NASFAA
TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Friday, December 22, 2017

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CampusLogic. Did you know you need to engage with students at least seven times to get them to act? It’s a crowded, social world with everyone vying for attention. Break through the noise with CampusLogic. Help make your communications stick with the tips and suggestions in this infographic.

NEWS FROM NASFAA

Congress Narrowly Avoids Shutdown, Stalls Disaster Relief Measure

Republicans in Congress narrowly managed to avoid a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Jan. 19, 2018, the third CR of fiscal year 2018. Though the House of Representatives also cleared a disaster relief package with several higher education provisions for institutions in disaster areas, the Senate did not take up the bill and will revisit the matter in January. A number of contentious items remain on the congressional to-do list before next month, including a new agreement on spending caps and a compromise on the future of DACA. Stay tuned to Today's News as Congress prepares for a busy January.

While some people are filling their holiday wish lists with the most popular gadgets of the year, student loan borrowers may be hoping for something a little less glamorous this season— repayment assistance. In fact, a majority of student loan borrowers said that they would prefer monetary help with loan payments to hot ticket items such as the newest iPhone, valued at $1,000, according to a new poll by LendEDU.

AskRegs

In 2017, many of the questions that made the top 10 most-read AskRegs Q&As list were related to Comment Codes 399 and 400/401. Other common questions centered around ammended tax returns, verification of nonfiling, and martial status issues. The most-read question was “Do We Count Disability Income as Untaxed Income?" See the rest of the top 10 for the questions and their answers, and explore the AskRegs Knowledgebase for clarity on other financial aid topics, too.

Monday, December 25 through Monday, January 1, some NASFAA services will be unavailable due to the holidays. The NASFAA website and other online services (including the AskRegs Knowledgebase) will still be available, but the Today's News daily newsletter will not be sent, and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Tuesday, January 2. During the break, check out our 2017 Year in Review recaps for a look at all that NASFAA and its members around the country accomplished this year. We hope you have the happiest of holidays.

Webinar Logo

If you missed the Dec. 6, 2017 NASFAA Webinar,  Direct Loan Spotlight, it’s not too late to take advantage of this learning opportunity. Ordering the on-demand event provides you with full access to the webinar archive and handout. In addition, you will be provided with the Top 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions document compiled from questions submitted by attendees during the live webcast. If you attended the live event, you can still use your registration link to access the on-demand event and FAQ document. Order it today.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Federal Student Aid has learned that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) SAVE field office in Los Angeles is returning Forms G-845 to schools because the case is prematurely closed in the SAVE system. G-845 forms are returned when a noncitizen applicant completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, fails the primary and secondary DHS matches, and does not submit immigration document(s) to the school within nine months.

In a November 22, 2017 Electronic Announcement the Department of Education published general information regarding Title IV aid disbursement reporting, excess cash, and reconciliation requirements. In addition, updated disbursement reporting and data submission timelines for all programs were published in a recent Federal Register Notice (see Federal Register Volume 82, Number 122 (Tuesday, June 27, 2017) for the 2017–2018 deadlines). In this announcement, the Department provides specific information to assist a school with reconciling the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. The information provided below should be viewed by both the Financial Aid Office and Business Office.

FEDERAL REGISTER

Federal Student Aid (FSA) replaced the PIN system with the Personal Authentication Service (PAS) which will employ an FSA ID, a standard user name and password solution. In order to create an FSA ID to gain access to certain FSA systems (FAFSA on the web, NSLDS, StudentLoans.gov, etc.) a user must register on-line for an FSA ID account. 

HEADLINES

National News

"American universities are the richest they’ve ever been, with more schools than ever sitting on endowments valued at $1 billion," Bloomberg reports. "From 2009 to 2016, the number of institutions hitting the 10-figure mark increased from 55 to as many as 90. As the year ends, the bull market promises to deliver additional billion-dollar endowments, given that investment returns averaged 13.2 percent for the year ended June 30. Ivy League stalwarts such as Dartmouth College and Cornell University are being joined by newcomers including the University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech. Some of these recent arrivals are already focused on bigger numbers in the years to come."

"A federal judge grilled an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday over the Trump administration's justification for ending a program protecting some young immigrants from deportation, saying many people had come to rely on it and faced a 'real' and 'palpable' hardship from its loss," PBS reports.

"They came from campuses across the country. They came with hope and conviction. And they came with a firm message: Time is running out," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "Undocumented college students, who were brought to the United States illegally as children and who are known as 'Dreamers,' took to the halls of Capitol Hill on Tuesday, joining several hundred supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The DACA program has enabled thousands of Dreamers to avoid being deported, to attend college, and to work. Amid the scramble in Congress to pass a tax overhaul, the students pressed lawmakers not to forget them or that the program expires in March without new legislation."

State News

"Vanderbilt University's chancellor applauded Congress' removal of taxes on graduate school tuition credits in its tax overhaul," the Tennessean reports. "But Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos also blasted the Republican-led Congress' bill for falling short in other ways, namely a 1.4 percent excise tax on certain university endowments."

"'When I was here at Cal State, I was homeless for three months,' Sharon Luisjuan said, looking west across the Cal State San Bernardino campus," the Orange County Register reports. "A former foster youth who had aged out of the system, Luisjuan beat the odds and earned a college degree with the help of CSUSB's Renaissance Scholars program. Cal State and University of California campuses offer such programs across the state. They provide former foster youths with educational support, peer support, counseling, housing assistance, financial support and even food."

Opinions

"Faculty members who teach face-to-face may imagine that last week's vote by the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle net neutrality doesn't touch them, since their instruction is exclusively on campus, not plugged in to the web. Unfortunately, they're mistaken," Robert Ubell writes in an opinion article for EdSurge.

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