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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Thursday, August 17, 2017

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

A bipartisan team of lawmakers earlier this month announced the formation of a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Caucus in the House of Representatives to focus on protecting the program that would provide student loan forgiveness to borrowers who go on to work in public service occupations.

On June 22, the Department of Education (ED) published a request for comments in the Federal Register soliciting input from the public about regulations that should be repealed, replaced, or modified. Comments were originally due by August 21, 2017, but that deadline has been extended to September 20. NASFAA posted a series of articles in Today’s News requesting member input. This article reports on that input, which includes over 80 responses. Many responses listed more than one area for consideration.

The percentage of student loan borrowers with $20,000 or more in debt has doubled over the last decade, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Wednesday. The watchdog agency also found fewer borrowers are paying down their student loans five years into repayment, and more are borrowing later in life.

Trump Signs $3 Billion GI Bill Expansion Into Law

President Donald Trump yesterday signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, a bill that will increase veterans education benefits by more than $3 billion. The bill eliminates the 15-year expiration of GI Bill benefits and increases the monthly amount of educational assistance for survivors and dependents of disabled veterans. The bill also restores veterans educational benefits to students who were forced to discontinue pursuit of their educational programs due to sudden school closure. Refer back to our prior Today's News coverage of the bill for highlights of some of its other provisions.

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Every day you likely run across a new situation or some twist on a question that you have to research to find the answer. In NASFAA's complimentary How To Find Answers to Your Regulatory Questions webinar you'll learn research strategies and locate and use common resources—including those provided by NASFAA—to find answers to those perplexing questions. This webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, September 12 at 2:00 pm ET, is free to both NASFAA members and non-members, but you must register in advance. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

This is a reminder of the upcoming deadline for submitting the Fiscal Operations Report for 2016-2017 and the Application to Participate for 2018-2019 (FISAP) for the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs.

This Electronic Announcement provides, in APPENDIX A, suggested text for each of the required 2018–2019 verification items that were identified in the May 5, 2017, Federal Register Notice. While use by an institution of the suggested text fulfills the regulatory verification requirements, institutions are not required to use Department suggested text and formats, except as noted below.

FEDERAL REGISTER

The Chief Operating Officer for Federal Student Aid announces the variable interest rates for the period July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, for certain loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. The Chief Operating Officer takes this action to give notice of FFEL Program loan variable interest rates to the public.

The Chief Operating Officer for Federal Student Aid announces the interest rates for loans made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program prior to July 1, 2013. For loans that have a variable interest rate, the rates announced in this notice are in effect for the period July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018. The Chief Operating Officer takes this action to give notice of Direct Loan interest rates to the public.

HEADLINES

National News

"In a letter sent today to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, asked for information about the work of senior counsel Robert Eitel to determine if he broke conflict-of-interest laws," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"As the country divides more fervently across partisan lines, skepticism about the benefits of college is growing among some segments. As a result, colleges, particularly those in the two-year sector, are feeling the pressure to prove that their institutions can deliver better work-force outcomes," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"A consortium of research universities announced today that it is starting a new initiative to provide students with grants that help them face financial challenges as they near graduation," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"When most people think of a college student they likely imagine an 18- to 22-year-old coed bounding through the quad on the way to her dorm from a lecture hall. But these days, the typical college student actually looks more like Erin Jones," MarketWatch reports.

State News

"After Rhode Island recently became the fourth state in the country to offer free community college to its residents, some are calling for Massachusetts to consider following a similar path," Wicked Local reports.

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