Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This Week in Legislation

Week of September 19
·       This week, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are in session for legislative business. While neither chamber is expected to consider financial aid-related legislation, Congress is expected to consider and potentially pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will provide temporary funding for federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, through December 9. Congress has until October 1, the start of the federal fiscal year, to pass a CR or the federal government shuts down.
·       On Tuesday and Wednesday, all day, the Federal Reserve holds a two-day meeting of its Federal Open Market Committee. The minutes for each regularly scheduled meeting of the committee, which include a description of economic and financial conditions, are made available three weeks after its policy decisions are posted in the Federal Reserve Board’s Annual Report.
·       On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., the College Board Policy Center hosts a panel discussion on Matching Students to Opportunity: Expanding College Choice, Access, and Quality, a new book co-edited by Andrew Kelly, Jessica Howell, and Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj that explores the “supply side” of college match from the vantage point of colleges and universities and examines the barriers that may prevent a prospective student from finding a college match likely to lead to postsecondary success. Participants in the panel include: Ben Wildavsky, Senior Fellow and Executive Director, College Board Policy Center; Jessica Howell, Co-Editor, Matching Students to Opportunity; Matthew Chingos, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute; Dr. Elsa Nunez, President, Eastern Connecticut State University; and Jacqueline Thomas, Legislative Assistant, Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE). 
·       On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee meets to consider several pieces of legislation, including the Career and Technical Education Act of 2016, which provides federal support for career and technical education (CTE) programs in all 50 states and the territories. The law focuses on the academic and technical achievement of CTE students, strengthening the connections between secondary and postsecondary education and improving accountability. The session will be broadcast live on the committee’s website.
·       On Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., the University of Maryland School of Public Policy holds a discussion titled, “Student Debt: Are We Heading for a Crisis?” The event will feature remarks from Lauren McFarland, Executive Director of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. To RSVP for this event, visit the school’s website.

·       On Thursday at 8:30 a.m., The Atlantic holds a forum titled, “The Changing Face of Higher Education,” focused on the changing demographics of college students. Participants in the event include: The Honorable John Kline, Chairman, House Education and the Workforce Committee; Sarita Brown, President, Excelencia in Education; Steward Edelstein, Executive Director, Universities at Shady Grove; James Kvaal, Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence, University of Michigan’s School of Public Policy; Cheryl Oldham, Vice President of Education Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Scott Ralls, President, Northern Virginia Community College; Michael Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College; and Ron Brownstein, Senior Editor, The Atlantic.
·       On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Urban Institute hosts a discussion titled, “Student Debt: Setting the Record Straight,” which will highlight two new books that separate fact from fiction around student debt: Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing by Urban Institute Senior Fellow Sandy Baum, and Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt by Brookings Institution Fellow Beth Akers and Urban Institute Senior Fellow Matthew Chingos. The authors will discuss the data and research behind the provocative arguments of their new books and what it means for higher education policymaking. Catherine Rampell, writer for The Washington Post, will serve as moderator. To register, visit the institute’s website.
·       On Thursday at 11:00 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology holds a hearing entitled, “Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).” The subcommittee will examine the impact the TCPA has had on consumers and the legitimate businesses that are trying to contact them. Witnesses will be announced at a later date.
·       On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises holds a hearing entitled, “Examining the Agenda of Regulators, SROs, and Standards-Setters for Accounting, Auditing, and Municipal Securities.” Witnesses will be announced at a later date.
·       On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management holds a hearing entitled, “Continued Review of Agency Regulatory Guidance, Part III.” This hearing will build on the subcommittee’s previous guidance hearings held on September 23, 2015, and June 30, 2016. Topics for the hearing may include a discussion on lingering concerns and developments arising from specific guidance documents, agency initiatives to address U.S. Government Accountability Office recommendations on internal controls for good guidance practices, and a discussion of the role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in advising and implementing its cross-government good guidance practices. Witnesses include: The Honorable Howard Shelanski, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget; The Honorable M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor; and Amy McIntosh, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Delegated the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, U.S. Department of Education.
·       On Friday at 1:00 p.m., Academic Impressions hosts a webinar titled, “Customer Service Training for Financial Aid Staff.” During the webcast, participants will learn how to improve their student- and parent-facing customer service skills in the financial aid office and walk through the fundamentals of how to approach the day-to-day work through a customer service lens and techniques for navigating the more difficult conversations that also arise in financial aid counseling. The webcast is designed for financial aid professionals who would like to improve their customer service skills, both in everyday context and when delivering difficult news to students and families. For more information, visit the Academic Impressions website.
This information is shared by SASFAA's Legislative Affairs' Committee and NCHER.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This Week in Legislation

Week of September 12

·       This week, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are in session for legislative business. While neither chamber is expected to consider student financial aid-related legislation, the House will consider H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which would allow states and school districts to use federal funds to improve career guidance and academic counseling programs that assist students in making informed academic and career and technical education decisions.

