New Task Force Report Identifies Ways To Support Graduate And Professional Institutions

The Graduate and Professional Issues Caucus’ work has culminated in a new report with seven recommendations for supporting NASFAA members and students from their sector.

The caucus, convened in June 2014, was tasked with “identify[ing] the unique needs (training and policy) of graduate and professional schools and provid[ing] recommendations on how NASFAA can best support these institutions moving forward.”

Members included:

  • Chair: Mary Fenton, Director, Student Financial Aid Services for Health Sciences, The University of New Mexico  
  • Linda Bisesi, Assistant Dean/Director, Financial Aid, University of California Hastings College of the Law  
  • Bob Coughlin, Director of Financial Aid, Harvard Medical School  Deidra Cummings, Financial Aid Counselor, Lipscomb University  
  • Jamie Esquibel, Financial Services Associate Director, University of the Rockies  
  • John Garcia, Director, Michigan State University College of Law  
  • Emily Osborn, Director, Northwestern University Chicago Campus  
  • Joseph Sanchez, Director of Financial Aid, University of North Texas Health Science Center  
  • Phyllis Schulz, Executive Director of Fellowships & Financial Aid at CUNY Graduate Center  
  • Meredith Schor, Director, Financial Aid, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences  
  • Margaret Rodriguez, Senior Associate Director, Office of Financial Aid, University of Michigan, Commission Director 

In its final report, the caucus identified seven issues, and made the corresponding recommendations, for board consideration: 

  • Retain the Graduate and Professional Issues Caucus as a permanent committee; 
  • Establish a task force to identify data needs specific to graduate student financial aid;
  • Create a working group with the Department of Education (ED) to develop web pages focused on G/P borrowers;
  • Support reauthorizing the Federal Perkins Loan Program as it currently exists;
  • Advocate for specific ED policy changes related to the presentation of immigration documents;
  • Advocate for specific ED policy changes to SAP regulations; and 
  • Advocate for statutory and regulatory changes that would extend the preparatory coursework eligibility period from 12 to 24 consecutive months.

In its deliberations, the NASFAA board reaffirmed its commitment to the grad-professional community and plans to appoint an annual caucus chair to provide ongoing support to the grad-professional community. In addition, NASFAA will continue to hold annual advocacy events on Capitol Hill aimed squarely at grad-professional issues, maintain the grad-professional listserv, and begin multiple virtual town hall meetings next year specifically for the grad-professional community.  

“We are very grateful for the work of the caucus in identifying issues both unique to the sector and inherent among other NASFAA member institutions,” said NASFAA National Chair Eileen O’Leary. “While the exact models change from time to time, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to building on the past advocatorial successes of this sector in the months and years ahead.”  


Publication Date: 4/28/2015

Peter G | 4/28/2015 6:55:38 PM

I appreciate the work the Task Force put in.
I will, however, strongly dissent on the preparatory coursework issue. Anyone needing 24 months of preparatory work should be steered towards a post-bac program as the basis for eligibility.
Extending preparatory coursework in my view is just an invitation to a mess. Of all the possible things to throw our weight behind I think this one would be a mistake, personally.

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