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today’s news for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

On the heels of President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, which called for instituting loan limits for graduate students, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report highlighting the growing number of students borrowers in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans and its cost on the federal government — both of which are heavily impacted by that population of learners.

While more institutions are disclosing their tuition refund policies to students, fewer schools are offering students who withdraw due to medical reasons full refunds, according to a recent survey from GradGuard. The survey — administered to 179 institutions representing 1.8 million students —  revealed that 70% of institutions surveyed saw an increase in medical withdrawals — up from 42% in 2015 — and that almost all (98%) understood they were required to inform students about their withdrawal policy — up from 62% in 2015. At the same time, only 6% of schools provided students 100% refunds for medical withdrawals, compared to 23% in 2015. The report also found that 30% of schools don’t track medical withdrawals and 80% don’t track what proportion of students who withdraw due to medical reasons return to complete their degree.

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Video conferencing is a cheap, easy, and effective way of connecting — so why don't more of us use it? It delivers all the advantages of face-to-face meetings without the cost and lost time of bringing everyone to the same location at the same moment. However, despite these clear benefits, many of us still haven't embraced video conferencing. People often cite one of three concerns as reasons for opting out of this tool: I prefer in-person interactions, I don't have the right equipment or knowledge, or I hate how I look on camera. Do any of these sound like you? If so, read on, because given the benefits video conferencing can offer, it's time to reality check these beliefs.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

AskRegs

No. NASFAA reached out to the NPSAS:20 Data Collection Manager, who indicated that NPSAS participation is not mandatory and there are no penalties for non-participation. That having been said, NPSAS "provides important data to researchers and policy makers as they evaluate the effectiveness of financial aid programs and analyze whether the needs of students are being adequately met." View the full answer to this question to learn more and search for answers to your other pressing regulatory and compliance questions, in NASFAA's AskRegs Knowledgebase.

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Ready to become a CFAA? You still have time to take the CFAA Exam during the current testing window, which is open through Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. There are only two testing windows left during the inaugural year of this program, in April and June. If your application has already been approved, make sure to purchase the exam and schedule your session online before your one-year eligibility period expires. Check your personal CFAA Dashboard to confirm that date. If you haven’t applied yet, complete your CFAA application online today. Learn more about the testing process and make sure you meet all of the technical requirements.

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