NASFAA Opinion Articles and Editorials

Here you will find links to op-eds written by NASFAA staff that have been published by local, national, and online news publications.

Aligning Policy with Principle: NASFAA’s Take on Student Debt Forgiveness (Published on Medium)
March 1, 2021 - On the surface, forgiving student debt seems like a no-brainer, but to make it effective, there’s more we need to consider. NASFAA is not against debt forgiveness, but we do believe that forgiveness in the absence of longer-term, systemic improvements to the loan program and front-end investments in grant programs is a short-sighted, poorly-targeted policy that overshadows other meaningful changes we can make to loans now

Emergency Grants: Congress Must Step In (Published in Inside Higher Ed)

May 12, 2020 - A full two months after Congress appropriated emergency grants for students through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, dollars are finally landing in some students’ bank accounts. But even after all of the funds are disbursed, the program will be overshadowed by implementation challenges caused by the U.S. Department of Education that will require a congressional fix.

Student Loan Underwriting Failures Undermine College Access (Published on Medium)
July 29, 2019 - What happens when our attempt to increase college access backfires, and instead of increasing college access, ends up putting disadvantaged families even further behind the economic eight ball? The federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, more commonly known as the PLUS loan program, provides an unfortunate example.

Five Things We've Learned About Financial Aid Offers From Consumer Testing (Published on
June 5, 2019 - Communicating effectively with students is difficult in any circumstance. But in the ever-changing world of financial aid, successfully telling students how they can pay for college has never been more challenging or more important. If consumer testing points to anything, it's that the most important ingredient in conveying this vital information is empathy.

Should All College Admissions Become Need-Blind? (Published in The Wall Street Journal)
March 17, 2019 - In a world of unlimited resources, colleges could, and should, make their admissions decisions independent of an applicant’s ability to pay. Unfortunately, that isn’t the world in which we live. Faced with the reality of limited dollars, most colleges cannot afford to be need-blind and provide enough in scholarships and grants to cover the full cost of an admitted student’s education.

The FAFSA Challenge (Published in Inside Higher Ed)

September 27, 2018 - The annual struggle is nearly upon us. With the Oct. 1 date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid nearly here, we in the higher education policy world face a daunting task: continually pushing for further FAFSA simplification, without inadvertently deterring the very students who most stand to benefit.

February 23, 2018 - In a recent opinion piece in The Hill about the Prosper Act and federal spending on higher education, the authors contend that student financial aid advocates are wrong to object to the bill’s cuts in student aid because the Republican-led Higher Education Act reauthorization bill will actually increase federal spending on student aid. But the authors conflate two facts that are not mutually exclusive in the world of federal budgeting and accounting.

February 23, 2018 - This year, students and colleges are facing new hurdles as they scramble to comply with shifting U.S. Department of Education guidance on what student-authorized data can be shared and with whom. Last September, the department upended long-standing guidance and practice by reinterpreting the existing law to prohibit schools from sharing students’ financial aid application information with other financial aid awarding entities, even with student authorization — creating another unnecessary hoop for students to jump through in order to receive their financial aid information.

July 16, 2018 - Verification is just one more obstacle preventing many low-income students from obtaining the necessary funds to pursue a college degree or certificate. The solution to the problems verification causes for both students and schools is to fix the FAFSA, but a one-size-fits-all application for financial aid is not realistic given the diversity of today's student population.

Dampening Innovation, One Institution at a Time (Published in Inside Higher Ed)
September 29, 2017 - Congress must carefully consider and address innovative learning models in the next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and carve out space for colleges and universities to experiment without fear of federal reprisal. It should set parameters around distance education to prevent abuse, and the Education Department should enforce those limitations — but not to the extent that institutions are scared off from using authorized flexibilities or models that clearly achieve results.

Publication Date: 3/1/2021

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