2019 was an exciting year for financial aid policy. From ringing in the year with a government shutdown to seeing some significant strides in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the past year has kept us busy as we shared the most important news affecting the higher education community with our members. Here are the top 10 articles that NASFAA readers digested in 2019:
Verification Guidance Released This Month Includes Changes for Amended Tax Filers, Victims of Identity Theft
January 9, 2019 - The Department of Education (ED) released guidance on the verification process in an effort to decrease the burden on students, families, and financial aid administrators, and to ensure easier access to federal financial aid.
Government Shutdown May Impact Some FAFSA Database Matches
January 3, 2019 - While ED was fully funded for the 2019 fiscal year — award year (AY) 2019-20 — the partial government shutdown still caused issues for the processing of AY 2018-19 and 2019-20 FAFSAs that require certain database matches.
IRS Announces Changes to Tax Transcript Retrieval Processes
June 7, 2019 - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it would no longer be faxing or physically mailing tax transcripts to certain requestors in an effort to further protect sensitive taxpayer information.
Department of Education Releases Final Regulations on Accreditation, State Authorization
November 1, 2019 - ED released final regulations for accreditation and state authorization of distance education, to take effect July 1, 2020.
House Education Committee Advances Democrats’ HEA Reauthorization Bill
October 31, 2019 - Following three days of debate, the House education committee voted along party lines to move the College Affordability Act (CAA), House Democrats’ HEA reauthorization bill, to the floor for a full vote.
ED Releases Guidance on Financial Aid Award Notifications
April 16, 2019 - ED released guidance on what institutions should avoid when issuing financial aid offers. The guidance, which was unexpected, came at the same time ED was requesting feedback on its new College Financing Plan (CFP).
Bipartisan Senate Bill Simplifies the FAFSA, Restructures Pell Grant Eligibility
October 22, 2019 - Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced a bipartisan bill to simplify the FAFSA and redefine students’ eligibility for need-based federal student aid programs, which includes several provisions included in a scaled-back HEA reauthorization bill Alexander released a few weeks prior.
President Trump Again Proposes Massive Cuts to Student Aid
March 12, 2019 - In his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal, which would impact award year 2020-21, President Donald Trump again reiterated his support for hard-hitting cuts to the federal student aid programs, similar to the cuts outlined in his previous budget proposals.
Former Top ED Official: Republicans Should Support Student Debt Forgiveness
November 15, 2019 - Three weeks after resigning from the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), calling the federal student loan system “fundamentally broken,” and announcing a Republican bid for Senate on the platform of student debt forgiveness, A. Wayne Johnson sat down to explain what led him to leave his post and detail his plans for the future.
Analyzing the College Affordability Act: Changes to the Direct Loan Program
October 29, 2019 - The CAA makes significant changes to the Direct Loan program, many of which result in greater simplicity and savings for student borrowers, both upfront and during repayment. Additionally, the cohort default rate is redefined, as are the default rate eligibility thresholds and sanctions.
Publication Date: 11/26/2019