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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Friday, January 19, 2018

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

 Off the Cuff

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie dig into discussions from a Senate committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing — one in a series on reauthorization — focused on how lawmakers can update the HEA to make the federal financial aid system more simple and transparent for students and families. Among other issues, one concern the senators discussed was whether financial aid award letters could do a better job of explaining cost of attendance and aid to students. Plus, Stephen tells us about the latest developments with a federal funding plan, and what may cause the government to shut down this weekend.

With only a little more than 24 hours before a potential government shutdown, the Senate did not pass a fourth short-term continuing resolution (CR) Thursday evening to fund the government though February 16 and avoid a shutdown. The CR narrowly cleared the House of Representatives earlier in the evening on Thursday. With only until 11:59 p.m. today to strike a new deal, a government shutdown now seems more likely than not.  

Both the House and Senate have separate committees that deal with the budget and appropriations, respectively. The budget committees focus on developing a broad blueprint for federal spending, and under regular procedures, these spending levels must be passed before any individual program-level appropriations are assigned. When members of Congress can't agree on funding measures for the fiscal year, they pass a stop-gap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to fund the federal government at the same levels as the prior fiscal year (FY) until a resolution can be reached. Check out NASFAA's Federal Budget Frequently Asked Questions page for more answers to common questions.

Following through on a promise to start the new year by diving in to higher education reform, the Senate education committee on Thursday held one in a series of hearings on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), which focused on federal student aid simplification and transparency.

AskRegs

Learn the answer to this question and learn how to instantly find credible and reliable solutions to your most pressing regulatory and compliance questions with NASFAA's AskRegs Knowledgebase. The Knowledgebase guide and video tutorials highlight the many features of this tool.

Leadership Conference

Time is running out to register for the 2017 NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo. This unique event hosted in Washington, DC, features four targeted pathways to provide intensive preparation for current and prospective financial aid leaders. Three tracks are now full, but there are still spots available for the Fundamentals of Enrollment Management pathway. Don't miss out – register today to reserve your spot.

FEDERAL REGISTER

The TEACH Grant program regulations are required to ensure accountability of the program participants, both institutions and student recipients, for proper program administration, to determine eligibility to receive program benefits and to prevent fraud and abuse of program funds. The regulations include both record-keeping and reporting requirements.

HEADLINES

National News

"A criminal justice and Africana studies student hopes to return to college after taking a break to save money for tuition. Now, she fears she will be priced out. A Texas high school senior must soon decide where she will go to college, but it’s unclear if she will be protected from deportation long enough to eventually go to law school...At pivotal points in their lives, each of these students faces a complicated path to higher education and post-college life because many of their plans and dreams hinge on the fate of one federal program: Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA,"  according to Public Radio International. 

"When his two sons were growing up, a college professor named Phillip Levine found himself 10 years ago asking a question on the minds of parents perennially worried about the price of higher education: Would they qualify for financial aid? Levine, a Wellesley College economist, was frustrated to learn there were no easy answers beyond the scary sticker prices and pledges from certain colleges that they would meet the need of students they admit," The Washington Post reports. 

"Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long is on a mission to help students prepare for college and apply for financial aid. The Chris Long Foundation and the Philadelphia Eagles have teamed up with former First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher/Better Make Room initiatives and Summer Search, a youth development nonprofit," according to WPVI-TV. 

State News

"The Grand Rapids School Board passed a resolution Tuesday, Jan. 16, to apply to the Michigan Department of Treasury to become a Promise Zone to offer students free college tuition. The Promise Zone designation would provide students who live within the district's geographic boundaries and graduate from any high school within those boundaries -- public, private or charter -- a scholarship to attend at a minimum a two-year community college tuition free and potentially a four-year university," according to MLive. 

Opinions

"A recent news item – by a Republican congressman no less – suggests society 'allow young people to choose…to get student loan forgiveness in exchange for agreeing to raise their own qualifying age for Social Security.' This is a myopic solution. Tax payers did not create the ostensible student loan crisis, and it’s fallacious to aver 'we shouldn’t saddle young people who graduate with enormous debt,'" Ken Schaefer writes in an opinion article for The Newnan Times-Herald. 

Blogs & Think Tanks

"According to an Economic Policy Institute study, college graduates are better off economically than those without degrees beyond high school, with college graduates earning 56 percent more on average than high school graduates in 2015...Despite this increased earning potential, some prospective students hesitate to earn college degrees if they will need to borrow student loans," Ashley Norwood writes for U.S. News & World Report. 

"As a law student, I did not spend too much time thinking about student loans. While in law school, I probably only checked my student loan balances once a semester, and I focused on many things in my life other than student debt," Jordan Rothman writes for Above The Law. "Now that I am more than five years removed from law school, and have successfully lived with and paid off nearly $200,000 of student loans, I have a much greater understanding of what it’s like to live with student debt." 

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