today’s news for Wednesday, December 6, 2017

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Committee members working to rewrite the federal gainful employment (GE) regulations on Tuesday began to discuss the specifics of the accountability and transparency metrics used within the rule, which is intended to ensure students attending for-profit institutions and in non-degree-granting programs in any sector were well-served and could find work in their fields of study which could support the level of debt they incurred in earning their credentials.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), after a recent audit, found several weaknesses in the Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) procedures for protecting student records from potential security breaches. GAO found that while FSA established policies and procedures to maintain and protect student information and comply with federal laws, “shortcomings in key areas hinder the effectiveness of FSA's procedures.”

NASFAA Announces No Dues Increase for 2018-19

For the second year in a row, NASFAA’s Financial Affairs Committee and Board of Directors have announced that institutional membership dues will remain unchanged for 2018-19, with a base fee of $835 and an FTE multiplier of .091. The price of Value, Plus, and Webinar packages will also remain steady. NASFAA's Policies & Procedures Builder, introduced this year, will continue to be included in the Value Plus package; Standard and Value members may add the P&P Builder to their 2018-19 membership for $99 per year, per institution. Membership dues are announced early to give schools sufficient time to plan accordingly.

Webinar Logo

In this afternoon's hour-long Policy Update webinar, NASFAA staff will discuss the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act—including the proposals contained in the House Republicans' recent bill, outstanding issues with the Department of Education, the budget, and generally what’s going in DC. 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.

Leadership Conference

Enrollment management is an opportunity for financial aid administrators to work collaboratively with other campus offices to achieve enrollment goals, and the Fundamentals of Enrollment Management Pathway at the 2018 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo can help you take the next step in your career. This pathway is designed for new and aspiring enrollment managers or those interested in learning more about enrollment management philosophy. Read on for a list of things you will gain from this pathway and register today to reserve your spot.


On December 8, 2017, the Department of Education will send the new message class "MESSAGTB" via the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) to all user mailboxes. The EDconnect transmission software will automatically request, download, and import this new message class table with a user’s next connection to the SAIG network. Once the MESSAGTB file has been imported, the new message class table will be used from that point forward.

This letter announces the availability of an update to the FSA Coach training suite. FSA Coach Basic Training, an introductory web-based tutorial on federal student aid program administration, is now available for the 2017–18 Award Year.


National News

"Back in 2003, a former university professor and congressional staff member named Jon H. Oberg was toiling away as a researcher at the U.S. Department of Education, nearing retirement, when he noticed something odd. Through a careful maneuver, Mr. Oberg realized, banks using federal money to issue loans to college students had devised a clever way to keep a lot more of that money than they were supposed to," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"Graduate students around the U.S. are staging campus walk-outs and lobbying Congress in an effort to keep their tuition waivers tax-free," the Associated Press reports.

"While the Senate Republicans just passed a major tax overhaul on Friday, higher education writ at-large has been wringing its hands for weeks. Especially for colleges and universities with large minority populations, the bill would only pile on more financial obstacles," according to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.


"America sees itself as a meritocracy. No other nation has turned upward mobility into a civic religion. And education has been central to that ethos, allowing us to reconcile our individualism with our egalitarian commitments. Rather than an elite drawn from a hereditary caste, social mobility ensures a 'natural aristocracy' based on talent. Horace Mann has a famous line about education as 'the great equalizer ... the balance-wheel of the social machinery.' Educational institutions, especially colleges, act as the upward escalators," Richard Reeves, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, writes in an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"First passed in 1944, the GI Bill transformed U.S. postsecondary education and the course of the nation’s economic development in the late 20th century. Seventy-three years later, the latest revision of the law is poised to mark another turning point for the education and workforce landscape," David DeSchryver and Noah Sudow, both of Whiteboard Advisors, write for EdSurge.

"I get a little twitchy when millionaires demand 'skin in the game' from the poor. That said, the latest version, proposed by Rep. Virginia Foxx, makes a bad idea worse," Matt Reed writes in an opinion article for Inside Higher Ed. 

"The Hechinger Report recently wrote about some alarming data from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard that shows 3.9 million students dropped out of college with debt in 2015 and 2016. As Jill Barshay reported in Hechinger's 'Proof Points' column, a disproportionate share of these students attended for-profit institutions," Brian Jones, president of Strayer University, writes for The Hechinger Report. "As a result, these students are saddled with debt without the degree, or the career lift, that they sought."

Blogs & Think Tanks

"At Capitol Hill in Washington, student loan origination fees received some heat from critics who argued they were 'burdensome' and represented a tax on students," according to The Student Loan Report. "The critics, a team from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), attempted to lobby Washington lawmakers to end origination fees during a meeting with members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce."

"The Century Foundation (TCF) has obtained new data from the U.S. Department of Education about nearly 100,000 'borrower defense claims'—applications for loan relief from students who maintain that they have been defrauded or misled by federally approved colleges and universities," the organization wrote in a blog post.




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