today’s news for Friday, February 12, 2016

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Everyone has their opinion about what's caused the sharp increase in college tuition over the last several decades. Some say it's clear that state disinvestment in higher education led to the increase, while others steadfastly claim it's due to "administrative bloat" and faculty salaries. But according to a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, federal financial aid is the true culprit.

Enrollments in distance education programs around the country continue to increase, despite a decline in overall higher education enrollment, according to a new report from the Online Learning Consortium.

Chaired by Art Young of BYU, this thought force was convened after extensive conversations with regional presidents in recent years about the role of NASFAA in supporting the regions and states, and the role that state and regional associations play in the national context. The thought force—comprised of tenured leaders with experience at the state, region and NASFAA level—will work to determine the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities inherent to the national-regional-state association dynamic and produce a white paper outlining next steps for exploration and potential models for future cooperation. See the thought force charter for more information.

Automatically receive email notifications whenever new jobs matching your specific search criteria are posted to the NASFAA Career Center by creating a Job Alert. Go to the Career Center's Job Alerts page and make your selections, including how often you want to receive the alerts. After you click Create Job Alert, you will be asked to create a Job Seeker account, which allows you to log back into the Career Center and modify your selections. Once your account is created, consider uploading your resume so you can quickly and easily apply to any job in the Career Center

NASFAA Office Closed Monday, February 15 For Presidents Day

The NASFAA office will be closed on Monday, February 15 for the Presidents Day federal holiday. The NASFAA website and other online services (including the AskRegs Knowledgebase) will still be available, but the Today's News daily email will not be sent and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Tuesday, February 16.


This letter updates information necessary for schools and lenders to comply with the requirements for providing borrowers with information regarding the FSA Student Loan Ombudsman Group.

This letter reminds financial aid administrators of their authority under section 479A of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) to exercise what is known as "professional judgment" to address the special circumstances that may arise for families who, beginning with the 2017–2018 FAFSA, apply for federal student financial aid using prior-prior year income.

In this announcement, the Department provides updated mailing address information for ECSI Federal Perkins Loan Servicer. These changes are effective immediately.


National News

"On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it’s establishing a new office to address the complaints of students who attended for-profit colleges," according to The Atlantic.

"Rising tuition costs aren't the only thing driving up the cost of higher education. Textbook prices have skyrocketed in recent years," NBC News reports.

State News

"In an unprecedented move, the state's student financial aid office on Thursday notified Louisiana's colleges and universities that it had stopped TOPS payments because of the uncertainty related to the state budget crisis," The Advocate reports.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"President Obama is slated to nominate John B. King Jr. to officially lead the Department of Education, where he has served as acting secretary since the start of the year, according to several people familiar with the decision," The Washington Post's Grade Point reports.

"President Barack Obama would be tied to one of the nation's main college financial programs long after he leaves office if Congress approves a request in his last budget proposal," The Huffington Post reports.

"It's become an annual affair. President Obama releases his budget request to Congress and buries a bombshell in it about the runaway costs of the income-based repayment program (IBR) for federal student loans," Jason Delisle, director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation, writes in the foundation's EdCentral blog.

"Jeb Bush's higher education plan attracted little notice in the heat of a campaign that has focused more on personalities than policy details, but his proposed reforms to the federal student loan program deserve serious attention regardless of the outcome of his bid for the presidency," Matthew M. Chingos, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, writes in a white paper for the Brookings Institution.



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