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Today's News for Friday, January 30, 2015 
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ED Releases 2015-16 Pell Schedules, $5,775 Maximum Grant

The Department of Education released Pell payment and disbursement schedules for the 2015-16 award year late yesterday afternoon. After taking into account mandated, automatic CPI-adjusted increases to the mandatory funds, the maximum grant will be $5,775. That maximum is $45 more than the 2014-15 maximum, but less than the initial estimates ED released in December after passage of the FY2015 spending bill. ED also announced that additional guidance would be forthcoming for students who became Title IV-eligible through a newly instated ability-to-benefit pathway for students enrolled in an eligible career pathway program.

What Can You Do With Your MyNASFAA Profile?

When you log into the NASFAA website, you gain access to all of the member-only content AND your myNASFAA profile. Located in the Membership Center under Manage Your Membership, your myNASFAA profile allows you to: 1) Update your contact information, including your job title; 2) Update your demographic information; 3) Add your name to the Speaker/Mentor Directory; 4) View your committee involvement; 5) Review past orders, as well as current meeting and event registrations; 6) Temporarily put Today’s News on a vacation hold, and more! If you haven’t accessed your myNASFAA profile recently, please do so today. If you have any questions, email

Evaluate Your School's Compliance Using Phase One of NASFAA's 2014-15 Self-Evaluation Guide

Looking for guidance to help you evaluate your institution's compliance with current statutes, regulations, and other U.S. Department of Education (ED) requirements? The first phase of the 30th edition of NASFAA’s Self-Evaluation Guide for Institutional Participation in Title IV and Other Federal Programs can help. This edition of NASFAA's Self-Evaluation Guide serves as an in-house self-assessment tool to help your institution prepare for required audits of the institution's administration of the Title IV student financial assistance programs during the 2014−15 award year. NASFAA members can download the guide, complimentary – the price will be reduced to $0 in your shopping cart.

2014-2015 Webinar Series: Watch Archives of Those You Missed And Register For Upcoming Webinars

On NASFAA's 2014-2015 Webinar Series page, you can get archived versions of the webinars that have already taken place – including the Gainful Employment: The 2014 Final Rules webinar, which is free of charge for all NASFAA members. You can also learn more about, and register for, upcoming webinars on topics including Consumer Information, Student Eligibility – Enrollment Issues, and Cohort Default Rate Issues. Each webinar is $115 for members and $230 for non-members. Webinar Package purchasers still need to register in advance for each webinar they plan to attend; during the registration process, the balance will be $0.


GEN-15-02: 2015-2016 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules

The attachments to this letter contain the 2015-2016 Award Year Federal Pell Grant Program Payment and Disbursement Schedules.


National News

Counting Students Equally?

"A core premise of the Obama administration's college ratings plan -- and one that makes it controversial -- is that colleges and universities need to be held more accountable for student outcomes," Inside Higher Ed reports.

Why Bright Low-Income Kids Aren't Going To Top Colleges

"A prestigious Ivy League school can cost upwards of $50,000 a year. That's out of reach for many people - especially low-income families. But what some of those families don't know is that with financial aid, they can attend those schools for $10,000 or less," The Deseret News reports.

Politics Of The 529 Plan

"President Obama's backpedaling this week on a provision in his tax plan that would have gutted benefits for college-savings plans highlights the challenges facing advocates for low-income students who want to overhaul higher education tax breaks," Inside Higher Ed reports.

Republicans Look To Gain On Obama's Education Blunder

"On Tuesday, President Obama dropped his proposal to reform popular college savings plans. On Wednesday, Republicans wouldn't let him hear the end of it," Time reports.


Opinion: Middle-Class Families Are Fed Up With Their Financial Aid Options

"Middle-class families are fed up. President Obama's attempt to end a tax benefit of college savings accounts exposed a nerve: the frustration felt by families over how hard it is to cover rising tuition costs," Danielle Douglas-Gabriel writes in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.

Opinion: Obama's 529 College Savings Plan Debacle Offers Lessons

"Under fire from Republicans and even House Democratic leaders, the White House withdrew this week its plan to end the tax-free status of the college savings accounts known as 529 plans. It's the first political debacle of 2015 for President Obama on the ­domestic-policy front - but a part of me almost admires him for trying this particular gambit," Charles Lane writes in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.

Blogs and Think Tanks

Why Obama's Proposal For 529s Had No Chance

"The first rule of modern tax policy is raise taxes only on the rich. The second rule is that your family isn't rich, even if you make a lot of money," according to The New York TimesThe Upshot.



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