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today’s news for Monday, May 10, 2021

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

There is no shortage of ways the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has upended the higher education calendar, particularly as it relates to enrollment and admissions schedules. While the May 1 National Decision Day — when high school seniors declare which college they’ll be attending in the fall — remains in place and should bring with it clarity to admissions and financial aid offices, it's taken on new meaning again this year as institutions grapple with a shrinking applicant pool and lingering uncertainty over whether enrollment declines will continue.

NASFAA is aware that schools are receiving “Dear Project/State Director” email notices reminding them that they should not draw down all of their HEERF II dollars at one time unless they are also paying obligations with (liquidating) those funds 15 calendar days (for grants to students) and within 3 calendar days (for all other uses). This guidance is not new and appeared in Q&A #17 of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II Public and Private Nonprofit Institution (a)(1) Programs Frequently Asked Questions, first published on January 14, 2021.

Last week the Department of Education (ED) sent institutions the Supplemental Grant Funds for Institutions Agreement for the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA). The agreement includes language stating that funds from the CRRSAA, administered through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II), must only be used for expenses incurred on or after the date of enactment, Dec. 27, 2020. NASFAA understands the December 27 date to be in direct conflict with ED's March 19 guidance, which stated that all HEERF funds could be used to cover expenses dating back to the beginning of the national emergency, March 13, 2020. NASFAA has reached out to ED to seek clarification. Stay tuned to Today's News for more information.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the financial lives of most Americans, millions of student loan borrowers were struggling to make their monthly payments. In a new issue brief, NASFAA explores the complexities of the federal student loan system, the complicated web of repayment options available to borrowers, communication issues that can arise between the federal government, its contracted loan servicers, and borrowers themselves, and what action Congress and the White House can take to alleviate those problems.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

NASFAA is aware of three scenarios involving zero income and an adjusted gross income (AGI) of one dollar ($1). All three scenarios are related to individuals claiming the Economic Impact Payment or Recovery Rebate Credit under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). 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.

If you were unable to join us for the Recertification Insights: An Investment in Continuous Learning and Growth webinar, register today to view the on-demand webinar and access the handout. The panelists provided insight about their strategies for earning recertification points (RPs) and why they believe what happens after you pass the exam is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of the program. If you attended the live event, you can use your registration link to access the on-demand event.

NASFAA's Board of Directors is here to represent you and is seeking your input. Please email any questions or comments you might have directly to a member of the NASFAA Board by clicking on their name on our Board Member Bios page. Questions or feedback may pertain to NASFAA products and services, membership benefits, policy/advocacy issues, or any other topic you would like to bring before the Board. The Board will compile and discuss at the June 29-30 virtual Board meeting. We welcome your insight.

NASFAA IN THE NEWS

x - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Updates Have Moved!

Looking for updates from the U.S. Department of Education? Head to Federal Student Aid's new Knowledge Center and the Federal Register for the latest. Be sure to stay tuned to Today's News for in-depth analysis on pressing issues from our policy team, and refer to the Student Aid Reference Desk to find what you need — fast.

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