Reporter’s notebook

  • Oakley takes on new role
  • Evaluating CARES Act funding
  • IRS announces changes to child tax credit

Oakley takes on new role

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley will join the Biden administration in a temporary role, advising U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on higher education policy. The role is temporary, beginning July 26 and ending in the fall.

“Chancellor Oakley’s temporary assignment to work as a special advisor to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is a win for California and the nation, providing more opportunity to improve higher education policy and help millions of American families,” Board of Governors President Pamela Haynes said in a release.

“Eloy’s breadth and depth of experience will be of great value to President Biden and his team,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges.  “He is an unwavering and vocal advocate for students and knows first-hand the challenges and opportunities faced by the nation’s community colleges. His experience and passion for student success will be a great asset in his role as advisor the president and we hope will set the stage for increased support structures for community colleges and the nearly 12 million students they serve.”

Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales will serve as acting chancellor in Oakley’s absence.

Evaluating CARES Act funding

A new report looks at the successes and challenges related to CARES Act funding.

The report is from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and MDRC. College and university administrators were surveyed about how CARES Act funds were allocated and distributed. The groups also held administrator and student focus groups. The results of the surveys and focus groups were federal policy considerations and recommendations for institutions.

Federal policy considerations included basing the allocation formula on student headcount enrollment that includes distance education students.

“Basing the formula on FTE enrollment puts institutions that enroll higher proportions of part-time students at a disadvantage,” the report’s writers said.

Improved guidance and training from the U.S. Department of Education and clearer reporting requirements also should be considered. In addition, the allowable uses of funds broad.

Based on survey results, NASPA identified recommendations for institutions to consider to further build and strengthen their emergency aid programs. These recommendations included improving communication and clarity for students, ensuring equity is the guiding principle and delivering timely responses and payments to students.

IRS announces changes to child tax credit

The IRS is providing one-time advanced payments of the child tax credit. This will help many families get advance payments of the credit starting this summer – something that could benefit student parents.

The IRS will pay half the total credit amount in advance monthly payments. This began July 15. People will claim the other half when filing their 2021 income tax return. These changes apply to tax year 2021 only. Those who do qualify will receive up to $300 per child under age 6 and up to $250 per child ages 6 through 17.

Information about how to qualify for advance child tax credit payments is available on the IRS website.

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