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today’s news for Friday, September 18, 2020

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

 Off the Cuff

This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie return after a brief summer hiatus as they cover the Senate hearing on FAFSA simplification, discussing past efforts and the chances of any FAFSA-related legislation being included in any upcoming bills. Allie details the latest bipartisan proposal aimed at providing additional COVID-19 relief before the upcoming November election and Megan provides an update on a continuing resolution making its way through Congress before funding expires at the end of September. Finally, Jill details a recent report from the Department of Education’s internal watchdog regarding implementation and oversight of the CARES Act. Plus, the group catches up on life events that took place over the past few weeks. 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Thursday outlined how Congress could seek to further simplify the FAFSA while still providing institutions of higher education with the data they need to determine aid, during a largely bipartisan hearing at a time when agreement across the aisle is becoming less common. The hearing comes toward the end of the session for the 116th Congress and follows up on the panel’s most recent effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which followed bipartisan discussions on FAFSA simplification. The effort to complete a full reauthorization of HEA will not come to fruition this session and future prospects of overhauling the law — which could serve as a vehicle to simplify the FAFSA — remain unclear.

With the September 30 federal spending deadline rapidly approaching, the House intends to consider a continuing resolution (CR) next week and could potentially release the bill text later this afternoon that would stave off a government shutdown. “Clearly we will not be able to conclude the appropriations process and we will have to have a CR to make sure that government stays serving the American people. Hopefully we can reach a bipartisan agreement that will not be a controversial continuing resolution. I know, Democrats and Republicans and the administration are working towards that end,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in floor remarks. The package could contain some anomalies related to coronavirus aid, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said that it was her intention to keep the negotiations over additional aid and government spending separate. House Minority Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the remaining policy differences between the parties were “minor” and that they were making progress towards extending the spending deadline.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

We're looking for a few great authors to write new chapters for the third edition of NASFAA's book, "You're the Director: A Guide to Leadership in Student Financial Aid." This is the book new, aspiring, and seasoned directors depend on for insights and inspiration on leadership in our field. Read on for the topics the authors will cover. Each author will work with the editor on content and style and will submit their completed chapter by Jan. 4, 2021. If you're interested in writing a chapter on any of these topics, please complete this form by Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. 

AskRegs

This AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A has been updated for clarity and to provide U.S. Department of Education (ED) confirmation that the student and institutional shares of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants do not need to be drawn down on a proportional basis. View the full answer to this question to learn more and search for answers to your other pressing regulatory and compliance questions, in NASFAA's AskRegs Knowledgebase.

CFAA Logo

Do you have at least five years of experience in federal financial aid administration? If so, it's likely you've already gained a basic understanding of most of the subject areas covered by the certification knowledge exam — and that's what it takes! You don't have to be an expert yet. Evaluate what you already know using the Exam Content Outline in the Candidate Handbook. Use the recommended core resources and the new beta version of the Exam Preparation Guide to focus your efforts on any topics where you feel less confident, or you've had minimal first-hand experience. The next available testing window opens Oct. 7, 2020. With some advance preparation and review, you'll be ready on exam day!

SOE 20th

We're scheduling Standards of Excellence (SOE) and Consumer Information Assessment reviews for fall 2020 and spring 2021. Both services offer an objective, confidential, peer review program that assesses your institution's administration of federal financial aid, including COVID-19 implementation. Customized reviews will highlight strengths, identify compliance exceptions, and recommend improvements. Complete our simple information request form to learn more about NASFAA's peer review services.

Please join us in congratulating Josephine Cassar, director of financial assistance and services at St. Clair County Community College, who has received the "Henry Dykema Distinguished Service Award," MSFAA's highest award bestowed on an individual. Also join us in congratulating Robert Kniss, formerly the director of student financial services at Albion College, who is now the director of student financial aid at the University of Memphis, and Lauren Greider, director of financial aid at Indiana University Southeast, who will become executive director, student financial services at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) effective October 5. Celebrate your career developments by completing the "Movers and Shakers" form to share the news with your colleagues. We'll review your submission and then post your update to our Movers and Shakers page for all to see.

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