today’s news for Friday, February 17, 2017

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 Off the Cuff

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team welcomes Megan back to the podcast, and discusses developing news surrounding DACA students and potential deportation. Justin shares details of his recent trip to the SASFAA conference, and talks about the highlights of NASFAA's recent comments on Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Allie talks about the "Michelle Obama effect" on FAFSA completions, and Stephen gives an update on regulations covered in the Congressional Review Act. Plus, Ashton Kutcher makes an appearance on Capitol Hill, and a "Trumpagator" is surfacing in South Carolina.

During a speech at a conference hosted by the Association of Community College Trustees and the American Association of Community Colleges, newly-confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave attendees a taste of what some of her postsecondary education priorities might be.

After the Department of Education (ED) in 2011 tightened the credit standards for receiving PLUS loans negatively impacted students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a slight course-correction two years later appears to have slightly increased the number of PLUS recipients, though decreases in enrollment have not yet rebounded. Those findings come from a follow-up study published by REL Mid-Atlantic, a division of the Department of Education's (ED) Institute of Education Sciences.

In a letter sent to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, three Republican leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce congratulated DeVos on her confirmation, and informed her of Congress' duties to oversee the Department of Education "to ensure good governance and the protection of taxpayer dollars." The letter was signed by Reps. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina (chairwoman of the committee), Brett Guthrie of Kentucky (chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development), and Todd Rokita of Indiana (chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education). The three said in the letter that the committee sees oversight as "a tool to analyze the efficacy of federal laws, regulations, and programs and to increase transparency regarding the administration's decision-making."

NASFAA Office Closed Monday, February 20 for Presidents Day

The NASFAA office will be closed on Monday, February 20 for the Presidents Day federal holiday. The NASFAA website and other online services (including the AskRegs Knowledgebase) will still be available, but the Today's News daily email will not be sent and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Tuesday, February 21.
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National News

"There's an experiment underway at a few top universities around the world to make some master's degrees out there more affordable," NPR reports.

"The D.C. Court of Appeals decided [on Thursday] it will hear the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's appeal en banc in May, per the ABA. [Thursday's] ruling vacated the divided three-judge court ruling from October 2016 in PHH Mortgage v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that the structure was unconstitutional," Axios reports.

"A year ago Addi Hernandez was an administrative assistant at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. But as a graduate of the college and a Latina, Hernandez found Latino students on the Bowling Green campus would often approach her for advice on what forms they needed to fill out or what they needed to do to be better college students," according to Inside Higher Ed.

State News

"College isn't cheap, and more students are turning to GoFundMe online fundraising campaigns to raise money for college costs," The Chicago Tribune reports.


"What a difference an election can make. Across the country, there is renewed hope and confidence in the future. Expectations are high, as they should be. Now it’s time to do the hard work necessary to live up to those expectations," Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, writes in an opinion piece for Real Clear Education.

"Millions of community college students started the new school year with big plans: study for a couple of years before transferring and earning a bachelor’s degree. ... The odds are against them," Josh Wyner, founder and executive director of the college excellence program at the Aspen Institute, and Alison Kadlec, senior vice president and director of higher education and work force programs at Public Agenda, write in an opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"What does the appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary mean for higher learning? Both journalists and higher education experts have struggled to answer that question in the wake of the billionaire Republican donor’s razor thin confirmation," GoodCall reports.

"Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie loves brevity, which he demonstrated with his new one-sentence bill introduced last week: 'The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018,'" Alexander Holt, a policy analyst with the Education Policy program at New America, writes in a blog post.



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