2018 Year in Review: NASFAA's Policy, Grant, and Advocacy Efforts

In 2018, NASFAA and its members across the country made great strides in influencing important policy decisions regarding college access, affordability, simplification, and transparency. NASFAA engaged in numerous advocacy, grant-funded, and public policy undertakings to support its mission of promoting programs that remove financial barriers and ensure student access to postsecondary education. With the help of 26 NASFAA members, the association held eight successful Advocacy Pipeline events on Capitol Hill this year. NASFAA also added to its advocacy resources a timeline displaying the history of changes to financial aid verification and continued work to improve award notifications, publishing award notification examples intended to serve as samples for institutions about how they could implement the elements included in NASFAA's Code of Conduct into their financial aid offers and an award notifications video to foster greater understanding. It also updated its annual National Student Aid Profile. Read on for a comprehensive list of other actions NASFAA and its members took in 2018.

Issue Briefs

  • Issue Brief: The PROSPER Act
    Jan. 17, 2018 - Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, the first real step from this Congress in reauthorizing the HEA.
  • Issue Brief: Loan Limits
    Feb. 19, 2018 - Current loan limits established in the HEA no longer meet the needs of today's students. Some structural changes to the design of loan limits would improve the existing loan program.
  • Issue Brief: Institutional Risk-Sharing
    May 30, 2018 - NASFAA outlines the potential benefits and unintended consequences of so-called “risk-sharing” proposals, and how lawmakers can move forward with both students' and institutions' best interests in focus.
  • Issue Brief: Financial Aid Award Notifications
    Sept. 12, 2018 - Financial aid award notifications are the primary tool colleges & universities use to communicate eligibility for federal, state, & institutional financial aid programs to their prospective & current students.
  • Issue Brief: Verification
    Oct. 29, 2018 - In order to qualify for federal financial aid, students must complete the FAFSA. Each year, the Department of Education selects millions of applications for further review.

Grant Initiatives

Assisting Displaced Students Working Group (2015–2018)
Since April 2015, NASFAA has been working to provide assistance to students whose schools closed while they were enrolled or shortly after they withdrew. With the help of grant funding, a ticketing website, and a working group comprised of NASFAA member volunteers, NASFAA has been able to assist more than 6,000 students from more than 30 closed institutions across the country.

  • ASAE Silver WinnerIn June 2018, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE): Center for Association Leadership awarded NASFAA with a 2018 Power of A Award for its continued efforts to help this population.
  • In September 2018, NASFAA announced its NextStepsEd website had been overhauled to allow students to obtain vital information on closed school federal loan discharge, borrower defense, Pell Grant eligibility restoration, and more even after grant funding for this project has ceased. After the online ticketing portal where affected students can submit requests for help with financial aid questions has been turned off, the informational website will live in perpetuity.
  • In November 2018, NASFAA published an Assisting Displaced Students Working Group paper which sheds light on the struggles these students still face years after their schools have closed and offers five steps the Department of Education can take to improve the experience for students navigating school closures.
  • Three forthcoming videos, currently in development, will be posted to the NextStepsEd website before Dec. 31, 2018, to further enhance students' understanding of the closed school federal loan discharge, borrower defense, and Pell Grant eligibility restoration processes. Also forthcoming is a website feature that will allow students to choose an interactive pathway—through a series of questions and checklists—which will walk them through determining their eligibility for closed school federal loan discharge, borrower defense to repayment, and Pell Grant eligibility restoration. This, too, will be added to the website before Dec. 31, 2018.

The Higher Education Committee of 50 (2017–2019)
In late 2017, NASFAA was awarded a grant to convene a group of forward-thinking campus leaders tasked with developing policy solutions that will help surmount obstacles preventing students from enrolling in, paying for, and graduating from college through pre-identified policy areas related to access, affordability, accountability and transparency. In 2018, the group held an in-person convening to kick-off their work and then spent the remainder of the year developing their policy recommendations. The committee came together for bi-monthly webinars to refine its ideas, published a series of blog posts to keep readers informed of its work, and released its draft recommendations for public comment in September 2018. In December 2018, the group voted on its final recommendations. The expected release date for the group's final report is March 2019.

Letters

Comments

NASFAA on many different occasions throughout the year submitted comments or requests for action on established regulations, policies, processes, or other issues concerning student financial aid or other related areas of higher education. Topics included PTAC data-sharing, timely DACA processing, student loan bankruptcy filings, and the delay of Perkins Loan refunds,  among others. Below are some highlights—head to our Department of Education Regulatory or Process Issues or Other Executive Branch Departments page to see all the comments and requests for action submitted in 2018.

 

Publication Date: 12/14/2018


Elizabeth S | 12/14/2018 4:47:33 PM

This is a great summary of a lot of wonderful work! Thank you very much!

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