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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Friday, August 7, 2020

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AccessLex Institute. Since 1983, we have been steadfast in our commitment to inform students of the economic realities of law school without limiting their aspirations. So, if your students need help applying for financial aid, understanding loan terms and/or evaluating their student loan repayment options, have them contact AccessConnex by AccessLexSM.

NEWS FROM NASFAA

 Off the Cuff

On a special episode of “Off the Cuff,” Megan is joined by Sandy Baum from the Urban Institute and Lauren Walizer from the Center for Law and Social Policy to discuss their contributions to NASFAA’s series of 10 papers that provide policy recommendations to help streamline the FAFSA. Lauren discusses her paper — co-authored by Elizabeth Lower-Basch — that analyzes the impact of using public benefits to reduce paperwork for students completing the FAFSA and how it would maximize financial aid. Sandy gives an overview of her three papers in the series, which detail the current methodology used to measure a family’s ability to contribute toward educational expenses and reviews the various methods proposed to simplify the FAFSA. The two also gave their answers to what the perfect FAFSA looks like. Keep an eye out for more special episodes from our FAFSA paper series throughout the month of August!

The Department of Education (ED) last month published an Electronic Announcement (EA) notifying institutions that their Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Section 15011 quarterly reporting requirements would be satisfied by their compliance with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006. This announcement, published July 10, raised considerable confusion from institutions, primarily because FFATA reporting is for federal grantees who make subawards from those federal grants, which is not the case for the majority of institutional CARES Act grant recipients. In conversations with ED, the department acknowledged widespread confusion on reporting requirements and confirmed that it would be rare for institutional CARES Act recipients to have subawardees and, as such, most institutions would not be subject to FFATA reporting for their CARES Act funding.

NASFAA wrote to Senate leadership Thursday calling for protections enacted under the CARES Act for student loan borrowers, including the suspension of payments and interest accrual, to be extended before they expire at the end of September. Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the letter notes that roughly 40 million borrowers will have to resume repayment in October if action is not taken. Additionally, the letter points out that the Senate Republicans' Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act does not extend the existing borrower protections, and offers no immediate reprieve for borrowers. “The economic impact of the pandemic on students and families is ongoing, and many student loan borrowers, including some who were successfully making their monthly payments before this emergency, will not have regained their financial footing when the payment suspension expires at the end of September,” the letter states. 

Seeking to work around the currently stalled congressional negotiations for the next coronavirus relief package, President Donald Trump on Saturday issued an executive order to provide deferments to borrowers on student loan repayments and waive interest on student loans through December 31. While operational and implementation questions remain, the directive would appear to provide relief to millions of borrowers who would otherwise find themselves back in repayment on October 1. Further action on student loans could be taken should congressional negotiations yield a new bout of relief. House Democrats' coronavirus relief package has called for pausing student loan payments and interest accrual through Sept. 30, 2021, while Senate Republicans’ proposal calls for modifying the current student loan repayment system.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

NASFAA Seeks Your Input on CARES Act Reporting Requirement

NASFAA seeks your feedback on the Department of Education’s (ED) new CARES Act institutional reporting requirements announced last week in the Federal Register. Specifically, we are interested in whether your institution has the information requested in questions 6, 7, and 8 readily available, and what concerns you have about your institution’s ability to report this data. We’re also interested in whether ED’s estimate of 1.5 hours to complete this data collection is accurate. Please share your thoughts on these questions or any other concerns you have about the data collection to policy@nasfaa.org by Aug. 18, 2020.

In support of its mission, NASFAA strives to pursue and promote, in principle and practice, the diversity and inclusion of its membership to represent the profession and the students we serve. NASFAA promotes a culture of diversity and inclusion by encouraging involvement and access regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, appearance, geographic location, professional level or institution type. Learn more about NASFAA's diversity and inclusion efforts by taking a look at our Diversity Leadership Program, Diversity Toolkit, and interview with our new Diversity Officer Scott Skaro. Have suggestions for how we can improve? We need and welcome your feedback, comments, and questions.

Join Us in Welcoming the Following Members...

Please join us in giving NASFAA's newest member — Best Care College — a warm welcome. This month we also have the pleasure of welcoming back the following members: Chowan University, Colby-Sawyer College, Hartwick College, Labette Community College, Radford Locklin Technical Center, The University of Findlay, University of Rio Grande, Walsh University, and Warner University. We are glad to have all of you as NASFAA members!

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FEDERAL REGISTER

The Department of Education (ED) has waived the requirements in the department’s General Administrative Regulations that generally prohibit project periods exceeding five years and project period extensions involving the obligation of additional federal funds. The waiver and extension would enable 23 projects under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) to receive funding for an additional period, not to exceed September 30, 2021.

NOTABLE HEADLINES

NASFAA TRAINING

NASFAA CAREER CENTER

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