today’s news for Thursday, March 22, 2018

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Lawmakers on Wednesday evening released the text of their final fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending bill (award year 2018-19), which includes several unexpected victories for student aid programs and policies, including an increase to the maximum Pell Grant and an immediate fix for schools looking to share Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data with authorized scholarship providers. This bill provides an overall increase of $3.9 billion for the Department of Education (ED).

Over one million students drop out of college annually, accruing loan debt despite not having earned a credential. A new report found that despite myths that these students are weak learners and have no intention of continuing their education, a majority want to return to college yet continue to face barriers to completing degrees.


It's not too early to plan for summer training needs. Overview of the Financial Aid Programs introduces attendees to basic financial aid concepts, categories and types of financial aid, the Title IV aid programs, and other federal sources of assistance to students. This course is not only an effective training tool for new financial aid staff, it also offers your institution's non-financial aid staff a basic understanding of financial aid programs and requirements. Register Now.

 Austin 2018

New for the 2018 NASFAA National Conference, registered attendees will have three options for pre-conference sessions on Sunday, June 24 in Austin, TX. These sessions are included with your registration fee at no additional cost. NASFAA U is pleased to offer two in-person courses on Verification and Return of Title IV Funds. Conference attendees who participate in either course will receive a voucher for the associated credential test. The third exciting option is our Diversity Event on Implicit Bias, led by featured speaker Lena Tenney. Register for the conference today and start thinking about which pre-conference session you'll choose.


An updated version of the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Gainful Employment User Guide is now available on the NSLDS User Documentation page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website.


National News

"Late last summer, President Trump signed into law a long-awaited update to the GI Bill -- a rare moment of bipartisanship in the first year of the Trump administration and a major victory for veterans’ groups. Just half a year later, though, the same organizations are lining up to oppose House legislation to reauthorize the law governing federal student aid, college accountability and many other aspects of higher ed," Inside Higher Ed reports. 

"U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) is calling for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to change a policy that is preventing students from getting financial-aid data they need to give private-scholarship providers for payments," according to the Business Journal News Network

"Full-time students are more likely to graduate than part-time ones, according to a growing body of research. And seemingly, the fuller a course load, the better: students who take 15 credits a semester are more likely to graduate than their classmates who take 12 -- since an average of 15 per semester ensures a degree in four years," Inside Higher Ed reports. "...However, critics say the approach can fail to consider students with jobs and other responsibilities at home."

"At a time when federal, state and institutional policies are backing away from helping low-income, first-generation and ethnic and racial minority students, a few colleges are spending significant amounts of time and money on providing such help, using a model piloted by City University of New York, or CUNY," PBS NewsHour reports. 

State News

"The Student Loan Servicing Alliance, a trade group representing companies who collect education debt payments, sued the District on Tuesday over its requirement that servicers disclose information about their activities and obtain a license to operate within its borders," according to The Washington Post

Blogs & Think Tanks

"Accountability rules that exempt public and private nonprofit colleges thus fail to protect a majority of the students who are at risk. Such rules also create a perverse incentive for for-profit schools to escape scrutiny by converting to nonprofit status, as many are now trying to do," Jason Delisle and Preston Cooper write for the American Enterprise Institute. 




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Pell, Campus-Based Funding, and Data-Sharing Among Victories in FY 2018 Spending Bill


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