·        Today through Friday, all day, U.S. Secretary of Education John King, Jr., U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, Deputy Under Secretary of Education Kim Hunter Reed, and other senior Department of Education officials launch the seventh and final back-to-school bus tour to celebrate progress in communities and states across the country. Discussion topics include: America’s College Promise, the College Scorecard, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and college access, affordability, and completion. This year’s “Opportunity Across America” tour will include stops in Washington, D.C.; Charlottesville, VA; Bristol, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, TN; Harvest, AL; Little Rock, AR; Indianola, MS; and Monroe, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, LA. For a detailed schedule of events and topics, visit the Department’s website.

·       Today through Wednesday, all day, Strategic Insight and PLANADVISER host the fourth annual 529 Conference titled, “College Financial Planning: Creating Growth Through Collaboration,” in Orlando, FL. Highlights of the conference include: a 529 Essentials Seminar, a special ABLE Deep-Dive Afternoon Summit, legislative and regulatory updates, insights from top broker/dealer gatekeepers, innovative marketing and employer strategies, omnibus pros and cons for business and operations, ranking and creating optimal fund lineups, and emerging technology in the retail channel. For details and to register, visit the 529 Conference website.

·       On Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Financial Services Committee considers H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016. The comprehensive bill would:

o   Reestablish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as an independent agency outside of the Federal Reserve led by a bipartisan, five-member Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission. The Commission would have a dual mission of protecting consumers by enforcing the law and promoting market competition, be funded through the annual congressional appropriations process, and subject to an independent, Senate-confirmed Inspector General.

o   Provide defendants in administrative actions the right to remove cases to federal court, clarify that Dodd’s Frank three-year statute of limitations applies to such actions, repeal the requirement that reviewing courts defer to CFPB statutory interpretations where in conflict with other federal agencies, increase the threshold for bank supervision from $10 billion to $50 billion, create an advisory opinion process, and create a small business advisory board.

o   Repeal the CFPB’s authority to ban products or services it deems abusive, repeal the authority to prohibit arbitration clauses in financial services contracts, and repeal the authority for the federal government to assign credit ratings to private firms.

o   Require verification of the accuracy of the CFPB’s complaint data before posting complaints publicly on its database and require permission before collecting personally identifiable information on consumers.

o   Require the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to describe how its policy rate decisions compare to a well-known standard, require a rotation of the Fed’s 12 district bank presidents, require the Board of Governors’ Chair to testify before Congress on a quarterly basis, and provide for an annual audit of the Board of Governors and Federal Reserve Banks.

o   Require that all major financial regulations (those likely to result in 1) an annual economic impact of more than $100 million, 2) a major increase in prices for consumers or costs for businesses, or 3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, or innovation) receive affirmative congressional approval before becoming effective.

o   Repeal the Chevron doctrine requiring judicial deference to agency interpretations by altering the standard of judicial review in the Administrative Procedure Act as it relates to financial regulatory agencies.

o   End “Operation Choke Point” by placing conditions on agency customer account termination and requests and subpoenas.

o   Reauthorize the Securities and Exchange Commission for five years.

·       On Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight holds a hearing entitled, “Back to School: A Review of Tax-Exempt College and University Endowments.” Members will hear from college and university representatives and other experts on how higher education tuition has increased rapidly and how some institutions are using their tax-exempt endowments to fulfill charitable purposes and reduce costs for students. Witnesses will be announced at a later date.

·       On Tuesday starting at 1:00 p.m., NCHER and Education Finance Council (EFC) host a fly-in to highlight the importance of tax-exempt financing. The event includes a Congressional staff briefing titled, “Why are Tax-Exempt Bonds Critical for Student Success?” Participants in the briefing include: Thomas Graf, Executive Director, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority; Ben Litle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brazos Higher Education Servicing Corporation; Jordan Ballard, Legislative Assistant, Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX); and (moderator) Dr. Debra Chromy, President, EFC.

·       On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Budget Committee holds a hearing entitled, “Growing Risks to the Budget and the Economy.” Witnesses include: Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum, and John Cochrane, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.

