today’s news for Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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NASFAA members yesterday met with congressional staffers to discuss concerns from the graduate and professional student community, including student loan origination fees, the importance of campus-based aid programs, and a need to keep intact the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

With the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, members of Congress unveil new proposals for the future of higher education on a continuous basis. NASFAA's new series provides monthly updates on new pieces of legislation introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to provide aid administrators with most up-to-date information for their offices and their own administration. Check out The Capitol Recap page to learn more about the proposals that were rolled out last month.

Participating in the NASFAA election process is an important way to contribute to your association. Start by nominating a colleague today. NASFAA holds elections each year to select members to serve on its Board of Directors, which provides oversight and guidance for the direction of the Association. The nomination deadline is Monday, November 2, 5:00 pm ET.


NASFAA University’s Online Course Return of Title IV Funds begins in three weeks, reserve your seat. This online course focuses on how to handle a student's Title IV funds when they withdraw from school before completing the payment period or period of enrollment. In addition, the course will teach you how to properly identify a Title IV recipient and the formula associated with the return of Title IV funds. Passing this online course provides a NASFAA University Professional Credential.

Join us for the Washington Update Webinar, October 15, 2015 at 2:00 pm ET. NASFAA President Justin Draeger will provide his insights into the news emanating from Congress and the White House. This policy-based webinar will provide you with the latest political happenings in Washington, D.C. This webinar is offered at no charge for NASFAA members and webinar package purchasers, but register today to save your spot.

Help us gear up for our 2016 NASFAA National Conference. NASFAA’s 2016 Conference Program Task Force is requesting interest session proposals for the 2016 conference, set for July 10-13, 2016 at the Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C. Check out the guidelines for presenters and moderators, then click the yellow "Submit Your Session Proposal Online" link to be taken to the submission form.


Federal Student Aid has made substantive revisions to the Application and Verification Guide of the 2015-2016 Federal Student Aid Handbook. The revisions have been added to the Errata and Updates for 2015-2016 Federal Student Aid Handbook page, and the updated PDF files are now available.

For the quarter ending September 30, 2015 the average rate used to compute special allowance will be 0.24 percent.


National News

"John B. King Jr., who will lead the Education Department through President Obama’s final year in office, isn’t well known in higher-education circles," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has pumped the brakes on competency-based education, partially due to concerns about the level of interaction between instructors and students in some of those programs," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"... Many observers had assumed that [Arne] Duncan would be among those to turn out the lights on the administration in early 2017, given his close personal relationship to the president; they are basketball-playing buddies as well as close colleagues. And indeed, President Obama said in a news conference announcing Duncan's departure Friday that he had 'pushed Arne to stay,'" Inside Higher Ed reports.

"America's crushing surge of student debt, now at $1.2 trillion, has bred a disturbing new phenomenon: School loans that span multiple generations within families. Weighed down by their own loans, many parents lack the means to fund their children's educations without sinking even deeper into debt," The Associated Press reports.

State News

"While most Clark County high school students want to attend college, many of them don't know how to pursue and pay for a degree, according to survey findings released Friday by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

"Professors at Utah State University hope to follow about 3,000 middle schoolers over the next seven years to give them the best chance possible at succeeding in college," the Deseret News reports.

"Susan Fischer stumbled into a career in the financial aid office as a student at UW-Madison when, working in 'factories or wherever to pay the bills,' she heard about an opening for a limited term employee at what a friend called a 'funky' place on campus," The Capital Times reports. "She was hired on the spot."


"Arne Duncan’s recent announcement that he’ll be departing as U.S. secretary of education provides an opportunity to reflect on his accomplishments in bringing critical higher-education issues to the forefront and helping tackle some of the sector’s most pressing challenges," Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive of the Lumina Foundation, writes in an opinion piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Farewell, Arne Duncan! As Secretary Duncan hangs up his jersey after seven years of leading the U.S. Department of Education, speculation is already underway about the next secretary of education," Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, writes in an opinion piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"I was at a financial conference, also attended by a former Democratic politician — a person some used to think was potentially veep material, at least. At one point, this person wondered aloud, 'Why don’t we just make college free?'" according to a blog from James Pethokoukis for AEIdeas.

"As a former Chicago schools chief, Arne Duncan was immersed in the challenges facing K-12 schools when he became secretary of education in 2009. He was much less versed in higher education. But Duncan, who announced Friday that he plans to step down from his Cabinet post in December, has left a significant mark on the nation’s colleges and universities in his tenure of nearly seven years," according to The Washington Post's Grade Point.




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