today’s news for Friday, October 9, 2015

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Arne Duncan came to the Obama administration with a strong background in K-12 education, after serving as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools for nearly eight years, and is the second-longest serving education secretary, after Richard Riley, who served under former President Bill Clinton. Still, Duncan used his tenure to tackle more higher education issues – often controversial ones – than his predecessors. He made it a point to bring campus sexual assault, college affordability, accountability, and fraud to the spotlight as national education issues.

NASFAA Office Closed Oct. 12 For The Columbus Day Federal Holiday

The NASFAA office will be closed on Monday, October 12 for the Columbus Day federal holiday. The NASFAA website and other online services will still be available, but NASFAA's Today's News and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Tuesday, October 13.

We are compiling a repository of position descriptions for financial aid compliance officers. Once gathered, we’ll make the position descriptions available as templates for member institutions interested in hiring a staff member dedicated to compliance. All submissions will be shared with the NASFAA membership, so please be sure to remove any sensitive or private information that you do not wish to share before uploading your position description document to the submission form. If you're currently looking for a compliance officer, don't forget to post the job on NASFAA's career center.

Conducting a financial aid information night is a great way to deliver important financial aid information to high school students and parents. NASFAA's newly updated Financial Aid Night presentation, is now available along with the accompanying slideshow, guide, and participant handouts. Designed to provide students and families with a basic understanding of financial aid concepts, this presentation also reviews sources of financial aid and the application process for federal student aid. Access the complimentary presentation today to start planning your next financial aid night.

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information about how to win cool stuff. You are cordially invited to participate in NASFAA’s 50th Anniversary Online Trivia Contest, taking you through our history one decade at a time. First up, NASFAA’s first ten years. Do you know where the first conference was held? Who was the first NASFAA president? Find the answers by navigating the NASFAA website and reading Today’s News. To participate, go to the trivia homepage and dive in – and keep an eye on Today’s News to see if you’ve won one of our great prizes.


Several institutions have asked how they can confirm that they are compliant with the GE reporting requirements for the programs included on their NSLDS GE Program Tracker List. [See below for information about the NSLDS GE Program Tracker List.]

In 2011, the Department established on its Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website a special Gainful Employment Information Page to support its efforts to ensure that all institutions have easy access to the most current information on the gainful employment regulatory requirements and the Department's implementation plans. The Department is removing the following documents from this section of the Gainful Employment Information Page. 


National News

"The change to the federal student-aid application process that the Obama Administration announced last month may at first sound arcane. Students will be able to apply earlier for aid, and use older tax data, a practice with the requisite wonky name 'prior prior year' or PPY. But this change, observers say, could have big implications — and not only for financial-aid offices," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "Some have already committed to moving their aid processes up — the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators has a list. Many others are waiting to see what their competitors decide to do, said Justin Draeger, president of the association."

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating Wells Fargo & Co. over its student loan servicing practices, according to people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The nation's wealthiest colleges and universities may want to brace themselves for another round of federal scrutiny over their endowments and executive compensation, if a congressional hearing held Wednesday is any guide," Inside Higher Ed reports. 

"As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to undertake its second close examination of race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, several other public universities are being accused of trying to shield such affirmative-action practices from outside scrutiny," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"It’s widely thought the task of applying for college financial aid will become considerably easier for students and their families with the Obama administration’s just-announced move to allow early filing of the Federal Student Aid form, or FAFSA, starting fall 2016 for the 2017-18 academic year," Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports.

"U.S. immigrants are an ever-changing group, and a recent report shows that now they're the most educated they've ever been, according to the Pew Research Center," the Deseret News reports.

State News

"MOOCs may soon become a prominent factor in admissions decisions at selective colleges, a way for students who may not do well on traditional measures like the SAT to prove they can hack it," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"Higher education was among the big winners as Iowa's casinos and racetracks paid the state $313.9 million in gaming revenue in fiscal 2015," the Globe Gazette reports.


"After a series of blockbuster hearings held 25 years ago on abuses in the higher education industry, Congress created a system to protect undergraduates from risky student loans," New America's Kevin Carey writes for The New York Times. "But two weeks ago, the Education Department released a trove of new data suggesting that the system is failing and that, at some colleges, the saddling of students with loans they cannot afford to pay down is far more dire than anyone knew."

"For a century, the Carnegie Unit -- or credit hour -- served American education very well. Created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1906, it is now the nearly universal accounting unit for colleges and schools. It brought coherence and common standards to the chaotic 19th-century high school and college curriculum, established a measure for judging student academic progress, and set the requirements for high school graduation and college admission. But today it has grown outdated and less useful," Arthur Levine writes for Inside Higher Ed.

"... Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, meet American Deduction University. In "The Covert For-Profit," a damning report issued this week, the Century Foundation's Robert Shireman details how many of the same shady practices of self-enrichment used by prime time preachers are being replicated by colleges and universities across the country. But these profit-seeking presidents aren't after small-time phone donors –they are aiming straight for Uncle Sam's pockets," Ben Miller writes for U.S. News & World Report.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"If you’re one of the millions of Americans with federal student loan debt, you might remember going through loan counseling — once before you received the loans and once when you were leaving school, about to repay them. Then again, perhaps you don’t recall doing so, because an online counseling session (the most common format) isn’t the most memorable part of college," according to a blog from "A new report identified some practices that may improve borrowers’ financial success after graduation. The report comes from TG, a nonprofit that administers the Education Department’s Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans made before July 1, 2010, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)."

"The U.S. Department of Defense has put the University of Phoenix on probation and prohibited it from enrolling new students who are using the department’s Tuition Assistance Program, which provides financial aid to active-duty service members," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education's The Ticker.




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