·       On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., the Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).” The hearing’s sole witness will be Dr. Keith Hall, Director, CBO.

·       On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., New America and Washington Monthly host a panel discussion titled, “The Most Innovative People in Higher Education.” Participants will share their ideas to find inventive ways of providing more students of modest means with quality degrees at affordable prices. Participants include: Charles Isbell, Professor and Senior Associate Dean, Georgia Institute of Technology; Bridget Burns, Executive Director, University Innovation Alliance; Amy Laitinen, Director for Higher Education, Education Policy Program, New America; Jamie P. Merisotis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lumina Foundation; and Paul Glastris, Editor-in-Chief, Washington Monthly. For details and to register, visit the New America website.


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




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

This Week in Legislation

·       This week, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are in session for legislative business. However, neither chamber is expected to consider student financial aid-related legislation.
·       Today through Friday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Liberty Street Economics blog launches a series on different aspects of the evolving higher education market, including enrollment growth and its composition, student loans, and student loan defaults. The first post is entitled, “The Changing Higher Education Landscape,” and will assess the transformation of different sectors of higher education over the past 16 years. The series that follows will explore the student populations that led to this growth in enrollment and analyze how student loans, graduation, and loan defaults changed in various postsecondary sectors. The blog posts will be accessible each morning through the Liberty Street Economics blog.
·       On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosts an event titled, “Lessons Learned from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Data Breach: Remarks from House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).” The discussion will look into OPM’s data breach, which compromised the personally identifiable information of more than 21.5 million individuals, and address what lessons federal agencies can learn from one of the largest data hacks in U.S. government history. Participants include: The Honorable Jason Chaffetz, Chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Claude Barfield, Resident Scholar, AEI; and Jeffrey Eisenach, Visiting Scholar, AEI. For details and to register, visit AEI’s website.
·       On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., the Senate Special Committee on Aging holds a hearing entitled, “Securing America’s Retirement Future: Examining the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Recommendations to Boost Savings.” The center’s report includes a recommendation to increase financial literacy and foster a culture of personal savings saying, “Too few Americans understand the basics of personal finance. A strong foundation in financial literacy is vital to empower individuals to address their own savings and financial security needs.” Witnesses will be announced at a later date.
·       On Thursday, all-day, the CFPB hosts a Financial Education Exchange Conference for interested parties in the financial education field, including financial coaches, credit counselors, financial counselors, and others helping consumers navigate financial decisions. The event’s agenda includes a presentation and group discussion on the five principles to support financial well-being. For information on how to participate remotely via webinar, send an email to: CFPB_FinEx@cfpb.gov.
·       On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., the Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing entitled, “Federal Debt: Direction, Drivers and Dangers.” Witnesses include: The Honorable Mitch Daniels, President, Purdue University; The Honorable Judd Gregg, Co-Chair, Campaign to Fix the Debt and former Chairman, Senate Budget Committee; and The Honorable Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and former Director, Office of Management and Budget.
·       On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Urban Institute hosts a discussion titled, “Student Debt: Setting the Record Straight.” The discussion will highlight two new books that separate fact from fiction around student debt: Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing, by Sandy Baum, and Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt, by Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos. The three authors will discuss the data and research behind the provocative arguments of their new books and what it all means for higher education policymaking. Catherine Rampell, opinion writer for the The Washington Post, will serve as moderator. To register, visit the Urban Institute website.
·       On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., the Federal Reserve releases its “Consumer Credit – G.19” report, which includes the amount of outstanding federal and private student loans.
·       On Friday at 9:45 a.m. CDT, Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. gives remarks at a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Partnership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) event at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. The secretary will meet with HBCU presidents, industry executives, and students to discuss the progress being made to increase the number of minority students in STEM.
This information is shared by SASFAA's Legislative Affairs' Committee and NCHER.

