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today’s news for Thursday, December 9, 2021

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

The Department of Education's (ED) negotiated rulemaking committee, now at the midpoint of this week's final session, continued discussions on Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, and listened to a presentation from the Prison Education Programs subcommittee.

In a letter to Department of Education (ED) Under Secretary James Kvaal this week, NASFAA asked the department to consider making the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement (ASLA) available to institutions for voluntary adoption as a requirement for their borrowers to receive a loan disbursement. The letter is asking to not require all institutions to do so, instead asking that schools have the option to implement ASLA, noting that the acknowledgement “can be a valuable piece of supplemental information for some students and families.” However, the letter added that requiring ASLA for all schools has the “potential to add duplication, complexity and confusion” to the financial aid process and could increase the chances that students receive different information from different sources, such as institutional financial literacy programs. Ultimately, the letter notes the importance of addressing student loan debt and states a “one-size-fits-all solution to a nuanced problem” is unlikely to address the issue and yield the desired outcomes. 

As the federal suspension on student loan repayments winds down, pressure is beginning to emerge for the administration to offer a further extension. Citing the COVID-19 Omicron variant, ongoing servicer transfers, and new data on borrowers’ ongoing economic burdens, a group of more than 200 student-based organizations is calling on the Biden administration to again extend the payment pause past its January 31 end date. The Department of Education (ED) has continually pledged that the benefit will expire at the start of 2022. In recent remarks, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also called for the benefit to be extended. No new expiration date was offered, with many of these advocates, like Schumer, also calling for mass debt cancellation through executive action. 

The House on Wednesday passed the Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act, one of two pieces of legislation recently introduced in Congress aimed at making key technical improvements to the Isakson-Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. Introduced by Reps. David Trone (D-Md.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the REMOTE Act includes changes to help institutions satisfy the Isakson-Roe bill’s consumer information requirements by using the College Financing Plan template and ensures student veterans can continue to receive their education benefits, in addition to extending some coronavirus-related flexibilities previously granted to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amid the pandemic. The legislation will now go before the Senate for a vote. 

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

The landscape of student financial aid is rapidly changing not just in terms of legislation and regulations, but also among those who work in the profession. With a new generation of financial aid professionals entering the field, and others set to retire, it's important to ensure your office is prepared for change and provides the opportunity for professional growth. New to the Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo for 2022, the Succession Planning Pathway provides attendees with opportunities to learn about fostering a culture of leadership growth, the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in higher education, mentorship programs, and more. Register before December 17 to take advantage of early-bird pricing for this pathway.

Blue Icon is growing at a rapid pace and needs experienced financial aid professionals who live and breathe P&Ps and are ready to share their knowledge with schools across the country. Most work can be done outside of working hours, so you can consult and keep your day job. Read more about doing P&P work with Blue Icon and apply to be an independent consultant today! 

Join NASFAA's policy team next Wednesday, December 15, at 2:00 p.m. ET as they provide the latest updates on what's happening in Washington related to student aid policy. They will provide updates on topics including student aid funding, regulatory action, and close with a question-and-answer session. Register today.

Every year, NASFAA recognizes outstanding members and other higher education stakeholders for their achievements and contributions to financial aid, students, and/or NASFAA. Nominate your colleagues for awards such as the Gold Star Award, the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award, and the Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award, among others. Award winners will be announced this summer at the NASFAA 2022 national conference in Austin, Texas. Nominations are due Feb. 11, 2022 — submit yours today!

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