Today's News

Today's News for Tuesday, December 23, 2014 
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NASFAA Recommends Changes to School Listing Notification on Draft 15-16 FAFSA

In written comments submitted last week on the second draft of the 2015-16 paper Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), NASFAA recommends a modification to the proposed notification to the applicant regarding the school listing.

Some NASFAA Services Unavailable During Winter Holiday, Dec. 24 – Jan. 1

Wednesday, Dec. 24 through Thursday, Jan. 1, some NASFAA services will be unavailable due to the holidays. The NASFAA website and other online services (including the AskRegs Knowledgebase) will still be available, but the Today's News daily email will not be sent, and technical and membership support will not be available until Friday, Jan. 2. We hope you have the happiest of holidays! Please enjoy this video featuring NASFAA staff members and check out our NASFAA Members Celebrate the Holidays Facebook album for a look at pictures submitted by your colleagues in aid offices around the country.

Poll the Pros Results Are In!

Last Wednesday we asked members what financial aid issue they would most like to see addressed by policymakers in 2015. Of the just over 200 responses received so far, about 26 percent selected the "elimination of loan origination fees," followed by nearly 24 percent who chose the "use of prior-prior year income on the FAFSA." The preservation of the Perkins Loan Program was chosen by nearly 19 percent of respondents, 17.5 percent chose simplifying the student loan repayment process, and slightly more than 4 percent said they would like to see policymakers address some form of of a year-round Pell Grant Program. Close to 10 percent chose "other." If you have yet to chime in, take the poll and peruse past Poll the Pros questions and results.

Overview Of The Financial Aid Programs Self-Study Guide Now Updated For 2014-15 Program Year

Updated in December 2014 for the 2014-15 program year, this self-study guide introduces the federal student aid programs, providing information on the Title IV programs, state aid, the Health and Human Services (HHS) programs, and other sources of financial assistance. Written for the independent learner, this self-study guide includes multiple lessons with a variety of exercises to reinforce each lesson. If you are a Value Plus member, you can download this updated guide from the NASFAA store as part of your membership package; the price will be reduced to $0 in your shopping cart. Order the Overview of the Financial Aid Programs Self-Study Guide Self-Study Guide (PDF only) today!

Learn To Lead at the 2015 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo

Being a leader of an association is more than just working the gavel — it is also about knowing how to lead a team. In a can't-miss session in the Association Management pathway, presenters will deliver techniques to increase the return on your investments in others. Explore how you can get a team prepared for transition, select the best team members, keep them active and engaged in the association, and solicit volunteers that will get the job done. Learn more about the 2015 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo and register today! 


12-22: Access Removed for Unconfirmed TG Numbers (SAIG Mailboxes) and Electronic Services User Accounts

In October 2014 the Department initiated the active confirmation process that required every organization enrolled for a Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) account to review and validate its assigned TG numbers by December 12, 2014.


National News

Where Are We Now With The FAST Act Proposal?

"The Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency (FAST) Act aims to simplify the entire financial aid process for the nearly 22 million students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities," NerdScholar  writes for USA TODAY. "Megan McClean, managing director of policy and federal relations for [NASFAA], says the group supports the bill's 'spirit of simplification' but is worried about shortening the FAFSA too much."

More Metrics, More Problems: Breaking Down Obama's College-Ratings Plan

"Here's a road map of measures the department is thinking about, and how they present certain problems for the ratings plan," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

The Fate Of The Administration's College Ratings

The Postsecondary Institutional Ratings System (PIRS) "quickly made mortal enemies, causing some to pronounce it 'dead on arrival' this week," NPR reports.


Opinion: Restoring A Federal/State Balance In Education

"A once-narrower role for Washington - setting national policy goals, ensuring equity and protections for all students, and providing the financial incentives for states and localities to make needed improvements -- has evolved into the largest and broadest role in education the federal  government has ever played," Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, writes in The Hill's Congress Blog.

Opinion: Why We Need a Federal Ratings System

"A federal ratings system is the first step in providing consumers, students, parents, and taxpayers with evidence that their investments are producing the kind of results that will build our local, state, and national economies," F. King Alexander, president and chancellor of Louisiana State University, writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education's The Conversation blog.

Blogs and Think Tanks

Free Application For Federal Student Aid Applications Open Jan. 1

"The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators ... suggests these ways to avoid making the most common mistakes when seeking financial aid," the Omaha World-Herald's Money Talks blog reports.

Top 10 Education Trends to Watch in 2015 and Beyond

"The winds of education change were gusty in 2014: declining and inequitable public funding, a new demographic future, advancing technology, rethinking accreditation, the credit hour and the needs of a tough job market," Brad C. Phillips, IEBC president, writes in The Huffington Post's The Blog.

Observers Greet Education Dept.'s Ratings Plan With Heavy Skepticism

"It is worth noting right off the bat that many observers now believe, if they didn't before the draft was released, that the ratings system is a pipe dream," The Chronicle of Higher Education's The Ticker blog reports.



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