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In This Month's E-News: August 2020

Higher education groups and others are hailing a decision by the administration to rescind planned rules that would have required students in the United States on certain visas to attend class in person or return home. The reversal came during a hearing before a judge in Boston presiding over a challenge to the rules filed by more than a dozen states and spearheaded by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had also filed suit after Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on July 6 it planned to publish a temporary final rule stating that “nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.” Healey called the proposed rule “senseless and illegal the minute it came out” and said that the “hundreds of thousands of international students across this country…enrich our institutions and strengthen our communities.” She vowed to “remain vigilant in protecting our international students from these harmful disruptions.” (7/16/20)

A device manufacturing firm in Pennsylvania has agreed to pay the government $70,000 to resolve False Claims Act allegations in connection with a National Science Foundation (NSF) award. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania alleged that Nascent Devices Inc. “improperly charged unallowable and unallocable costs toward the award, applied a significantly higher overhead rate to account for underspending, and provided false certifications on its final report cover page in 2015.” In the July 13 announcement, NSF Inspector General Allison Lerner said NSF expects award recipients to “abide by the award terms and conditions, including the federal cost principles. Expenses charged to grants must be allowable, allocable and reasonable. Similarly, awardees cannot significantly underspend awards and keep the surplus funds without consequence.” (7/16/20)

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