today’s news for Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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The Department of Education's (ED) Office of Inspector General (OIG)—an independent entity within ED responsible for identifying fraud, waste, abuse—expressed concerns last week about intentions from both the House and Senate to change measures aimed at improving schools’ accountability and the way ED disburses and manages federal funds in their proposals to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA).  

Thank You to Our 2018 National Conference Platinum Sponsors

 Austin 2018

The NASFAA National Conference is a team effort! When we convene in Austin, please help us thank our platinum level sponsors—Discover Student Loans, Sallie Mae, Inceptia, College Ave, Oracle, and CommonBond—for their financial support and on-site participation that makes our conference so valuable to you, our attendees. Our sponsors are a key piece of the puzzle as they help make it possible for NASFAA to provide financial aid training, networking opportunities, and professional development at the conference. Check the schedule for all the special events in the Exhibit Hall. See you in Austin, Texas. Register now.


We saved the best for last. The final course of the season blends these two topics to provide financial aid administrators with the skills and insight into making the best decisions in the interests of their students. NASFAA U faculty are joined by Brad Barnett, director of financial aid at James Madison University, to teach the concepts—and application of those concepts—in a practical setting. Participants in the course will learn from each other, from NASFAA U materials and course videos, and from live interactive sessions. Don't miss out on this excellent opportunity. Register now.


Federal Student Aid (FSA) is requesting an additional 30 day public comment period, for this Experimental Sites Initiatives (ESI) information clearance request, to ensure that all affected parties will have an opportunity to review and respond to these proposed additional questions. Based on public comments received during the 30 day public comment period, which closed January 18, 2018, FSA is incorporating 40 new questions across the Institutional Surveys for seven of the experiments.


National News

"If Republicans and Democrats can agree on one priority for reauthorizing the law governing higher education, it's cutting down the lengthy application for federal student aid. Student advocacy groups hope that a FAFSA simplification push will include eliminating a question about drug convictions while receiving federal aid -- and a corresponding section of federal law denying aid to students with such convictions," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"Coursera is linked closely enough to the deepening meme about the digital 'disruption' of traditional higher education that the company's pivot back to higher education -- underscored by today's announcement that it is more than doubling, to 10, the number of degree programs it is creating with university partners, including its first bachelor's degree -- may seem surprising," according to Inside Higher Ed.  

State News

"A last-minute push of publicity and counseling helped increase the number of undocumented students in California who applied for special state-financed college aid slightly above last year's level despite fears of deportation, officials announced Monday," EdSource reports. 

"Grand Canyon University officials announced Tuesday that the school's accreditor has approved their application to convert to a non-profit," The Arizona Republic reports. "GCU was a non-profit school from 1949 to 2004 before it fell on financial hard times and was purchased by a group of investors."


"Graduation rates are an indicator that institutions are achieving success during the time students enroll. But such data, and information about the institution’s reputation that comes from trustworthy sources, provide insufficient evidence of the longer-term benefits that a community college can have on the lives of its students and the community it serves," Karen Stout writes in an opinion article for The Hechinger Report. 

Blogs & Think Tanks

"Universities and colleges are now offering upperclassmen emergency student loans, vouchers, and small grants, according to EdSource. Typically used for books, food, or other emergencies, universities and colleges are now using these often alumni-funded money pools for students who have exhausted other sources of financial aid and need small amounts of money to help them complete their college careers," LendEdu reports. 




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