NASFAA regularly convenes task forces and working groups comprised of geographically diverse groups of NASFAA member volunteers from all types of postsecondary institutions and sectors to review and examine legislative and policy proposals. Our task forces have addressed a wide range of issues within NASFAA's major policy areas.
NASFAA Task Forces and Working Groups have addressed the following policy issues:
December 2017 - NASFAA’s board of directors recently approved the Re-Examining Paradigms of Campus-Based Aid task force’s report. The task force convened over the summer for 2017, ultimately developing two models for preserving the campus-based aid programs in a one grant/one loan environment.
June 2014 - The primary purpose of the NASFAA Campus-Based Aid Allocation Task Force was to examine the formula by which congressional appropriations for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Perkins Loan programs are distributed to schools, and, in consultation with appropriate groups, develop proposals for changes to the allocation formula as part of the Association’s reauthorization recommendations.
June 2014 - The Consumer Information Task Force was convened by the NASFAA Board of Directors to conduct a thorough review of the current student consumer information requirements and propose ways to streamline both the content and delivery of those requirements.
May 2012 - NASFAA values the importance of clear, concise, accurate information for students and parents, and continually seeks to improve award letters. The Award Notification & Consumer Information Task Force was charged with examining best practices in award notification and consumer information and reporting back to the NASFAA Board of Directors with recommendations on how to improve or standardize elements of an award notification.
August 2016 - Growing concern over the complexity of the federal financial aid system and a push toward simplification has led to increased attention toward streamlining the federal student aid programs. Specifically, several proposals have recommended consolidating the federal aid programs into one grant program and one loan program, commonly referred to as “one grant, one loan.” With that in mind, NASFAA convened a task force to examine the concept of “one grant, one loan” in October 2015. The task force’s final report, released today, outlines several considerations and recommendations for policymakers interested in federal aid program consolidation.
July 2015 - NASFAA’s FAFSA Working Group (FWG) developed a model that would simplify the FAFSA process while still ensuring program integrity and accurate targeting of federal funds. By eliminating irrelevant and unnecessary questions, including those not related to student aid and fully utilizing technology and existing federal and state systems, NASFAA's model makes the process much easier for the neediest students.
August 2017 - Graduate and Professional (G/P) students make up a relatively small proportion of the total student population yet they hold a disproportionate share of outstanding student loan debt. Much of the focus of the federal student aid programs, as reflected in policy, FSA resources, media attention and public opinion, skews primarily toward undergraduate students. With a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act looming, NASFAA convened the Graduate and Professional Loan Limits task force to make recommendations that would ensure that G/P students’ needs are adequately considered in upcoming legislation.
September 2016 - In their second report "Market Research on Law School Student Aid Award Letters and Shopping Sheet Information" NASFAA's Consumer Information and Law Student Indebtedness (CILSI) Task Force set out to identify through consumer testing what information on the financial aid award letter and ED’s Shopping Sheet could be modified to create a document that better assists students applying to, or currently attending, law school.
July 2016 - Convened in August 2015, the Task Force Examining the Lack of Graduate-Specific Data was charged with identifying the data that is currently being collected and what new data the graduate/professional community would like to see collected in the future. In its final report, out today, the task force stresses there is "a dire need for better data to help accurately counsel and inform current and prospective students of graduate and professional programs." The task force provides seven final recommendations to improve available resources to help both financial aid offices in their work and students in their decision making.
March 2016 - In our report "Focusing Federal Student Aid Websites On Graduate And Professional Students" NASFAA's Consumer Information and Law Student Indebtedness (CILSI) Task Force set out to make recommendations for the StudentAid.gov and StudentLoans.gov websites that would expand their focus to include the needs of G/P students and allow for greater transparency related to G/P program costs and borrowing. With websites tailored to their distinctive needs, G/P students will be better-informed consumers with clearer pictures of their options, leading to institutional choices that are good matches for their long-term financial and educational goals.
