New National Chair Eileen O’Leary and Education Department (ED) officials shared news with NASFAA National Conference attendees at the closing breakfast Wednesday in Nashville.
There will be new opportunities to get involved with NASFAA in the coming year, O’Leary said. The new volunteer task force structure will bring shorter-term, high impact opportunities for members to get involved with NASFAA. Opportunities will be disseminated online and through Today’s News as they become available.
“I challenge you to get involved,” O’Leary said. “Volunteer again and again until there’s a spot for you. My goal is at least half of those selected for a task force will have not served before. We need you.”
NASFAA members will also have a new chance for professional development and networking in March. The traditional NASFAA Leadership Conference will be restructured to a Leadership Expo with two tracks: one for new and aspiring aid directors, and another for association management. Both tracks will include advocacy training.
During the Federal Update, ED officials Jeff Baker and Lynn Mahaffie shared a number of updates, too. The PowerPoint used along with the closing session is now available and you can view a written summary of the key points below.
FAFSA reprocessing expected: An unintended consequence of new field length extensions on the 2014-15 FAFSA will require 165,000 FAFSAs to be reprocessed in mid-July, Baker said. When the lengths for several income and asset fields on the FAFSA were extended from 7 to 9 characters, filers were able to mistakenly add cents into the fields. The additional two digits were calculated as dollars, leading to significant Expected Family Contribution (EFC) miscalculations, Baker said. Baker estimates that 5,500 institutions have at least one student affected by the reprocessing. Stay tuned to Today's News for an Electronic Announcement with guidance. ED is also planning to retire the FAFSA PIN and will transition to issuing user IDs and passwords in the spring of 2015.
Proposed college ratings plan: ED will have a draft of a college ratings system, called for by President Obama, by the fall and will seek public comments, Mahaffie said. The goal is for the rating system to be fully in place prior to the 2015-16 award year.
Pay As You Earn (PAYE): ED plans to hold public hearings this fall, and a negotiated rulemaking session in February to examine expanding PAYE to an additional 5 million more borrowers, per President Obama’s recent plan to expand the program, Mahaffie said.
Shopping Sheet: Based on feedback, ED has added a glossary of terms to the Shopping Sheet.
Loan origination fees: Due to sequestration, loan origination fees will increase one-thousandth of a percent:
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): Since all legal marriages between two individuals are now recognized, same-sex couples are eligible for in-state active duty tuition benefits in all states, Baker said. The spouses and dependent children of active duty military are eligible for in-state tuition and fees in the state in which they are stationed.
Gainful Employment: ED expects to release final regulations by November 1, 2014. Under this schedule, the final rules will go into effect by July 1, 2015.
Program Integrity and Improvement: No consensus was reached in a recent negotiated rulemaking session. ED will publish a separate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on PLUS Loan Adverse Credit in the coming weeks. ED is indefinitely delaying the publication of proposed rules addressing state authorization for distance education and has not yet confirmed a planned timeline for publication of proposed rules on the other negotiated topics.
150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit: ED, in conjunction with NASFAA and AACRAO, will hold two webinars in July on NSLDS reporting requirements related to 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit regulations. A webinar on July 15-16 will examine the fundamentals of new reporting requirements, and a second webinar on July 30-31 will delve into the details, Baker said.
American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC): ED would like financial aid offices to share information on the AOTC with students and parents, Baker said. A Dear Colleague Letter released by the end of the summer will include an attachment from the Department of Treasury on the tax credit’s details, which ED hopes aid professionals share with the families they help.
With the ED update over, the 2014 National Conference drew to a close for another year. Be sure to watch Today’s News for follow-up coverage and check out Facebook for photos of your colleagues enjoying Nashville.
Publication Date: 7/3/2014