today’s news for Friday, March 17, 2017

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Early Thursday morning the Trump administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request, which included significant cuts to certain federal student aid programs, and decreased the Pell Grant Program surplus.

A bipartisan group of Congressional leaders on Thursday called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to provide more information on the circumstances surrounding the IRS Data Retrieval Tool outage, and one lawmaker said he learned the tool is expected to be back up and running this month.

NASFAA members from Alabama and Texas on Thursday met with Capitol Hill staffers to discuss the continued outage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and potential cuts threatening federal student aid programs in President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education yesterday announced the state’s March 10 deadline to apply for state student aid funding would be pushed back to April 15 this year due to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) outage. "This is an excellent opportunity for Hoosiers who missed last Friday’s deadline to complete the FAFSA and qualify for financial aid that makes college more affordable,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said in a media release. NASFAA applauds Indiana, and Texas—which also pushed its deadline back earlier this week, for taking steps to ensure that students in need of funding aren't penalized by the DRT outage.

The University of California, San Diego's Geisel Library in La Jolla is home to the largest collection of original Dr. Seuss manuscripts and other materials in the world. Dr. Seuss – Theodore Seuss Geisel – was also a long-time San Diego resident. You can see his former house, which is also located in La Jolla, atop Mount Soledad, or visit what some believe to be Seuss's inspiration for the original Lorax tree in Scripps Park. See for yourself when you travel to San Diego for the 2017 National Conference, June 26 through 29. Registration is now open - reserve your spot today.


The purpose of this guidance is to inform you that the Department of Education is withdrawing the statements of policy and guidance reflected in its Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN 15-14 that it issued on July 10, 2015, with the Subject line "Repayment Agreements and Liability for Collection Costs on Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) Loans." The DCL specifically addresses FFELP loans and not Direct Loans in the Department’s portfolio.

During the period March 24-26, 2017, we plan to implement Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System functionality that supports the processing of Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant), Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) awards for the 2017-2018 Award Year.


National News

"The document outlining the Trump administration's first budget, released in a bare-bones outline Thursday, states that the White House plan 'safeguards' the Pell Grant program and would leave the key financial aid source for needy students on 'sound financial footing for the next decade,'" Inside Higher Ed reports. "But many advocates for low-income students say the opposite is true." NASFAA President Justin Draeger is quoted in this story.

"While the federal budget proposal released by the White House stresses national security and public safety, higher education leaders blasted the spending blueprint Thursday as one that will make college less accessible, less affordable and set back the nation's workforce and research interests," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reports. NASFAA's Justin Draeger and Erin Timmons are quoted in this article.

"Emily Rutledge spends 16 hours a week in the University of North Georgia's university relations office for her federal work-study job, tracking times the press mentions the university, helping to coordinate logistics for events like commencement and assisting graphic designers," Inside Higher Ed reports. "... Now, however, Rutledge and other students in the federal work-study program are entering a period of uncertainty after President Trump released his budget proposal Thursday. Trump's budget plan calls for substantial changes and cuts to the federal work-study program." NASFAA research is cited in this article.

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the federal agency that many Republicans, financial institutions, and for-profit colleges love to hate," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"New survey results out today show that the rates of hungry and homeless students at community colleges across the country are higher than previously thought," NPR reports.

State News

"Most student financial aid for higher education comes in two forms: loans and grants. As tuition costs have grown, however, both options have had a hard time keeping up––grants are oversubscribed and loans have left college dropouts struggling to pay off debts without any of the financial benefits of holding a degree," The Atlantic reports.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"Low-income students have consistently attended college at lower rates than those from high-income families. But over the last 30 years, the percentage of low-income high school students pursuing a degree immediately after graduation has almost doubled. Though this figure may encourage some to dismiss college access as a challenge of yesteryear, new research demonstrates that we are still a long way from declaring 'mission accomplished.' The continued problem of college access depends a great deal on how it's defined," according to New America.



We're excited to announce that as of today, NASFAA has conferred over 10,000 NASFAA U credentials. Have a look at NASFAA's Credential Earners Honor Roll and join us in congratulating all the individuals who have successfully earned one, or more, NASFAA U professional credentials. Each person had to demonstrate substantial knowledge in the subject area and pass the respective test. Inspired to pursue your own credential? Learn more about how to qualify to sit for a credential test.




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