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today’s news for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

The Department of Education (ED) announced an additional 18,000 borrower defense to repayment claims for individuals who attended ITT Technical Institute, the closed for-profit college chain, will be approved, providing borrowers with complete loan discharges totaling roughly $500 million in relief. ED noted in a release that the newly approved claims bring the total borrower defense cases approved under the Biden administration to $1.5 billion for about 90,000 borrowers. Borrowers whose claims were approved will be notified by ED in the coming weeks and the department will work swiftly to discharge the loan balances, the release stated.

With the annual congressional appropriations cycle now in full swing, NASFAA joined 48 higher education organizations to advocate for federal investments in critical programs serving students, institutions, and researchers. In a letter addressed to House and Senate appropriations leaders, the community is calling for a doubling of the maximum Pell Grant to total $13,000, with automatic annual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index to keep funding on pace with inflation. “As our nation looks to turn the corner and begin the process of rebuilding our economy after the pandemic, it is critical that existing federal investments to strengthen our workforce, advance scientific research and develop new technologies, enhance the capacities of postsecondary institutions, and promote the greatest possible opportunity for students and their families are expanded in the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations process,” the letter reads. For full details of requested funding levels, read the letter and stay tuned to Today’s News for more coverage of the appropriations process.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, last week penned an op-ed for The Washington Times on free college and student loan forgiveness, arguing that between grants and tax incentives, college is already free for those who want it. Though some students may have some costs not covered by federal, state, and local grant aid, they don't necessarily need to pay the remaining costs out-of-pocket, she writes. "There are two federal tax incentives that cut college costs even further and make postsecondary education effectively free for students. The first option students have is to avoid debt entirely by working for an entity with a tuition assistance program. The second involves financing college with debt and then getting a job with a business that offers student loan repayment assistance," Foxx writes. What do you think? Read the full op-ed and share your reaction using our "Your Thoughts" form to let us know!

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

New Director Group Coaching, provided by NASFAA's Blue Icon Advisors, is ideal for financial aid administrators with less than one year of experience at the director level. You'll work alongside a small group of other new financial aid directors as you discuss compliance-related matters, develop an operational calendar, learn about how to identify and support your staff's professional development needs, and draft a strategic plan to work toward and bolster the goals and activities of your office. The first meeting date for the next six-week cohort is September 17. There are only four seats remaining; register today to secure your spot.

Have you looked at NASFAA's events calendar recently? Coming up later this month, NASFAA President Justin Draeger virtually presents at the FASFAA Director's Roundtable. In July, NASFAA Director of Policy Analysis Karen McCarthy will virtually present at the PNPI Boot Camp, and Vice President of Policy & Federal Relations Megan Coval will virtually present at the Law School Admission Council Annual Summer Workshop series. Head to the Events Calendar to get all the details on these and other upcoming events. 

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