During a town-hall-style session on Tuesday afternoon, David Bane of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) outlined the group’s financial aid proposals for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
Bane, AACC’s senior vice president of government relations and research, told the audience that many of the group’s proposals are in line with those of NASFAA, noting that the two groups often work together on issues involving student access and affordability in the community college sector.
Many of the proposals shared at the session were focused on improving the Pell Grant Program for community college students, including continuing to readjust the grant for inflation and to reinstate the year-round Pell Grant. AACC also proposes extending the 12-semester full-time equivalent limit to 14 semesters and the reinstatement of full ability-to-benefit eligibility for community college students. Bane also discussed with attendees an idea to provide a two percent Pell Grant increment for institutions to use for short-term programs, or those that are less than 600 hours.
Regarding federal student loans, AACC is proposing that institutions be given the authority to lower loan limits for certain populations of students, an idea that NASFAA has long been in favor of. Bane said AACC is also recommending that income-based repayment programs be simplified, colleges be given the option of being able to require annual loan counseling, and the loan maximum be tied to enrollment intensity.
AACC is also recommending that the formula used to distribute campus-based aid among colleges be modified to better align with student need and that the return of Title IV and gainful employment processes be addressed and made easier.
Bane encouraged the attendees and other community college financial aid administrators to reach out or get involved with the policy efforts at AACC. “We remain very interested in your feedback and your input on what’s going on in your offices,” he said.
Publication Date: 7/12/2016