Institutions of higher education and the students and community members our coalition serves have faced significant challenges this past year. In our mission, we express that CUMU is dedicated to our member institutions and we accomplish this mission through idea exchange, engagement, public service and advocacy.

Hundreds of leaders from across the CUMU membership learned and connected with one another during fall 2020 for our inaugural Learning & Sharing Virtual Series, providing best practices and strategies to navigate multiple crises. On a more macro level, and more behind the scenes, CUMU has been meeting with other higher education association leaders through the Washington Higher Education Secretariat (WHES), and CUMU has signed on to many advocacy documents prepared by the American Council for Education (ACE) and other organizations. All of these letters express support for initiatives aimed to support student and institutional success and sustainability amid periods of uncertainty. We also signed onto letters advocating against legislation that would hinder success or stall progress for students and institutions.

This inventory includes advocacy documents CUMU signed onto, on behalf of the CUMU membership, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. We will continue to share links as we sign on to them.

2021 Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

February 10, 2021: Letter to Acting Secretary of Education on Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (PDF)
ACE and other higher ed associations ask for clarification that emergency relief funds in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 can be used to help all students, including undocumented and international students.

January 29, 2021: Letter to President Biden-How Colleges and Universities can Help with the Federal COVID-19 Pandemic Response
In this letter to President Joe Biden, ACE and 37 other higher education groups outline some tangible ways that colleges and universities with sufficient capacity and resources could volunteer to contribute to this critical national endeavor.

January 28, 2021: Letter to Acting Secretary of Education on Higher Education Relief Funds
ACE and other higher ed associations ask for clarification that emergency relief funds in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 can be used to help all students, including undocumented and international students.

2020 Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

December 2, 2020: Letter to Congressional Leaders on COVID-19 Relief for Higher Education
The CARES Act was vital to keeping students enrolled and colleges running in the spring. But the scope of the financial duress has grown, and colleges and universities now have at least $120 billion in new expenses and lost revenue

December 1, 2020: Request to the Department of Labor to Withdraw the RFI on Race and Sex Stereotyping
Letter to the Department of Labor asking for the Request for Information regarding the Trump administration’s Executive Order on “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” be withdrawn.

November 20, 2020: Request to Extend Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers
Letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking for an extension of the current suspension of payment and zero percent interest for federal student loan borrowers and the suspension of collections on defaulted loans during the pandemic.

November 19, 2020: Executive Action Priorities for Higher Education under the Biden Administration
Letter to the Biden-Harris transition team on the Trump administration’s executive actions of concern to students, educators, and institutions that could be reversed by the Biden administration.

October 26, 2020: Comments on Proposed Rule on International Student Exchange Visitor Duration Status
Comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expressing strong opposition to the proposed rule “Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media.”

October 8, 2020: Request to Withdraw Trump Administration’s Executive Order Restricting Diversity Training
Letter to President Trump from ACE and 54 other associations requesting the administration to withdraw the recent executive order titled “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” which has caused enormous confusion on campuses and beyond.

September 25, 2020: Letter to House Leaders on Fall COVID-19 Emergency Relief Bill
Letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting that any new COVID-19 supplemental funding bill include at least $120 billion for higher education in order to partially mitigate the challenges that students and institutions are facing.

August 5, 2020: Letter to Congress on Higher Education Needs in the Fifth COVID-19 Emergency Spending Bill
Letter to House and Senate leaders expressing the views of colleges and universities on what student and institutional aid provisions should be included in the fifth COVID-19 spending bill

July 29, 2020: Letter to Congressional Leaders Requesting Liability Protection During the COVID-19 pandemic
Letter in support of the Safe to Work Act, which provides temporary and targeted liability protections related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 29, 2020: Request for Senate to Extend Relief for Student Borrowers
Letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority leader Chuck Schumer requesting an extension of the student loan borrower relief provided in the CARES Act.

July 22, 2020: Letter to DHS on ICE Directive for International Students
Letter from ACE and other higher education associations to the Department of Homeland Security asking for clarification on the withdrawn Immigration and Customs Enforcement directive and the status of international students.

July 22, 2020: Letter to the Senate on Effective Implementation of COVID-19 Emergency Supplemental Funds
Letter to Senate leadership encouraging Congress to give careful consideration to ensure that any new initiatives in the next COVID-19 supplemental appropriations act are implemented effectively by the Department of Education.

June 5, 2020: Letter to House and Senate Leaders about addressing student broadband access.

June 3, 2020: Letter to the Senate HELP Committee on Reopening Campuses
Letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in advance of its June 4 hearing on reopening campuses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 29, 2020: Letter to congress about priorities for COVID-19 spending bill
Request from ACE and 83 other higher education associations requesting $46.6 billion in support for students and institutions in the fifth COVID-19 spending bill.

May 14, 2020: Letter to the House on the HEROES Act
Letter to House leadership in support of the Health, Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act.

April 21, 2020: Letter to Congress on the Taxability of Emergency Student Financial Aid Grants
Letter to House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees requesting that the emergency student financial aid grants authorized by the CARES Act are not subject to taxation.

April 2, 2020: Letter to Secretary DeVos on Distributing Funds in the CARES Act
Letter to Secretary Betsy DeVos on the need to distribute the higher education emergency relief funds included in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as soon as possible.

March 20, 2020: Letters to Senate and House on Higher Education Priorities in Supplemental Spending Bill
Letter to Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy outlining how the federal government can assist students, educators, and institutions in recovering from the impact of COVID-19. Letter to Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer outlining how the federal government can assist students, educators, and institutions in recovering from the impact of COVID-19.