NASFAA
TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Monday, November 23, 2020

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

As President-elect Joe Biden and a new Congress prepare to take office in January amid a global pandemic, the importance of investing in and strengthening the nation's postsecondary education system is of paramount importance. NASFAA today released a set of priorities outlining actions the new president and new Congress should take to refocus, reinvest, and recalibrate our country's policies around postsecondary education. The brief explains that robust, streamlined student aid policy must play a central role in this effort and calls on the incoming Biden administration and 117th Congress to deliver additional COVID-19 relief to students and institutions, strengthen the Federal Pell Grant Program, simplify the federal financial aid application process, curb student indebtedness and simplify repayment, and enhance student aid delivery.

The conversation around what should be done with the more than $1.6 trillion in student loan debt that tens of millions of borrowers are saddled with has evolved in recent months, crescendoing in the last week with thousands of posts on Twitter accompanied by the hashtag #CancelStudentDebt. 

Trending @ NASFAA

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

AskRegs

Yes, but only as long as the student withdrew for reasons related to the COVID-19 qualifying emergency. According to guidance NASFAA has received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), when a student withdraws after the 60% point, the student has earned all of his or her Title IV aid that was disbursed or could have been disbursed, and there is no unearned aid to be returned. View the full answer to this question to learn more and search for answers to your other pressing regulatory and compliance questions in NASFAA's AskRegs Knowledgebase.

NASFAA is seeking volunteers to join the Examining Implicit Bias in Financial Aid Policies and Procedures Task Force. Most institutions of higher education include student diversity and inclusion, as an integral part of their overall enrollment management strategy. The importance of this broad goal cannot be overstated, but it is also crucial that individual units within an institution, including the financial aid office, work to ensure that their existing policies, procedures and principles are inclusive and free of unconscious biases. This task force, which will run from January through May of 2021, will identify a tool kit to better ensure bias is limited within the practice of administering Title IV funds. Review the complete task force charter for more details and, if interested, complete the volunteer form by 5:00 p.m. ET on Monday, December 7.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Federal Student Aid released a series of quarterly updates to its portfolio reports on its FSA Data Center to include data as of September 30, 2020. These reports reflect changes made to borrower accounts because of the administration’s executive actions and provisions included as part of the CARES Act, which was signed on March 27, 2020.

The Department of Education announced the availability of Volume 6 – The Campus-Based Programs of the 2020-2021 Federal Student Aid Handbook. The Federal Student Aid Handbook consists of the Application and Verification Guide, six numbered volumes, and appendices. Each volume and appendix is posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.

Attached to this Electronic Announcement is the 2021-2022 FAFSA Verification-IRS Tax Return Transcript Matrix that institutions can use for 2021-2022 verification of IRS tax return information included on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.

FEDERAL REGISTER

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education is authorized under Section 487A(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), to periodically select a limited number of postsecondary institutions for voluntary participation as experimental sites under the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI). Institutions and the experiments provide recommendations to the Secretary on the impact and effectiveness of proposed regulations or new management initiatives. Participating postsecondary educational institutions are exempt from specific designated statutory and regulatory requirements while conducting the experiments.

The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2021 for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Assistance Listing Number 84.149A. The CAMP is designed to assist migratory or seasonal farmworkers (or immediate family members of such workers) who are enrolled or are admitted for enrollment on a full-time basis at an institution of higher education (IHE) to complete their first academic year.

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