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today’s news for Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

"With Donald Trump winning the presidency and Republicans holding their lead in Congress, a federal debt-free tuition policy won’t happen any time soon, but there are still plenty of ways institutions and policymakers can address the growing burden of college expenses," policy analyst Kim Dancy and senior policy analyst Rachel Fishman, both of New America's Education Policy program, write for NASFAA's Student Aid Perspectives series. "While rising tuition prices are featured prominently in the media, what often gets lost in the conversation are the everyday expenses such as food, housing, and transportation students must cover if they hope to succeed in college. These living expenses can be significant, and for many students are as much or more than the amount spent on tuition and fees."

Leadership Conference

The 2018 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo, to be held Feb. 26-28, 2018, in Washington, D.C., includes two days of sessions on various leadership and professional development topics, followed by an optional day on Capitol Hill where participants can advocate on behalf of their students. Attendees will have their choice of four leadership pathways, including the popular Fundamentals of Enrollment Management and Strategic Enrollment Management tracks. View the Agenda at-a-Glance for the tentative schedule and register today to take advantage of early-bird pricing.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Webinar Logo

In this afternoon's hour-long Policy Update webinar, NASFAA staff will discuss the impact of the midterm elections on higher education, the reauthorization progress, and the latest Department of Education updates from last week's Federal Student Aid (FSA) conference. This webinar is offered at no additional charge for NASFAA members and webinar package purchasers, but all must register in advance of the 2:00 p.m. ET event.

HEADLINES

National News

The Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI), in partnership with Radio Higher Ed, this morning released the third podcast in a series of podcasts on student outcomes and loan servicing. "This podcast builds upon PNPI’s September podcast, Federal Student Loan Servicing: A Podcast Primer, by exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. Federal Student Loan Servicing: Strengths and Weaknesses/The Financial Aid Administrator Perspective examines current concerns from the perspective of financial aid administrators and features Justin Draeger, President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators," PNPI said in a press release.

"It may have surprised some observers that President-elect Donald J. Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has no track record in higher-education policy. Instead, Ms. DeVos has made a name for herself as an advocate for charter schools and vouchers that allow public dollars to be spent on private schools. She is also well known for her philanthropy and support of conservative causes," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"... Some policymakers also can't believe that universities and colleges still haven't worked out a way of accepting each others' credits, a problem the National College Transfer Center estimates wastes $6 billion a year in tuition and is a little-noticed but major reason students go deep into debt or never graduate," according to The Hechinger Report.

"The dashing of the executive orders of President Obama will be the low-hanging fruit for a Trump administration looking for quick action on its very first day," Diverse: Issues in Higher Education reports. "It means President-elect Trump could take out DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, with the simple stroke of a pen."

"At a recent town-hall meeting in Tucson, local business leaders took up education in the state of Arizona. They examined state support for public colleges –– among the lowest in the country –– and fretted about their future work force, says Gary D. Rhoades, a professor of higher education at the University of Arizona. They had even gone to the statehouse to meet with legislators, he heard at the town hall. 'If you need to raise taxes,' the businessmen had told their representatives, 'we'll give you political cover,'" The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "To their surprise, the professor recalls, the legislators waved off their requests. One reportedly said: 'Those kids don't need college.'"

"The past eight years have been the halcyon days for community colleges, a time when their prestige grew and their reputations were burnished in ways once thought unimaginable," according to Community College Week. "President Obama placed the two-year sector at the center of the recovery from the Great Recession and students flooded community college campuses. Jill Biden, the vice president's wife and a longtime community college professor, provided an unprecedented and ongoing shot of credibility. Obama hosted a White House Community College Summit, drawing worldwide attention to the historic mission of access and equity of community colleges."

"Graduating high school seniors: does the University of Southern Mississippi have a deal for you! The 14,500-student school has cut annual out-of-state tuition and fees from $16,529 this year to $9,964 next fall, even as it increases the cost for Mississippi residents by 4 percent, to $7,963," The Associated Press reports. "The idea is to reverse a 2,000-student enrollment dip by pricing a USM education below some public universities in nearby states, and attract enough high-schoolers from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to raise overall revenue."

"Nearly 300 Marines came home from their seven-month deployment to Central America this week. They have a few things in tow –– wood carvings from local artisans and the grit of experience responding to Hurricane Matthew, among the world's worst recent natural disasters. But the reservists returned without something that most were counting on: seven months of GI Bill benefits," according to Stars And Stripes.

State News

"University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan was interviewing for her current job three years ago when she brought up the idea of a two-year program for low-income students," MPR News reports. "'She described not exactly like this, but the need for something like this and that she would like to have St. Thomas consider it,' said Mike Dougherty, head of the Dougherty Financial Group, who was at the interview. 'At dinner that night my wife and I started to talk about it, and the more we talked about it, the more that it fit our profile of what we'd like to do.'"

Opinions

"When all the smart people assumed that Hillary Clinton would be elected president, fashionable speculation in Washington held that the next secretary of education would be a 'higher-ed person,'" Kevin Carey writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education. "... Then Donald J. Trump happened. This week, the president-elect kept the K-12 streak alive by appointing Betsy DeVos, a wealthy Michigan philanthropist and longtime supporter of private K-12 school vouchers, to become the next secretary of education."

"President-elect Donald J. Trump last week announced one of his first cabinet nominees, naming Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire, as his nominee for secretary of education. If confirmed by the Senate, DeVos would bring to Washington a well-defined agenda in the K-12 education arena. What she would bring to higher-education policy is less clear, but we can find clues in her free-market outlook," Donald E. Heller, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of San Francisco, writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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