today’s news for Thursday, July 2, 2015

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Another week has flown by in the blink of an eye! I cannot believe it has already been a little over a month since I first arrived here in D.C. This week was a real treat because I got to attend the "Bridging State and Federal Aid Policies to Make College More Affordable" event held at the Cannon House Office Building. Read on to learn more about the meetings and events I attended last week and the projects I am working on. And don't forget to check out my Facebook album for pictures I've taken while in D.C.!

AshleyNASFAA's Membership Services Department welcomes Ashley Reich to the team. Ashley comes to NASFAA with more than seven years of financial aid and enrollment experience; she most recently served as director of financial aid compliance at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Ashley has a passion for ensuring compliance in all areas and enjoys diving into complex rules and regulations. She will be responsible for overseeing the Standards of Excellence Review Program as the SOE administrator, and working with schools and SOE reviewers before, during, and after the review process. 

This week NASFAA debuted its new website and Today's News format. The website features a clean look, all-new search functionality, content features that get you information quickly and easily, and customization options to make it your own. In the coming weeks we'll be posting some short videos and additional guidance designed to help you navigate through the site and take advantage of our new tools. In the meantime, feel free to give us your kudos, feedback, or suggestions using this feedback form.

Going to this year's National Conference in New Orleans? On Monday evening, July 20, all NASFAA Conference attendees are invited to participate in NASFAA's 50th Anniversary Kick-off Parade down the streets of New Orleans! Also, be sure to visit the 50th Anniversary Task Force's table near the NASFAA Registration Desk to find out more about the celebrations planned for next year and check out the time capsule we'll have on display. You can even offer suggestions for items to place in the capsule!

NASFAA URecently released, the Cash Management credential test assesses comprehension of the methods for drawing down Title IV funds and the program-specific requirements for disbursing federal aid. You will also be evaluated on cash management notification and authorization requirements. Begin the process of earning your Cash Management Credential today.

NASFAA Office Closed July 3 in Observance of the Independence Day Federal Holiday

The NASFAA office will be closed on Friday, July 3 for the Independence Day federal holiday. The NASFAA website and other online services will still be available, but NASFAA's Today's News, AskRegs, and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Monday, July 6.


This letter announces Federal Student Aid’s instructor-led, Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration training workshops scheduled for July 2015 through June 2016.

This Electronic Announcement provides information on the Department's decision to no longer publish The Blue Book as a separate document.

This year’s FSA conference program will focus on topics related to changes in Title IV legislation and corresponding regulations such as protecting students' privacy and their loan data, Gainful Employment rules, the 150% Subsidized Direct Loan limitation and student loan repayment options.


National News

"The messy dismantling of Corinthian Colleges is moving through a federal bankruptcy court, as a judge mulls whether to halt loan repayments for up to 350,000 former students and the defunct for-profit chain seeks the court’s approval for the fire sale of its remaining assets – including trademarks, furniture and even old diplomas and typewriters," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"Students may soon be able to use Pell Grants to attend coding boot camps and enroll in MOOCs and other nontraditional programs under an experiment that the Education Department is considering conducting," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"Religious schools and universities that have barriers against homosexuality may be under the gun after Friday's gay marriage ruling, given both oral arguments in April and the fine print of Justice Anthony Kennedy's decision last week," The Deseret News reports.

"How did trade schools go from being mom-and-pop shops that trained mechanics and hair stylists to making billions on Wall Street? And if the industry is as predatory as the Education Department and many lawmakers suggest, why didn't they stop it?" The Associated Press asks.

"Here's the good news: New federal student loans are cheaper this year. The 2015-2016 federal student loan interest rates take effect July 1 and are more than one-third of a percentage point cheaper than last year's rates," according to U.S. News and World Report.

State News

"Supporters of Sweet Briar College, in an action both concrete and symbolic, gave $5 million to the school Tuesday," The Washington Post reports.

"The two-year state budget approved by the Legislature Monday night provides a rare tuition cut for college students, raises teacher pay and ends a handful of tax exemptions and preferential tax rates to add new revenue," The Seattle Times reports.


"The Department of Education’s proposed amendments to the 'Cash Management' rules governing financial-aid disbursements may soon put a stop to a clear misuse of the federal student-aid system: college-bank partnerships that, among other things, steer students into high-fee bank accounts. And it’s about time," Maura Dundon, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, writes in an opinion piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"The 2016-2017 update to the federal college aid formula that determines a student’s expected family contribution (EFC) toward the cost of college has been announced, and like recent years it penalizes middle class families even more," Troy Onink, CEO of Stratagee, writes in a Forbes opinion piece.

"When students get private student loans, more than likely they have parents cosign their loans. ... The problem with cosigner release? According to a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 90 percent of borrowers aren’t getting approved to be released after applying," Reyna Gobel writes in a Forbes opinion piece.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"In a huge victory for the Obama administration, the Gainful Employment rule will go into effect tomorrow. The regulation, if enforced, should go a long way in protecting vulnerable students from unscrupulous for-profit colleges," according to New America's EdCentral.

"Last week a federal district court upheld the U.S. Department of Education’s Gainful Employment regulation. ... There is a similar and growing interest among governors and state legislators for holding public colleges responsible for the earnings and employment of their graduates," according to New America's EdCentral.




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