today’s news for Friday, December 3, 2021

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The annual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference wrapped up its second year of a virtual conference with Thursday's itinerary covering President Joe Biden’s higher education agenda and a number of technological updates aiming to better align online portals with the needs of financial aid professionals. In opening remarks, Department of Education (ED) Under Secretary James Kvaal outlined the administration’s priorities for higher education. Largely echoing the message provided by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona during Wednesday’s session, Kvaal committed to addressing institutional needs surrounding the pandemic, combating issues with the growing student loan debt, and ensuring that the higher education sector addresses equity for all students.

On this episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin and Karen are joined by Jon Fansmith, the American Council on Education's assistant vice president for government relations, to help break down the latest on the end-of-year activity on Capitol Hill. The group also discusses a recent hearing with Department of Education Under Secretary James Kvaal where lawmakers were briefed on how the COVID-19 Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund allocations are being spent. Plus, the group recaps the highlights from a busy week at the annual Federal Student Aid Training Conference. 


NASFAA has confirmed with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that ED has not yet made a determination about whether the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (ASLA) will be required for the 2022-23 award year. ED has indicted that information about the future of the ASLA will be "forthcoming soon." This is true even though a different response was provided during the Q&A for the and Mobile App Walkthrough and Coming Attractions session B026 at the 2021 FSA Training Conference. View the full answer to this question to learn more.

In July, NASFAA — working as part of a coalition of more than 100 higher education associations, organizations, and advocacy groups — helped launch #DoublePell, a national advocacy campaign. The #DoublePell campaign has seen great levels of involvement thus far — with nearly 17,000 emails sent via the Double Pell website's Contact Congress feature — but we need your help to make sure lawmakers hear from their constituents and the higher education community about the importance of the Pell Grant program in promoting student access and success. We encourage you to send a letter to your House and Senate members through the #DoublePell website's Take Action page, use your institutional social media accounts to promote the campaign (you can find shareable social media graphics for the campaign at the bottom of the Take Action page), and encourage Pell recipients to share their stories using the "Tell Us Your Story" button on the Pell Voices page and send their own letters to their House and Senate members in support of doubling Pell.

Did you know that your learned stereotypes automatically form unconscious bias? While assisting students in achieving their educational goals, financial aid administrators navigate through a sea of federal and state laws, regulations, and regulatory guidance, and we do so as fairly and equitably as we can. View this on-demand webinar to hear NASFAA's Kochie Vaughan and a distinguished panel of your colleagues discuss the importance of initiating and advancing the conversation of unconscious bias on your campus. The panel discusses ways to recognize and eliminate bias in financial aid policies and procedures. Register now.

Please join us in congratulating Sarah Loomis, formerly the financial aid director at West Penn Hospital School of Nursing, who is now the director of financial aid at Allegheny Health Network - Schools of Nursing. Celebrate your own career developments by completing the "Movers and Shakers" form to share the news with your colleagues.






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