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This week on "Off The Cuff," the team digs into the details of the much-anticipated omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2018, which included some surprising wins for student aid, such as a $175 boost to the maximum Pell Grant award. Justin, Megan, and Stephen talked about what we know and don't know about an immediate fix for schools looking to share FAFSA data with authorized scholarship providers. Despite the victories, the bill caused some drama among lawmakers on the House floor Thursday afternoon. The team also gave a rundown of the recent in-person convening for the Higher Education Committee of 50, or the Forward50, and where the group's work will be moving in the coming months.
This article, as originally published Wednesday evening, touched on victories related to the Federal Pell Grant, campus-based funding, and data-sharing in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending bill, which cleared the House and the Senate on Thursday. It has since been updated to include greater detail about the funding and policy provisions in the bill, including modifications to PSLF and Pell Grant eligibility. President Donald Trump, who has already expressed his support for the legislation, is expected to sign the bill into law before today's midnight deadline.
Updates are coming for the Compliance Engine. The Self-Evaluation Checklists are designed to allow schools to audit themselves for the 2017-18 award year. The first checklist, Personnel and Interoffice Communication, is now available. Other Self-Evaluation Checklists will become available just in time for the end of the award year on June 30. The P&P Builder is also being updated. While the Self-Evaluation Checklists module of the Compliance Engine is included along with your NASFAA membership, the P&P Builder requires an annual subscription. If you haven't already, head to the Compliance Engine page to start your subscription to the P&P Builder today.
This letter announces the availability of Federal Student Aid's recording of a March 2018 webinar that provided information on the upcoming transition of business processes for the Campus-Based programs to the COD System.
"In a higher-education system that is often divided between two- and four-year colleges and further segregated between elite and nonelite institutions, it’s not often that a community college is mentioned in the same breath as an Ivy League campus...But the Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest two-year college with more than 15,000 students, is working hard to change the tired image of two-year institutions as places for high-school graduates who can’t hack it on four-year campuses or for the unemployed trying to figure out what’s next," The Atlantic reports.
"A seven-year-old state scholarship program that has helped more than 2,000 students earn a bachelor’s degree will soon offer the same type of generous aid to students who want to gain technical skills at community and technical colleges," according to The Seattle Times.
"Here’s the takeaway: If you are a working-class student, a first-generation college student, someone without the means to get you to a private college or to a public research university, then you should be channeled into job training. This latest, and most frightening, move to segregate higher education into the haves and the have-nots is coming from, not surprisingly, Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin," Paula Krebs writes in an opinion article for The Washington Post.
"Students need access to funds and awareness of why a college education is important if his/her parents or their peers are not going to college. Because of circumstances like this, only about 3 percent of foster youth graduate from college," Alexis Lenderan writes in an opinion article for Youth Today.
"The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) President Taylor Eighmy today named two new interim vice presidents to serve on his senior leadership team. Rhonda M. Gonzales will serve as Interim Vice President for Student Success, and Lisa G. Blazer as Interim Vice President for Strategic Enrollment," UTSA Today reports. Blazer served as the 2016-17 NASFAA national chair.