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NASFAA 2024 Closing Session: Special Tributes and Policy Updates

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

To close out the 2024 NASFAA National Conference, attendees gathered for special tributes and policy updates that will help inform financial aid professionals for the upcoming academic year.

NASFAA started Wednesday’s session with a special tribute for the Juneteenth holiday, where the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir celebrated the day with a performance for the crowd that carried forward rich traditions to honor the sacrifices, struggles, and victories of those who came before us.

Sharon Oliver, FAAC®, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and academic affairs at North Carolina Central University and NASFAA's 2024-25 Diversity Officer, reminded attendees that the holiday serves as a moment to recognize opportunity and hope to persevere through struggles and battles to achieve excellence.

“We honor our ancestors by ensuring the next generation is highly educated and informed of tools, opportunities, and support systems to succeed in college. We are in the business of planting seeds of hope, achieving equality through education, and helping students achieve the American dream by inspiring them to pursue an education,” Oliver said. “One of the ways Financial Aid Administrators can recognize Juneteenth is through our work with students.”

As a part of the federal policy update, the NASFAA policy team provided attendees with a recap of the 2024-25 FAFSA rollout, the start of the new award year, implications of the presidential election and the current power dynamics on Capitol Hill.

Karen McCarthy, NASFAA’s vice president of public policy and federal relations, and Rachel Rotunda, NASFAA’s director of strategic outreach and partnerships, provided a high-level discussion of financial aid policy with a focus on FAFSA, gainful employment (GE), and financial value transparency (FVT), and also provided insight into the future landscape for the profession.

In a quick poll, members were able to gauge how confident they felt that the upcoming 2025-26 FAFSA would roll out on October 1. Overall, the majority of attendees said that they needed to “wait and see” for more information, or were “not optimistic” about next year’s cycle.

During an earlier session, officials from ED said they recognized how difficult this year has been for the profession and also told attendees that their goal is to release the FAFSA on October 1.

While the year has been incredibly challenging, McCarthy and Rotunda noted that the profession has made its voice heard at the highest levels of Congress and that leaders on campus are paying more attention to their roles in ensuring that students are able to access higher education.


Publication Date: 6/21/2024

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