April 2015 - In June 2014 NASFAA convened the Graduate and Professional Issues Caucus "to identify the unique needs (training and policy) of graduate and professional schools and to provide recommendations on how NASFAA can best support these institutions moving forward." The caucus concluded its work in January 2015, and submitted a final report with several recommendations for board consideration.
June 2019 - NASFAA's Board of Directors recently approved the Modernizing Title IV Aid to Encourage and Accommodate Innovation in Higher Education task force's recommendations that were developed over the spring of 2019. The group made several recommendations for changes to existing statute and regulations that would improve the financial aid delivery process for students and reduce burden on financial aid offices, while maintaining proper safeguards against fraud and abuse. The group also developed several new proposals to address unique challenges institutions and students face in the context of innovative learning models.
June 2015 - The Innovative Learning Models Task Force report identifies five major themes which set the platform for the statutory and regulatory recommendations to expand access, speed time to degree completion, and reduce reliance on student loan borrowing in response to rising costs and the large growth in the number of nontraditional students.
November 2019 - The Enhanced Loan Counseling Task Force Report was formed in early 2019 in response to growing Congressional interest in mandating annual loan counseling. The group recommended a customized counseling approach, using modules that would be offered at key points in students’ educational paths instead of a one-size-fits-all annual counseling requirement.
January 2017 - Convened in July 2016, the Assessing Tuition- and Debt-Free Higher Education Task Force was charged with evaluating the implications and tradeoffs of tuition-free and debt-free college for institutions of higher education and the broader higher education landscape. While the political landscape has shifted in the time between its deliberations and the final report, and a national program like President Obama’s America’s College Promise is highly unlikely under the new administration, the findings in the task force’s newly released report can help inform state and local program development for the short term and may well form a framework for a national program at some point in the more distant future.
July 2016 - NASFAA’s Dynamic Loan Limits Working Group was tasked with determining whether the current Direct Loan limit structure should change, and if so, to make a proposal outlining those changes. The group explored the idea of varying, or dynamic, loan limits for different schools or students using established criteria like program of study or meeting certain thresholds. The discussion draft outlines their proposals.
February 2015 - The Servicing Issues Task Force was convened to deliver a report to the Department of Education and other relevant agencies with recommendations to improve federal student loan servicing, clearly indicating (1) areas of deficiency in loan servicing, (2) the extent (how widespread) of those deficiencies, and (3) proposed solutions. Based on the research and discussions, the task force developed six recommendations, divided into two broad areas of focus: Information and Communication, and Standardization.
June 2014 - The convened task force examined ways to improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which allows qualifying borrowers to have their Direct Loans forgiven after 10 years of full-time service in an eligible public service job. The recommendations include establishing forgiveness limits to ensure that borrowers, especially those with high earning potential, have a reasonable expectation of repayment.
February 2013 - In light of increasing concern about student loans, debt levels, and rising default rates, which coincide with worries about college costs, affordability, and transparency, NASFAA convened a task force in 2012 to study this issue and make recommendations for improvement. NASFAA’s Task Force on Student Indebtedness was charged with examining current trends and making recommendations aimed at improving the system for students and institutions throughout all stages of borrowing, including: pre-borrowing, in-school, and repayment.
September 2015 - NASFAA's task force on the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) released its report saying that R2T4 "is most confusing and damaging to the very students financial aid is designed to help," and added “it is time to revisit the law and find a better way to attend to the needs of students who completely withdraw, in a way that is fair to all financial aid recipients." The report will be used to continue NASFAA's reauthorization-related discussions on R2T4.
November 2018 - Since April 2015, NASFAA has been working to provide assistance to students whose schools closed while they were enrolled or shortly after they withdrew. With the help of grant funding, a ticketing website, and a working group comprised of NASFAA member volunteers, NASFAA has been able to assist more than 6,000 students from more than 30 closed institutions across the country. In this paper, NASFAA sheds light on the struggles these students still face years after their schools have closed and offers five steps the Department of Education can take to improve the experience for students navigating school closures.