2016-17 SASFAA Board Goals

The 2016-17 SASFAA board and conference committee met in early August in Biloxi, MS to establish the 2016-2017 goals and to begin planning for the 2017 conference.  We are thankful for all the volunteers!  It will take everyone working together to achieve this year’s goals.  We want to continue the heritage of excellent training, strong advocacy and leadership in the profession of financial aid.   The theme this year is “Building a Legacy… One Student at a Time.”  The following are the 2016-2017 SASFAA Goals:

Organizational Structure
·         Update the Mission Statement
·         Develop a Vision Statement
·         Consider a Diversity Statement
·         Bylaws Review
·         Develop Conference Handbook
·         Update / Finalize the State President’s Guide
·         Create Secured Webpage for Board Communication
·         Secure and archive previous versions of the SASFAA Bylaws
·         Develop Parliamentary Guide

 Communication / Collaboration
·         Create State Initiatives Spotlight
·         Maintain SASFAA website
·         Highlight a different committee and their work each month
·         Send Thank You Notes to All Volunteers
·         Begin Tracking Volunteers and the Committee Service
·         Develop Marketing to Promote Joining the Association

Professional Development
·         Leadership Symposium
·         State President’s Exchange
·         SASFAA President-Elect Interregional Exchange
·         Web Trainings
·         Annual Conference
·         NAOW
·         Pre-Conference Workshops

·         Executive Board Cost Containment Planning
·         5 Year Financial Plan
·         Develop Investment Policy
·         Develop P&P Budget Development Suggestions
·         Develop a Balanced Budget
·         Update Guide to Financial Management to include Treasurer-Elect and Duties
·         Secure sponsorship to support activities

Policy Advocacy
 ·         SASFAA Hill Visits
·         Advocacy updates(monthly) to the membership
·         Develop a Legislative Guide
·         Advocacy Training

Friday, September 2, 2016

State Legislative Update September 2016

State Legislative Update                                 

September 2016
Legislative news from across the SASFAA region, prepared by your 2016-2017 SASFAA Legislative Relations Committee.

Christen Neher – SASFAA Legislative Relations Chair
Ron Gambill – TASFAA Governmental Relations Chair
Mary Kosin – NCASFAA Legislative Advisory Chair
Vanessa Fulton – GASFAA Legislative Affairs Chair
Erin Klarer – KASFAA Legislative Chair
Jennifer Epperson – AASFAA Legislative Relations Chair
Francisco Valines – FASFAA Legislative Relation Chair
Della Bays – VASFAA Government Relations Chair
Michael Moseley – MASFAA Legislative Chair
Joey Derrick – SCASFAA Legislative Relations Chair
Amy Berrier – SASFAA Past President

Alabama lottery update: Alabama Lottery Bill Dead for Special Session
Alabama Community College System Merges 3 Schools

Tennessee’s Drive to 55 programs were developed to meet a goal of 55% of residents attaining a postsecondary education.  The Tennessee Promise Scholarship offers tuition and mandatory fees for two-year programs offered at eligible postsecondary institutions.  Eligible students must maintain full-time enrollment status, participate in a mentoring program and perform 8 hours of community service prior to each term the award is received.

The TCAT Reconnect program provides eligible independent students an award amount up to tuition and mandatory fees toward a certificate or diploma offered at a Tennessee College of Applied Technology.  Enrollment must be continuous with satisfactory academic progress being maintained.

The Tennessee Community College Reconnect program offers funding beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year to eligible independent students who have not attended college for at least 12 months and who previously earned 30 semester hours toward completion of an associate’s degree.  The award covers up to tuition and mandatory fees at a Tennessee community college.

South Carolina
The SC Commission on Higher Education has recently posted a helpful summary of South Carolina legislative activity at https://www.che.sc.gov/CHE_Docs/infocntr/legisl/2016/2016_SessionUpdate_06-28-2016.pdf.

Discussions are continuing regarding the creation of a new Work-Ready Scholarship in Kentucky. Initially modeled after the Tennessee Promise program, higher education officials, legislators, and executive branch administrators are interested in increasing Kentucky’s workforce participation rate and student financial aid as a resource to do so. If your state has experience with “Promise” or apprenticeship-type programs that you would like to share, please contact Erin Klarer at eklarer@kheaa.com or 502-819-0023.

Georgia National Guard – Service Cancelable loan
The GNG SCL was established as an incentive for qualified young men and women to join the Georgia National Guard and to retain skilled, productive citizens within the state. The GNG SCL was created beginning with the 2002-2003 Award Year and reestablished in 2016-2017. State revenues provide funding for this program, as authorized each year by the Georgia General Assembly. The program is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA) in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-3-374.
Recipients have already begun to receive awards this August 2016.
Resource: GSFA Regulations – 3300

Virginia in-state undergraduate students saw the lowest tuition and fee increase in 15 years.  The average increase across the Commonwealth was 3.6% for both 2-year and 4-year public institutions.  For a more in depth look at tuition and fees in Virginia see the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s 2016-17 Tuition and Fees Report at http://schev.edu/index/reports/schev-reports/2016-17-tuition-and-fees-report .