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today’s news for Thursday, July 15, 2021

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

A slew of top Democrats from both chambers of Congress are increasingly pushing President Joe Biden and leadership at the Department of Education (ED) to issue another extension of the pause on student loan payments and interest accrual, arguing that student loan servicers need more time to communicate with borrowers.

Earlier this week Senate Democrats announced that they had come to an internal agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that would pave the way for enacting federal investments in programs more closely aligned with President Joe Biden’s agenda. While the announcement contains broad commitments to a number of federal programs the drafting process could easily incorporate funding for higher education, there’s a long procedural road ahead that could make it tricky to tack on a number of these provisions.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

First, you must review Dear Colleague Letter GEN-21-05, Changes to 2021-2022 Verification Requirements. Beginning July 13, 2021 and for the remainder of the 2021-22 FAFSA processing and verification cycle (including summer periods attached to the 2021-22 award year), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is waiving verification of all FAFSA and Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) information, except for identity/Statement of Educational Purpose and high school completion status in Verification Tracking Groups V4 and V5. 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.

NASFAA’s Pell Restoration Working Group is seeking feedback from members of the financial aid and prison education communities on the challenges, promising practices, and outstanding questions related to the reinstatement of Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students. The group developed this survey to collect input from a broad group of stakeholders that will inform its recommendations for a smooth implementation that promotes postsecondary access and success for incarcerated students. This survey is open to all interested stakeholders, including NASFAA members and non-members. All individuals with experience or interest in serving incarcerated students are encouraged to complete the survey, including financial aid administrators, higher education in prison practitioners, institutions involved in Second Chance Pell, and other organizations/government agencies. We anticipate the survey will take 10 minutes to complete and no pre-work is required for submission. Please submit your responses by Wednesday, August 4. Learn more about this survey and the Pell Restoration Working Group here.

With the annual conference now behind us, NASFAA is looking forward to next year's national conference in Austin, Texas. The 2022 National Conference Program Task Force is looking for member volunteers. The task force, which will begin its work in September and conclude by March of next year, will focus on developing the program for the 2022 National Conference. We expect one in-person meeting for the entire task force which will take place in late fall at the NASFAA office in Washington, DC. Zoom calls and emails will round out the extent of the work. NASFAA will reimburse for travel related expenses for the fall meeting, but any travel related expenses related to Austin, TX is the responsibility of the member. Attendance at NASFAA 2022 is not a requirement. Read the full task force charter and, if interested, apply to volunteer by COB Thursday, July 29.

It’s time to commit to professional development and pursue your FAAC® designation! The July testing window this summer is now open and the next testing window opens in September. If your application has already been approved, purchase the certification knowledge exam and schedule your session online. If you haven’t applied yet, complete your application online today. Learn more about the testing process and make sure you meet all of the technical requirements. Utilize the Exam Preparation Guide to aid your studies.

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