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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Friday, December 8, 2017

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

 Off the Cuff

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan address questions that arose following the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Training Conference, including personally identifiable information (PII), conflicting information and 400 and 401 codes, and the future of the mobile FAFSA application. Justin, Megan, and Allie recap highlights from the House Republicans' recently-released Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, and Allie shares a dispatch from the first of three negotiated rulemaking sessions for gainful employment. Plus, the team discusses a potential government shutdown and how lawmakers hope to avoid that situation, as well as how DACA is influencing discussions.

This article is the first in a series that address Title IV-related issues contained in the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act released by House Republicans on Dec. 1, 2017. These articles will follow up the brief overview of the bill published in Today’s News on December 4. This article focuses on need analysis, state authorization, accreditation, and program review timeframe. The second article in this series will explain the proposals related to federal student loans. Other forthcoming articles in the series will focus on Pell Grant proposals, work-study proposals and general provisions.

Congress Clears Two-Week Spending Stopgap

In the absence of a long-term funding deal for federal fiscal year 2018, which funds student aid programs for award year 2018-19, the House and Senate Thursday passed a two-week continuing resolution to continue federal spending at current levels until December 22 as leaders continue to negotiate a deal. With only two weeks to address deep disagreements among Democrats and Republicans regarding spending caps, Affordable Care Act cost-sharing subsidies, defense spending, the debt ceiling, and DACA, the potential for a government shutdown may increase dramatically as Congress nears that date. Stay tuned to Today's News for continued coverage of the budget and appropriations process.

Day four of the first of three sessions to rewrite federal gainful employment (GE) regulations began with a moment of silence to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and to honor those who have served, as well as those who are currently serving in the armed services. The group then moved on to the final remaining issue for discussion — program information disclosures — beginning with the question of what types of information should be included in disclosures.

NASFAA members from Utah, Washington, and Oregon institutions met with congressional staff members on Capitol Hill Thursday to urge lawmakers to block harmful proposals in the House Republican bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and support a year-round Pell Grant.   

NASFAA U

Upcoming NASFAA U facilitated online courses are available for registration. Offerings include Verification, Return of Title IV Funds, Cash Management, and Administrative Capability. Successful participants in each course earn the opportunity to test for a credential in the course topic at no additional cost. A combined Need Analysis and Professional Judgment course starts in April, and includes the testing opportunity in both topics. These engaging learning opportunities allow you to become more skilled, more experienced, and more respected by your colleagues, while working towards earning a professional credential from NASFAA. Take a look at all the classes to be offered.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The Department of Education is pleased to announce the release of the indexed version of the 2017-2018 Federal Student Aid Handbook.

HEADLINES

National News

"Since she was 2, Alexis Barries has bounced from foster home to group home to finally, a place of her own. She's got dreams of becoming an attorney, and even started college early, at 16," PBS reports. "Eight years and five community colleges later, the Californian is still a freshman, working her way through school at an exceedingly slow pace, punctuated by a frustrating series of stops and starts, from financial aid snafus to housing mix-ups. Without an adult to help her figure things out, she says, the obstacles she encountered took on Kafkaesque proportions."

"Only the most diligent students would find this proposal. But it could end up affecting millions of student loan borrowers," MarketWatch reports. "Tucked away on page 464 of a more than 500-page bill that aims to overhaul the higher education and student loan system is a provision that would prevent states from regulating student loan servicers and roll back rules already on the books in some states to monitor those companies."

"Alex Shebanow is an unlikely scourge of for-profit education. He's not an academic or a professional policy wonk. He isn't even 30 yet. But as director of the new documentary film Fail State, he goes after for-profit colleges with a ferocity that belies an otherwise gentle demeanor," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

State News

"Grace McDonald is not worried about getting into college — she's worried about paying for it," the State Journal-Register reports. "Grace, a senior at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School is mostly paying for her own college education. Her parents have agreed to pay for the equivalent of SHG's tuition, but Grace has to pay for the rest. As a result, she only applied to schools she is confident she will get into, 11 in all."

"At Penn, the decision to move off campus already comes with strenuous cost calculations and complicated logistics for many students. Now, however, the University's changing financial aid policies for off-campus living are making these calculations even more complicated," The Daily Pennsylvanian reports.

"With thousands of college students about to finish their first semester under New York State's Excelsior Scholarship Program, advocates, critics and researchers will be looking closely at one crucial question: How did they do?" Chalkbeat reports.

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