today’s news for Thursday, January 19, 2017

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 Off the Cuff

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Stephen, and Allie discuss Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and what we can expect to see moving forward. The team discusses breaking news on a lawsuit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed against Navient. Justin dives into the implications of the Department of Education's recent announcement of a data error on repayment rates in the College Scorecard, and Jill breaks down a clarification from ED on its intent on state authorization reciprocity.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is suing Navient, accusing the student loan servicer of “systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment,” according to a press release from CFPB. 

As always at the NASFAA National Conference, in 2017 you'll have ample opportunities to teach, learn, network, and share best practices with your colleagues from across the country. There are a couple of changes to note this year: the conference is taking place a bit earlier than in past years—in June, rather than July—and starting on Monday afternoon, rather than Sunday morning. Head to the conference website to learn more about what you can expect at the 2017 NASFAA National Conference.

NASFAA Office Closed Tomorrow for Presidential Inauguration Day

The NASFAA office will be closed on Friday, January 20 for Presidential Inauguration Day. The NASFAA website and other online services will still be available, but NASFAA'sToday's News will not be sent and technical and membership support will not be available until the office reopens on Monday, January 23.

While competency-based education is increasingly popular, current federal student aid is geared toward supporting students in traditional, time-based degree programs. A paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Student Financial Aid discusses why current approaches to federal student aid are not supportive of competency-based degree programs and explores how federal statute and regulations could be changed, in ways that are not reliant on time and credit hours, to disburse aid to students while minimizing fraud. Read the entire article and explore the latest issue of NASFAA's JSFA.

NASFAA members who weren't able to attend the 2016 NASFAA National Conference in Washington, DC, can now access the handouts provided during the sessions. The sessions covered a wide range of topics. As you scroll through the list, you can click the title of a session for a more in depth description of it or click "Download Handout" to download a PDF. Register for NASFAA's 2017 National Conference in San Diego to get access to conference handouts six months earlier next year.


On January 18, 2017, the Department replaced the attachment to this announcement to provide updated contact center hours for Inauguration Day on Friday, January 20, 2017.

In the event of hazardous weather that results in widespread and significant impact to borrower and school customers served by one or more federal loan servicing centers, the Department will inform the community through an Electronic Announcement on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website at the earliest point possible.

This letter provides lenders and guaranty agencies participating in the FFEL Program (collectively referred to herein as "FFEL loan holders" with additional details about two provisions of the recently finalized borrower defense regulations - 34 CFR 682.211(I)(7) and 34 CFR 682.410(b)(6)(viii). This letter also outlines the process FFEL loan holders will follow to implement these regulations, whether they do so on the effective date of July 1, 2017, or if they choose to implement them early, per the Secretary’s designation.


National News

"Lyndon Johnson oversaw the creation of the federal student aid system. Bill Clinton's administration invested heavily in college preparation and created a multibillion-dollar program of college tax credits. But as President Obama's eight years in office near an end, history is likely to remember him as the higher education president," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"The incoming president of the United States paid $25 million in November to settle lawsuits with people who believed they were ripped off by his for-profit 'university,'" The Daily Beast reports.

"Although students who come from wealthy backgrounds are far more likely to attend highly selective colleges than students from poor families, rich and poor students who go to the same college will achieve equal financial success, a new study from the Equality of Opportunity Project found," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"The largest college alumni group in the country consists of people who have student debt and no degree," according to New Republic.

"Just as a partisan Congress has taken the first steps to undo health care for millions of Americans, a bipartisan effort is underway to help another group immediately endangered by the new administration: the undocumented students currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reports.

"A pair of state legislators today announced a new proposed law that would broaden the availability of college savings plans and allow their use for student loan payments," CNBC reports.

State News

"Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, in his Tuesday night State of the State address, referred to the $115 million in new investment for the Nevada System of Higher Education as 'strategic,'" the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.


"What does the incoming Trump administration propose to do about the fast-growing, loss-ridden $1.3 trillion federal student loan system?" Red Jahncke, president of Townsend Group International, writes in an opinion piece for Bloomberg.

"In his January 9 letter to the editor, J. Patrick McGrail wrote, 'Community colleges have traditionally been best at providing practical skills, such as X-Ray technician training. But now, community colleges are being called upon to be preparatory academies for four-year institutions' ('Not All Community-College Credits Should Easily Transfer,' Letters to the Editor, January 9)," Jill Silos-Rooney, associate professor of history at Massachusetts Bay Community College, writes in a letter to the editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records," according to The New York Times' The Upshot.




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