Monday, August 29, 2016

This Week in Legislation

Week of August 29

·       This week, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are in recess. Lawmakers will return to legislative business next Tuesday, September 6, after the completion of the extended Congressional recess.

·       On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy hosts Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who will discuss the current state of the global economy in advance of the upcoming G20 leaders’ summit. The summit is expected to include global governance in times of economic crisis, promoting inclusive global growth, strengthening financial regulation, and promoting financial inclusion. The event will be webcast live on the Brookings website.

·       On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., the CFPB holds a meeting of its Credit Union Advisory Council to discuss youth financial capability and debt collection, including the potential proposed FDCPA rules. The council is charged with assisting the Bureau in the exercise of its functions under federal consumer financial laws as they pertain to credit unions with total assets of $10 billion or less. To attend the meeting, send an RSVP by Wednesday, August 31, at noon to cfpb_cabandcouncilsevents@cfpb.gov with “CUAC” in the subject line.


This information is shared by SASFAA's Legislative Affairs' Committee and NCHER.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Impact of Financial Aid Association Involvement

I have had the privilege of representing SASFAA and VASFAA on four Capitol Hill visits over the past three years.  Hill visits are a great opportunity for members of our state associations and SASFAA to meet with members of Congress and their staffs to advocate on behalf of our students and fellow financial aid professionals.  One of the topics we have presented as part of the Hill visits in which I have participated is institutional ability to limit Direct Loan amounts.  We learned at the 2016 NASFAA Annual Conference that this idea is gaining traction in Congress as part of the impending reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  Moreover, limiting loan amounts is not a new idea as ED has an existing experimental site initiative to test limiting unsubsidized loan amounts.

As a community college financial aid administrator, I have been in favor of institutional ability to limit Direct Loan amounts.  Viewing limiting loans from a purely institutional perspective, I see having this ability as a positive both for students by helping them keep from amassing student loan debt and for institutions that recognize that certain programs or enrollment levels may not require full loan amounts for enrollment and completion purposes.  I still think limiting loan amounts makes senses from the institutional perspective, but after attending a couple of sessions at the 2016 NASFAA Annual Conference and reading current research regarding student loans and college access and success, I am not so sure that limiting loan amounts makes sense for students.
In many cases, limiting loan amounts may make the difference for a student choosing to purchase or not to purchase textbooks and supplies, being able to cut back on hours at work to devote more hours to classes and study, being able to afford the extra child care a parent might need while in school, covering unexpected expenses that crop up over the course of a semester, etc.  The list goes on and on, and each of these examples may have a negative impact on a student’s success and ultimate goal of completion.
At this point, I am undecided about where I stand on this important issue.  So, why bring it up?  I bring it up because to me it illustrates the importance of what our associations do.  We have a voice in Washington, DC, and members of Congress and their staffs listen to us and value what we have to say.  Further, our associations bring us together so that we may share ideas and opinions.  Nowhere is this more evident than at our annual state, regional, and national conferences and workshops.  As we share ideas and listen to each other when we come together for conferences and workshops, we learn new things and hear different perspectives.  Participation in our state, regional, and national associations helps us grow professionally. 
Submitted by: Chad Sartini
                       VASFAA President
Coordinator of Financial Aid, Veterans’ Affairs, and Records

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This Week in Legislation

Week of August 22

  • This week, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are in recess. Lawmakers will return to legislative business on Tuesday, September 6, after the completion of the extended Congressional recess.
  • On Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2016 to 2026. CBO’s most recent budget projections can be found in Updated Budget Projections: 2016 to 2026, which was released in March. CBO's most recent economic projections can be found in The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2016 to 2026, which was released in January.
  • Wednesday is the deadline for public comments on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations on state authorization of distance education programs and foreign campus locations. The regulation requires distance education providers to follow state laws governing how they become authorized to offer courses and programs to students in states other than where they are located. Comments should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

·         On Friday at 10:00 a.m., Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, WY. Her remarks will focus on the symposium’s topic "Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future.”


This information is shared by SASFAA's Legislative Affairs' Committee and NCHER.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Registration Poem

Shared by a SASFAA colleague, this poem is very fitting for this time of year.

 Twas the week before the registration and all through my brain

                Are visions of student files that need financial aid.

And I, with insomnia and my team all stressed out,

                Continue to smile but cry inside, no doubt.

When on the phones there becomes such a clatter,

We hide under our desk because we don’t want to know what’s the matter.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear – 

                An email! From a student who thanks us.

                Oh dear!

“My Pell Grant, my HOPE, you all are so great!  You processed my file even though I was late!”

The wonder! The awe! Could this really be?

                A happy student– yippee! Yippee!!

And my heart exclaims as the phone rings with another call,

                “Now graduate, graduate, GRADUATE all!!”

Poem by Phillip Hawkins – a SASFAA Colleague

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Seeking YOUR Input

The Board Seeks Your Input!

Beginning on Saturday, Aug. 6, the 2016-2017 SASFAA Executive Board will hold its first board meeting in beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi, the location of our 2017 conference. As it meets to review the budget for 2016-2017, makes plans for trainings to be held throughout the year, etc., it wants your opinions. What do you want to see from SASFAA this year? What do you really like that we should continue to support and fund? What could make our events and trainings even more successful? We want to hear from you.

As the board meeting concludes on Monday, Aug. 8, the Conference Committee will begin its first meeting for the year. As it tours the conference and hotel facilities, works on session development, etc., your input is wanted! What do you want to see at the 2017 Conference? What ideas would make this conference the best yet? We want to hear from you.

Please send any and all input, ideas, suggestions, brainstorms, and/or critiques to our President, Marian Dill, mdill@leeuniversity.edu.

Thank you in advance for taking time to share your ideas. SASFAA is the strongest when we have active, vocal, and supportive members. We hope to see you soon. Have a great remainder of the week and weekend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

ECMC Board of Directors appoints Jan Hines president and CEO of Educational Credit Management Corporation

August 1, 2016 — Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) announced that its board of directors has appointed Jan Hines president and chief executive officer of ECMC effective Aug. 1. Hines will oversee the management and coordination of all Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and guaranty agency program activities for ECMC. She also will spearhead efforts to expand social impact programs in the communities where ECMC has operations centers.

"Jan has built an impressive record of success across all phases of her career and especially at ECMC," said Dave Hawn, president and CEO of ECMC Group. "Her operational expertise and tactical experience, as well as her dedication to students and borrowers, has and will continue to prove invaluable for our organization as we remain committed to serving our constituencies as a leader in educational services."

ECMC, an affiliate of ECMC Group, is a nonprofit company that serves as a student loan guaranty agency for the administration of FFELP, and also sponsors programs to help students and families plan and pay for college.

"I am thrilled to serve in this role where I will continue to enhance ECMC's offerings to students and borrowers while supporting our mission to help students succeed," Hines said.

Hines joined ECMC in 1994 when it was established and since then has led the conversion of portfolios from agencies in Virginia, Oregon, Connecticut, California, and Tennessee resulting in a timely transition of resources and uninterrupted services for borrowers, schools, lenders and servicers. She has worked in the student loan industry since 1988.

Hines currently serves on the board of directors of the National Council of Higher Education Resources.