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Today's News for Wednesday, April 23, 2014 
 
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NEWS FROM NASFAA

Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Ban on Race Considerations In Admissions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld, by a 6-2 decision, a Michigan state ban against the consideration of race in admissions by the state's public institutions, opening the door for opponents of affirmative action to advocate putting similar measures on ballots in other states. Defenders of affirmative action brought the case -- Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action -- arguing that the 2006 Michigan state ban (Proposition 2) on the usage of affirmative action in public college and university admission decisions violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Specifically, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action argued that individuals who would like to advocate for the consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions no longer have that opportunity, but, if they lived in another state without the ban, they could.

Pell Funding Strain Eases: No Shortfall Until 2017

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released estimates last week indicating that they expect the Pell Grant Program to be on sure financial footing through the fiscal year (FY) 2016 (award year 2016-17). However, FY 2017 (award year 2017-18) is expected to face a funding shortfall of $2.3 billion. This represents good news in the short term, as it means other student aid programs will not have to be cut or modified to shore up Pell funding. The long-term fiscal health of the program is less stable, according to the CBO, which projects a cumulative shortfall of $38 billion over the next 10 years.

Negotiators Return For Third Neg Reg Session

Negotiators this week will continue the Department of Education's 2013-14 Program Integrity and Improvement negotiated rulemaking. The third round of negotiations, starting today and ending on Friday, will focus on state authorization of distance education and foreign locations of domestic institutions, financial aid disbursements, and adverse credit history for Direct PLUS eligibility. Read our coverage from previous Neg Reg sessions and stay tuned to Today's News this week and next for information on the latest sessions.

Thank You To Our 2014 Platinum And Gold National Conference Sponsors

NASFAA would like to extend a hearty thank you to all of our sponsors, and a special recognition to our Platinum and Gold sponsors. Platinum Level includes Discover Student Loans, MOHELA, Sallie Mae, and Inceptia, and Gold Level includes American Student Assistance, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates, TG, and Socle Education. Their financial support and on-site participation make our conference more valuable to our attendees. Please visit the exhibit hall and speak directly with the companies to learn how their products and services can help you achieve your goals. Early-bird registration for the conference ends May 30. Register now!

Mark Your Calendar: The Preparing For An Audit Webinar Is Less Than One Month Away!

Is your office ready in the event of a federal audit? In "Preparing For An Audit," the next webinar in the NASFAA 2013-2014 series, participants will learn how to respond to document requests, how to prepare staff to interact with auditors, and how to ready other departments on campus, among other topics. The live webinar will debut on May 21 and costs $115 for members and $230 for non-members. There is no extra cost for webinar package purchasers, though you still have to register by 3:00 pm EST on May 19. Sign up today! 

HEADLINES

National News

Higher Ed Diversity Advocates Focus On Big Picture After Supreme Court Setback

"A state's rights decision Tuesday by the United States Supreme Court may further impede the ability of racial minorities to attend state-supported colleges and universities in Michigan and six other states, yet does not change the court's overall position that the use of race is still a valid consideration in other states for devising admissions strategies. The ruling was ... widely criticized by progressives and leaders of numerous higher education advocacy groups," Diverse: Issues In Higher Education reports.

Department Of Education To Revise Student Loan Servicer Evaluations

"The Department of Education (ED) is planning to revise the way it evaluates student loan servicers that manage payment of direct student loans," MainStreet reports.

Opinions

Commentary: Those Master's-Degree Programs At Elite U.? They're For-Profit

"Higher education has a long and fraught relationship with the labor market," Kevin Carey, director of the education-policy program at New America, writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Opinion: Elizabeth Warren's Needed Call For Student Loan Reform

"As commencement season approaches, graduating students will soon hear words of wisdom from speakers offering experience, advice and inspiration. One thing they're not likely to hear about is the $1.08 trillion elephant on the quad - our nation's student debt crisis," The Washington Post columnist Katrina van den Heuvel writes in an opinion piece.

Blogs and Think Tanks

The Problem With Student-Loan Forgiveness

"If you have student loans, chances are you wish there was a way to make them disappear. And in a way, there is: The federal government now offers three repayment plans that lower monthly payments and will-eventually-forgive remaining debt. A separate plan forgives loans for people who take certain public-service jobs," National Journal's The Next America reports.

The Privatization Of Our Public Colleges (In Two Charts)

"State cuts to higher education spending aren't the only reason public colleges are getting more expensive. But they are, without a doubt, one of the most important reasons," Slate's Moneybox reports.

INDUSTRY NEWS

NASFAA CAREER CENTER

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