today’s news for Friday, July 31, 2015

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Inceptia/NSLP is a nonprofit organization providing premier expertise in higher education access, student loan repayment, analytics, default prevention and financial education. Since 1986, our mission has been to support schools as they arm students with the knowledge needed to become financially responsible adults. More information available at


Financial literacy can be a dry topic, and one that’s particularly difficult to make interesting for students. But the State University of New York at Cobleskill found a way to make it more engaging – and cut its loan default rate nearly in half. 

On Monday, the House of Representatives passed the Need-Based Educational Aid Act of 2015, by a unanimous vote. Introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the bipartisan legislation – which passed the Senate by unanimous vote on July 14 – extends the Section 568 antitrust exemption, ensuring certain colleges and universities can continue collaborating with regard to need-based financial aid. Noted Grassley: “Our bill allows colleges and universities to continue working together, free from the threat of antitrust litigation, to ensure that students in need of financial aid are treated fairly and consistently."

A NASFAA conference interest session and a recent Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) from the Department of Education (ED) remind schools of the statutory requirements related to homeless youth, clarify the roles and responsibilities of financial aid administrators, and offer guidance on best practices when working with this vulnerable population.

What an incredible past couple of weeks it has been! Getting to attend this year's NASFAA conference was truly an unforgettable experience – and the fact that it was in New Orleans was just the icing on the cake. Read on to learn more about my time at the conference and don't forget to check out my Facebook album for pictures I've taken while in D.C.

Tell your financial aid colleagues across the country about your career developments in 2014-15 by completing the "Movers and Shakers" form by Friday, August 7. NASFAA members nationwide will see your update in NASFAA Now, our 2014-15 Annual Impact Report, in early November.

The Standards of Excellence (SOE) peer review program session at the 2015 NASFAA National Conference included a panel of experts who have been on many SOE reviews over the years. If you attended this session at the NASFAA Conference, we want to hear from you! Please fill out this short online form if you are interested in learning more about having a NASFAA Standards of Excellence Review at your institution. For more information on the SOE program, please contact Ashley Reich, SOE Administrator, at or 202-785-6963.


Institutions participating in the Federal Perkins Loan program use the assignment form to assign loans to the Department for collection without recompense, transferring the authority to collect on the loan. This request is for continuing approval off the paper based assignment form and for approval of the electronic process being finalized. The same information is being requested in both processing methods. The electronic process will allow for batch processing as well as individual processing.


National News

"Federal subsidized student loans to higher income families nearly tripled in the four years after the start of the recession, according to a report issued this week by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators," according to Financial Advisor.

"Students who participate in federal work-study are more likely to graduate and get a job after college. But those who get the biggest academic benefits from the program -- low-income students at public colleges who would have worked anyhow -- are the least likely to receive the federal grants," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"The Obama administration is poised to announce on Friday that it will offer Pell Grants to some prisoners, the first adult inmates to be eligible for the grants since Congress barred prisoners from receiving them more than 20 years ago," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"For most of us, debt is a big part of life. According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt — from student loans to credit card balances," NPR reports.

"Law school doesn't look like a great deal for many students. Tuition keeps going up, which means bigger loans to pay off," Marketplace reports.

"Social Finance Inc., the four-year-old online lender that’s said to be in talks to raise about $800 million in a new round of capital, is getting top ratings for the first time on securities backed by its student loans," Bloomberg Business reports.


"Regarding your editorial 'College Aid Means Higher Tuition' (July 20): There is no agreement among economists over whether there is a causal effect between student aid and college tuition," Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, writes in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"Although many proposals have been floating around Washington to simplify the Free Application for Student Financial Aid, professionals who deal with campus financial aid programs believe they have found a solution that strikes just the right balance," Education Week's College Bound reports. "A working group from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released a report today that outlines a new process it maintains will streamline the federal aid application process while still capturing important data that colleges need to make awards."

"Brown Center Fellow Beth Akers recently participated in a lively debate over the controversial motion, 'student loans are a crisis for students and the economy,' at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) annual conference," according to the Brookings Institute's The Brown Center Chalkboard.

"Kaplan Career Institute and Lincoln Technical Institute will pay a combined $2.3 million to former students to settle claims by the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, that the two colleges intentionally misled students," The Chronicle of Higher Education's The Ticker reports.

"The U.S. Department of Education recently released its annual report on the federal Pell Grant program, which provides detailed information about the program’s finances and who is receiving grants," Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor at Seton Hall University, writes in the Brookings Institute's The Brown Center Chalkboard.

"With endless TV commercials, radio ads, mailings and billboards, the country's largest for-profit universities have made themselves household names. But the marketing often doesn't end there," according to The Washington Post's WonkBlog.


"New Orleans. A city of extremes. ... And at the NASFAA conference, bright-eyed 'new' financial aid staff sit next to others who have seen years of regulatory changes," RMASFAA writes in its blog.




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