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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Thursday, July 20, 2017

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

Two committees within the House of Representatives on Wednesday discussed, debated, and advanced two separate pieces of legislation pertaining to the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget: the Republicans' budget resolution, a framework that is used by House appropriators and authorizing committees to guide spending decisions for the coming fiscal year, and an appropriations bill with details for education spending, both of which would affect award year 2018-19.

New FSA Chief Takes the Helm, Reaches Out to Financial Aid Community

Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, the newly-appointed chief operating officer at Federal Student Aid, began his tenure this week by meeting with NASFAA President Justin Draeger to discuss a range of topics that are mutually important to financial aid professionals and FSA, such as FAFSA simplification, student loan servicing and counseling, the tenor and timing of program reviews, and administrative burdens that divert institutional attention away from students. Johnson recounted his past experience in several capacities within the financial services industry, including as CEO of Reunion Student Loan Services, a company that refinanced private student loans, not federal. Johnson has since resigned from that position. Johnson voiced support for the financial aid profession and acknowledged the many hats aid administrators are called on to wear. Tune in to this week's episode of "Off The Cuff" tomorrow to hear more about the meeting.

NASFAA receives many requests each year for Pell Charts that are formatted to suit an institution’s specific needs. However, given the range of cost of attendance figures and school types, one size does not fit all. We invite you to share your different formats for Pell Charts with your NASFAA colleagues. We will remove any identifying information about your institution before publishing the charts and making them available to the membership to use as examples. Take this opportunity to share what you do on an annual basis to stay on top of required regulation and reporting. Please submit your chart by Friday, August 4.

2016-17 NASFAA National Chair and 2017 Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award recipient Lisa Blazer addressed attendees at the 2017 National Conference in San Diego and bid a fond farewell to her post as national chair. "My challenge to you is to stay connected with states, regions, and national associations," Blazer said. "Volunteering will be one of the most worthwhile and fulfilling experiences you will have." Watch the video to see her speech in full.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

This letter announces the availability of Federal Student Aid's recording of a June 2017 webinar that provided information about a significant upgrade to the EDESuite software, beginning with the release of EDExpress 2018-2019, Release 1.0 later this year.

Below are the presentation slides for the EDESuite Software Upgrades for 2018-2019 and Beyond webinar, conducted on June 27, 2017, in PDF Format.

HEADLINES

National News

"An overwhelming majority of colleges and universities did not change priority aid deadlines in response to an earlier financial aid cycle last year, according to a survey of member institutions by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"Kevin R. McClure has read a lot of news articles about a facilities 'arms race' in higher education that is frequently blamed for driving up colleges’ tuition prices and making them more selective. In fact, he has started a list of such articles and recently wrote a 1,900-word blog post questioning the assumption that such a thing exists and how to measure it," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. NASFAA's Journal of Student Financial Aid is mentioned in the article.

"One of the nine companies that manages the federal government’s $1.2 trillion portfolio of education loans is fighting to stop the Education Department from handing the job to a single contractor," The Washington Post reports.

Opinions

"For the last 15 years, researchers have been trying to understand millennials -- people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s -- and their potential impacts on higher education institutions. Yet despite the wealth of accumulated knowledge, colleges still seem to have problems integrating younger people into the culture of higher education administration," James Wicks, a doctoral student of higher education and the associate director of recruitment and school relations at Texas A&M International University, writes in an opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed.

"A new study released last week by the Pew Research Center found that 58 percent of Republicans and right-leaning independents think colleges have a negative impact on the country. Distrust in higher education institutions among those on the right has risen consistently since 2010, when it stood at 32 percent," Jeffrey J. Selingo writes in an opinion piece for The Washington Post. "While Democrats were much more optimistic in their view of colleges — only 19 percent had a negative perception — the Pew study is one of several in the last few months that raise questions about public confidence in the future of American colleges."

Blogs & Think Tanks

"When President Donald Trump rolled out a budget that would cut Medicaid in half, slash programs for people with disabilities, make it harder to pay for college, and decimate civil rights enforcement—all while advocating huge tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations—even some congressional Republicans declared the Trump budget to be 'dead on arrival.' But if the Trump budget were ever dead, it has been brought back to life. The recently released budget from House Republican leaders revives the worst parts of the Trump budget," according to the Center for American Progress.

"In March, we showed what it would mean for students if the House Republicans acted on their proposal to eliminate all mandatory Pell Grant funding. ... New data show the same grim story: eliminating mandatory funding threatens the existence of the Pell Grant as we know it, putting higher education out of reach for millions of Americans who rely on the grant to attend and complete college," according to a blog post from The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).

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