2021 Year in Review: The 10 Most Downloaded “Off The Cuff” Episodes

NASFAA's weekly policy podcast, "Off The Cuff," reached thousands of listeners in 2021, keeping members up to date on all things related to financial aid and higher education amid a busy year full of changes and challenges. Check out the top 10 most downloaded episodes and relisten to your favorites from the past year. 

Episode 200: All Things Verification, Updates on Congressional Spending and a PSA on Pell Grant Broadband Benefit
July 16, 2021 - The team covers the latest news from the Department of Education concerning changes to the verification process for the 2021-22 award year. Dive right into the policy discussion with Karen and Justin as they break down what impact the changes will have on the upcoming award year.

Episode 180: Financial Aid Experts Discuss Their HEERF Disbursement Experiences and Plans for Future Aid
January 27, 2021 - On a special edition, Justin is joined by a trio of financial aid administrators who discuss all things Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and emergency aid. Our guests share how their institutions worked through their first batch of HEERF funding, in what ways updated guidance impacted their institution's ability to disburse funds.

Episode 183: All Things Student Loan Forgiveness: Will It Happen? How Will It Happen? And Who’s Going to Do It?
February 18, 2021 - On a special edition, Justin is joined by three higher education experts who discuss all things regarding student loan forgiveness. Our guests — Tamara Hiler of Third Way, Preston Cooper of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, and Persis Yu of the National Consumer Law Center — share their opinions on how much, if any, student loan debt should be forgiven, as well as who it should be targeted toward.

Episode 195: Financial Aid Administrators Discuss Latest HEERF Guidance, How HEERF III Differs From Previous Aid
May 28, 2021 - On a special episode, Allie kicks things off with a brief recap of some big higher education news from the past week, including public hearings ahead of new negotiated rulemaking sessions. Justin then introduces our special guests — Brenda Hicks, Christina Tangalakis, and Francisco Valines — who provided insight into their experiences with Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants and emergency aid.

Episode 177: Recapping the "Coronabus" Implementation, What Democrat Control of the Senate Means for Higher Ed, and DeVos's Farewell
January 8, 2021 - Justin provides listeners with a brief editorial addressing the recent violence at the U.S. Capitol and the team provides insight into how the results from Georgia’s Senate runoff elections could impact President-elect Joe Biden’s higher education agenda. Megan then offers a recap of Congress’ massive year-end spending bill.

Episode 188: Previewing Higher Ed Items in White House Budget, HEERF Guidance on the Way, and Latest on Student Debt Forgiveness
April 9, 2021 - The group returns from a brief hiatus to talk about their spring breaks and how boundaries have changed while working from home. Megan previews the budget proposal soon to be released from the White House, and Karen and Megan detail when to expect HEERF III guidance and funds to be released.

Episode 184: NASFAA's Position on Student Loan Forgiveness, ED Under Biden Takes Shape, and Expanded Student Eligibility for SNAP
February 26, 2021 - Justin kicks off the episode detailing NASFAA’s position on widespread student loan forgiveness. The group then covers the latest on the nomination process for Miguel Cardona, President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Department of Education, and Justin and Megan discuss the appointment of James Kvaal as ED under secretary, where he will focus on the department’s higher education efforts.

Episode 191: Biden Details Free Community College Plan Before Joint Session of Congress, and Latest on HEERF III
April 30, 2021 - The group discusses President Joe Biden's address to a joint session of Congress where he pitched his American Family Plan to lawmakers and the nation. Megan and Justin then break down all the details surrounding Biden's new proposal calling for tuition-free community college for all Americans and a significant boost to the maximum Pell Grant award.

Episode 193: All Things HEERF Guidance, Student Loan Interest Rates Rise, and What Impact House Leadership Changes Pose for Higher Ed
May 14, 2021 - The team dives right in to discuss the Department of Education’s latest announcement on new HEERF guidance and reporting requirements, including additional ways in which institutions can utilize the recently enacted $36 billion in emergency grants to support vulnerable students, monitor and suppress the coronavirus, and re-engage students whose education was disrupted by the pandemic.

Episode 185: Cardona Confirmed, All Things HEERF, and the Latest on COVID Aid
March 5, 2021 - Allie discusses Miguel Cardona’s recent confirmation as Education Secretary and Justin highlights a letter NASFAA signed onto touting the importance for the newly appointed secretary to implement changes made to the FAFSA in an efficient and timely manner.


Publication Date: 12/6/2021

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