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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Friday, May 26, 2017

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

Federal Student Aid (FSA) fielded sharp questions during yesterday’s House hearing on improper payments, where lawmakers questioned everything from how effectively the agency is addressing the issue to how senior leaders at FSA are awarded bonuses for performance.

 Off the Cuff

This week on “Off The Cuff,” the team rehashes details from a busy week on Capitol Hill and within the Department of Education following the resignation of James Runcie, former chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid. Runcie’s resignation came less than two days before he was scheduled to testify before a joint hearing of two House Oversight subcommittees on improper payments with NASFAA President Justin Draeger and the Inspector General’s office. It was reported that Runcie resigned after a clash with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos concerning his requested appearance at the hearing. The Trump administration this week also released its proposed fiscal year 2018 budget, which included significant cuts to federal student aid and the elimination of several programs. Catch up on all the action this week. “Off The Cuff” is taking a one week hiatus—join us again on June 9 for our next episode.

NASFAA Office Closed May 29 for the Memorial Day Federal Holiday

The NASFAA office will be closed on Monday, May 29 for the Memorial Day federal holiday. The NASFAA website and other online services will still be available, but NASFAA's Today's News will not be sent and AskRegs and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Tuesday, May 30.

As a friendly reminder, Wednesday, May 31, is the last day to cancel your hotel room for the 2017 NASFAA National Conference without penalty. If you have had a change of plans and will not be needing the room, please go online to cancel your room. If you need to cancel your conference registration as well, complete the Conference Cancellation & Change of Attendee Form. If you do not cancel by 5:00 pm ET on May 31, you will be responsible for the full amount of the registration fees and will be billed.

HEADLINES

National News

"Members of Congress criticized the Education Department on Thursday over $6 billion in improper payments made as part of federal student aid programs," The Associated Press reports. NASFAA President Justin Draeger is quoted in the article.

"GOP lawmakers said Thursday they had planned to subpoena the former chief of federal student aid, Jim Runcie, to testify before a House of Representatives oversight subcommittee and may still do so," Inside Higher Ed reports. NASFAA President Justin Draeger is quoted in the article.

"Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told lawmakers Wednesday that her department will follow through on promises to provide loan forgiveness to borrowers who attended for-profit colleges found to have defrauded students," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"In the minds of parents and teenagers going through the college application process, May 1 is a magic date. At that point, you've sent in a deposit, bought a sticker for your car window and posted your choice on social media," The New York Times reports. "This year, however, scores of teenagers had something unexpected happen next: During the first week in May, they received text messages or emails from schools that had accepted them but had not heard back. The messages all hinted at a particular question: Might a larger discount prompt you to come here after all?"

Opinions

"Talking about the need to make a college-level education more accessible is common. Everyone understands that a college education is valuable and that many jobs list a degree as a requirement for applying, so those without a college degree are missing out on significant opportunities in the future. So, what does it actually take to make higher education accessible to a larger portion of the population? Affordability," Matthew Lynch writes for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

"In a rare display of political courage and bipartisanship last week, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) filed the Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act with Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.). This bill will return standard bankruptcy protections to all student loans, both federal and private. Katko is well ahead of the conservative curve on this issue and has a unique opportunity to revitalize the Republican party in the current session by stepping up to lead the fight on this," Alan Collinge writes for The Hill.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"The Trump administration is considering moving responsibility for overseeing more than $1 trillion in student debt from the Education Department to the Treasury Department, a switch that would radically change the system that helps 43 million students finance higher education," The New York Times' DealBook reports.

"The Trump administration wants to phase out a program designed to forgive student loans for graduates who work in public service, but student loan experts are telling borrowers not to panic," according to WGBH.

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