Today's News

Today's News for Friday, January 23, 2015 
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Large Response to Servicing Issues Survey Guide Loan Servicing Recommendations

In an effort to better inform the discussions of the Servicing Issues Task Force, NASFAA conducted a membership survey on the pervasiveness of problems related to loan servicing in the following areas: application of payments and prepayments, options and processes related to deferment, forbearance, consolidation, and income-driven repayment plans. Read on for some key findings from this survey and keep an eye on Today's News in early February for a report containing the policy recommendations that have been approved by the NASFAA Board of Directors.

Department of Health and Human Services Releases Updated Poverty Guidelines

The updated poverty guidelines, released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for 2015. The poverty guidelines are developed using the same data that is collected and used by the U.S. Census Bureau in preparing its poverty thresholds, or estimates of the number of individuals and families in poverty. These guidelines are used as financial eligibility criterion by many federal programs, including income-driven repayment plans such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

3 College Ratings System Metrics Students Say They Want

One of the goals of the proposed federal college ratings system is to serve as a resource for students as they make decisions on where to apply and enroll. But what would those constituents consider useful? Chegg, a "connected learning platform" possibly best known for textbook rentals, has asked.

Nominate Colleagues For NASFAA Awards By February 27, 2015

Every year, NASFAA recognizes outstanding members and other higher education stakeholders for their achievements and contributions to financial aid. Nominations are due February 27, 2015, but there is no need to wait—submit your nominations online today. Starting this year, members can nominate individuals to receive the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award for their contribution to financial aid literature. Also, be sure to submit your project for a Gold Star Award, which recognizes innovations in the financial aid arena at any level, targeted toward any constituency. Award winners will be announced at the 2015 NASFAA Conference, July 19-22, in New Orleans, LA.

Leadership Conference Offers Glimpse Into The Future for New Aid Directors

Curious what you can expect in your first year as a new aid director? Wondering what you should focus on and how to determine the priorities? Attend the 2015 NASFAA Leadership and Legislative Conference and Expo and find out! Your colleagues will share what they wish they had known and help you develop a roadmap for your first year of being in charge. Don't miss the New and Aspiring Aid Directors Pathway - register today!


Notice: Annual Update Of The HHS Poverty Guidelines

This notice provides an update of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines to account for last calendar year's increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index.


National News

Obama Idea To Trim College Savings Plans Hits GOP Opposition

"President Barack Obama's proposal to scale back the tax benefits of college savings accounts is running into opposition from Republicans in Congress who say they have no intention of raising taxes on families trying to save money for their children's education," The Associated Press reports.

Where Free-Community-College Plans May Prosper: In The States

"Sixty-billion dollars for free community-college tuition will undoubtedly be a tough sell to a Republican-controlled Congress. But in statehouses and city halls around the country, advocates for free tuition are hoping that the national discussion the president's proposal has unleashed will help them make the case that government-funded education should extend beyond 12th grade to include two years of college," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Obama Left Questions Unanswered On Community College Plan

"The words zero and cost stood out in President Obama's State of the Union address last night, but many higher education experts feel uneasy about a proposal to make community college more affordable," Newsweek reports.

Why Obama Wants To Tax College Savings

"In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama promised to make college more affordable for low- and middle-income families. But one way he would pay for that would be to make college more expensive for millions of upper-income Americans," Money reports.

State News

New York: Immigrant Advocates Praise Cuomo 'Dream Act' Proposal

"A small group of immigrant advocates gathered Wednesday to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's State of the State speech at a restaurant in Deer Park, following a months-long push to get Cuomo to include funding for tuition aid to 'Dreamers' -- immigrant students in the country illegally or whose deportations have been deferred," Newsday reports.


Opinion: Now He's After Middle-Class Savers

"President Obama is pitching his new tax plan as a way to help the middle class at the expense of the rich. But middle-class savers are bound to notice if he achieves two of the White House's stated goals-to 'roll back' tax benefits of 529 college savings plans and 'repeal tax incentives going forward' for Coverdell Education Savings Accounts," according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

Blogs and Think Tanks

Return To Obama 1.0 On Higher Ed

"If you were listening for new higher-ed ideas in the State of the Union last night, you probably felt like it was 2009 all over again," Andrew Kelly, director of the American Enterprise Institute's Center on Higher Education Reform, writes in the National Review Online's The Corner.



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