “Preparing for the Next Pandemic." The Chairman's white paper addressed five recommendations for future preparation based on the U.S. response to COVID-19.


    CGS Joins Letter Requesting COVID-19 Limited Liability Protections (5/28/20)

    On May 28, CGS joined a community letter to congressional leadership requesting temporary and targeted liability protections to safeguard higher education institutions and their communities as colleges and universities work to safely reopen their doors.


    CGS Joins Letter Requesting Technical Changes to CARES Act (5/8/20)

    On May 7, CGS joined a higher education community letter to leadership of the House Education and Labor and Senate HELP committees requesting technical changes that would further improve provisions in the CARES Act. 


    CGS’s Requests for Future COVID-19 Legislation (4/17/2020)

    On April 17, CGS sent letters to House and Senate leadership outlining policy recommendations and requests to be adopted in future legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the association requests $46.6 billion to assist students and institutions, additional funding for federal research grants and extensions, suspending taxation on student grant aid and scholarship, making federal student loan and repayment terms more feasible, and outlining concerns related to the international graduate student community.


    Student and Institutional Financial Aid & Federal Student Loans


    CGS Joins Letter Requesting Additional Coronavirus Relief for Institutions and Students (5/29/20)

    On May 29, CGS joined a community letter to Senate leadership emphasizing the higher education community’s need for additional funding during the coronavirus emergency. The letter reiterates the $46.6 billion previously requested in an April letter CGS had also joined.


    CGS Supports the HEROES Act (5/14/20)

    On May 14, CGS joined a higher education community letter in support of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800). The bill provides approximately $3 trillion in economic relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


    CGS Joins Community Letters to House and Senate Requesting Relief for Student Loan Borrowers (4/20/2020)

    On April 20, CGS joined the higher education community on letters to the House and Senate requesting relief for student loan borrowers. The letters urge relief for borrowers until June 30, 2021, or until the unemployment rates remain below 8 percent for three consecutive months. Among the proposals include requests to continue the zero-interest deferred payments for borrowers and the suspension of collection activities for borrowers who have defaulted on any type of federal loan provided under the CARES Act and to extend the post-graduation grace period for students leaving school.


    CGS Joins Higher Ed Community Letters to House and Senate with Requests for next COVID-19 Package (4/9/2020)

    On April 9, CGS joined the higher education community on letters to the House and Senate requesting an additional $46.6 billion in emergency aid to institutions and students during the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Community Letter to Congress Calls for Emergency Aid for Students and Institutions (3/23/2020)

    On March 23, CGS joined the higher education community in sending letters to House and Senate leadership urging Congress to actualize emergency relief to students, colleges, and universities in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 


    Student Benefits and Health Services


    CGS Joins Community Letter on Expanding Broadband Access (6/5/2020)

    On June 5, CGS joined a letter led by EDUCAUSE to Congressional leadership on the importance of ensuring broadband access for students, which includes passage of the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act. This is particularly timely given the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the use of distance education.  


    CGS Joins the Higher Ed Community in Support of Additional Benefits for Student Veterans (4/13/2020)

    On April 13, CGS joined the higher education community on a letter supporting the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020. The bill would provide the Department of Veterans Affairs flexibility to address disruptions to veterans’ education benefits caused by COVID-19.


    Higher Education Community Advocates for Increased Telehealth and Telemental Health (4/2/20)

    On April 2, CGS joined a community letter urging state governors to temporarily suspend state-based licensing restrictions on health care and mental health care professionals to ensure access to sufficient health services (including those for students) during the COVID-19 public health emergency.


    Letter to House Leadership Regarding Veterans’ Online Education Benefits (3/19/20)

    Alongside 70 peer organizations, CGS urged House leadership to quickly pass the Senate’s bipartisan legislation, and in doing so, support student veterans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Immigration Policy & International Students


    Community Letter Requests Fall 2020 Guidance from State, DHS (7/2/20)

    On July 2, CGS signed a community letter to Dept. of State and Dept. of Homeland Security requesting updated guidance on international students for Fall 2020.


    CGS Letter to DHS and DOS on International Graduate Students (5/13/2020)

    On May 13, CGS sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State with recommendations and seeking additional guidance on issues related to the international graduate student pipeline during COVID-19.


    CGS Joins Community Letter to Agencies on Value of International Students (4/30/2020)

    On April 30, 2020, CGS joined 61 additional higher education associations on a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Labor expressing the value international students bring to the United States. This letter follows President Trump’s executive order to temporarily suspend immigration.




    Coalition Urges Additional Long-Term Support for NIH (4/27/2020)

    On April 27, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research coalition, of which CGS is a member, sent a letter requesting an additional $31 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help the United States recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Requested for future congressional emergency packages, the additional funding will address COVID-19-related research, short- and long-term investments to maintain and build the nation’s biomedical research enterprise, and continue NIH’s investments in disease research (coronavirus or other) through regular appropriations.


    Tax Policy


    CGS Supports the American Opportunity Student Tax Relief Act (5/6/2020)

    On May 7, CGS joined its higher education colleagues in supporting a bill introduced by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) that would ensure emergency grants to students from the CARES Act are not taxed and makes improvements to the AOTC program.


    CGS Joins Higher Ed Community Letter on the Taxability of CARES Act Emergency Grants for Students (4/21/2020)

    On April 21, CGS joined the higher education community in a letter to ensure CARES Act emergency student financial aid grants are not subject to taxation. 


    CGS Joins Higher Ed Community with Tax Policy Requests for Phase 4 (4/9/2020)

    On April 9, CGS joined over 30 other higher education associations on a letter to House and Senate leadership with tax policy requests for the next COVID-19 stimulus bill.


    Community Letter in Support of Above-the-Line Deduction (3/23/20)

    CGS joined a community letter commending Senator James Lankford (R-OK) for introducing an amendment to create an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving.  


    Regulatory Relief


    Higher Education Community Requests Regulatory Relief from Dept. of Ed. (3/24/20)

    CGS signed onto a community letter urging the Department of Education to temporarily halt further regulatory action with respect to Title IX and Sec. 117 foreign gift reporting.


    Recent Activity in Congress


    Republican Lawmakers Send Dear Colleague Letter Supporting International Students (6/2/2020)

    On June 2, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) led a Dear Colleague letter signed by 20 of his House Republican colleagues to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf demonstrating the powerful contributions of international students to the U.S. and urging preservation of Optional Practical Training (OPT).


    Bipartisan Letter from 181 Members of Congress Urges Research Funding in COVID-19 Relief Package (4/29/2020)

    On April 29, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) led 181 lawmakers in a Dear Colleague letter urging House Leadership to include $26 billion in the next coronavirus relief package for scientific and medical researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic.


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