today’s news for Thursday, November 9, 2017

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Lola Finch

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of past national chair and friend Lola J. Finch. NASFAA is grateful for the impact Lola has had on the financial aid community as a whole. Our sincerest condolences and best wishes go out to Lola’s family and friends. 

Students, consumer advocates, financial aid professionals, and other higher education stakeholders will gather next week in Washington, DC to begin the tedious process of writing regulations to create a system for borrower defense to repayment.

Shifting to using prior-prior year (PPY) income information on the FAFSA has been a fundamental precept of NASFAA’s larger advocacy platform since 2013. After years of working to impress upon lawmakers the benefits of PPY, NASFAA in 2016-17 saw the fruits of its labor as the Department of Education (ED) put PPY into place for students across the country applying for federal student aid. NASFAA Now, our newly published annual impact report, is filled with association data, accomplishments, and compelling original content that can't be found anywhere else. Read more about the first year of PPY implementation on pages 12 and 13.


NASFAA Office Closed Monday in Observance of Veterans Day

The NASFAA office will be closed on Monday, November 12 in observance of the Veterans Day federal holiday. The NASFAA website and other online services will still be available, but NASFAA's Today's News will not be sent and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Tuesday, November 13.


The Department of Education announced the availability of the 2017-2018 Federal Student Aid Handbook Appendices F and G.


National News

"Millions of Americans would lose the ability to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest under the Republican tax bill, a proposal that education advocates say will make college less affordable," according to The Associated Press. NASFAA President Justin Draeger is quoted.

"Buried in the details of the 400-page tax-reform plan unveiled on Thursday by House Republicans is a proposal that, if enacted, would leave many graduate students wondering if they could afford to continue their studies," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Setting tuition at public colleges and universities is no simple task," Inside Higher Ed reports. "Governors and lawmakers approve different levels of state funding to subsidize higher education from year to year. Those same politicians are frequently unhappy with rising college costs, and they sometimes move to freeze tuition or cap its rate of increase."

"The University System of Maryland determined four years ago that it needed a unified strategy for improving student success through standardized data collection and analysis at its 12 campuses -- including the flagship University of Maryland campus near Washington, smaller rural locations and historically black colleges. While the main campus maintains a highly selective enrollment process, some others with large proportions of minority and low-income students struggle with lower retention and graduation rates," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"It seemed like the kind of case regulators had resolved countless times before: Debt collectors are accused of using flawed documentation and lawsuits to collect unpaid loans. A fine is levied, a promise to reform is made, and everyone moves on," according to Bloomberg. "Not this time. A maelstrom of banks, insurers, debt collectors, and hedge funds enveloped the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when it tried to settle allegations of shoddy collection practices on billions of dollars in student loans."

State News

"Simpson College officials recently discovered a disturbing trend in the school's enrollment: The private college was attracting fewer and fewer students from low- to moderate-income families," the Des Moines Register reports.


"The Higher Education Act of 1965 turns 52 years old Wednesday. To call this legislation groundbreaking would only tell part of its story. It did break ground, but the evidence suggests that now we're stuck in the mud," Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, writes for the Independent Journal Review.

"The first time I met an undergraduate who hadn't eaten in two days, I was stunned. The first time I spent the afternoon with a homeless college junior, I cried for most of the night. Now, after a decade of research on food and housing insecurity among college students, I'm just numb," Sara Goldrick-Rab writes for Talk Poverty.

"Occasionally the solution to an underachieving government program is refreshingly mundane. So it is that a simpler federal form may be all that separates millions of poor students in the U.S. from a chance to get help paying for college," Bloomberg View writes.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"Adult students often know stuff for which they don’t have academic credit. When they can get transcripted credit for knowledge or skills they can document, they get a head start towards a degree. But giving them credit for what they can document is often a lot harder than it sounds," Matt Reed writes for Inside Higher Ed's Confessions of a Community College Dean blog.

"The federal government provides many tax benefits to help students and families pay for higher education. Although well-intended, these credits and deductions can often be confusing and may not interact well with other forms of federal grant aid. That's why there are frequent calls for reforming these benefits, including bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill," Ben Miller writes for the Center for American Progress.




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