Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This Week in Legislation

Week of December 12
  • This week, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are in recess. Lawmakers will return to legislative business and begin the 115th Congress on Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
  • Today at 10:00 a.m., U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell speaks at the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Event in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Mitchell will highlight ways that students and parents can access and pay for college, and make the college selection process easier. He will also share information about the new, early October 1 availability of the FAFSA and the College Scorecard and will answer questions about college.
  • 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 Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for American Progress (CAP) hosts a conversation with Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. on the future of the nation’s education system. He will talk about the importance of public education and what it means for the strength of the nation’s democracy and economy. To RSVP, visit the CAP website.
  • On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau hosts a free web-based Info session on robocalls that will provide information about consumers’ rights and the steps they can take to prevent robocalls. The session will explain the FCC’s role in addressing this issue and the steps consumers can take to protect themselves from and/or decrease the amount of robocalls they receive. For details on how to join the call, visit the FCC website.
  • On Thursday and Friday, all-day, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) hosts its 2016 CFPB Research Conference, which aims to highlight research on the topic of consumer finance that can inform researchers and policymakers. The conference will focus on high-quality consumer finance research with academic and government researchers presenting their research papers. During the conference, attendees will hear from panelists on consumption dynamics and household balance sheets, discrete thresholds in the availability of credit, insights into consumer decision making, the impact of change in credit availability and usage, and information and disclosure.
Department Announces Debt Collection Contract Awards
Late last Friday evening, the U.S. Department of Education announced awards for the unrestricted debt collection procurement released last December. That procurement replaced one initially released in 2013. The Department received proposals from 48 organizations. The contracts, which run for five years with an option of a five-year renewal, cannot exceed $417 million.

Awards were made to the following bidders as provided by the Department:

Financial Management Systems Investment Corp.

1701 Golf Road Tower 2-150
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

GC Services Limited Partnership

6330 Gulfton
Houston, TX 77081

Premiere Credit of North America, LLC

2002 N Wellesly Blvd. Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46219

The CBE Group Inc.

1309 Technology Parkway
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Transworld Systems Inc.

507 Prudential Road
Horsham, PA 19044

Value Recovery Holding, LLC

919 Old Henderson Road
Columbus, OH 43220

Windham Professionals, Inc.

380 Main Street
Salem, NH 03079

Unsuccessful bidders were informed that their bids were not “deemed to conform to the solicitation and to be the most advantageous to the Government.” These organizations have three days to submit a written request to “receive a debriefing in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 15.506.”
Senate Passes Continuing Resolution and Averts Government Shutdown
The Senate voted 63-36 shortly before midnight on Friday to approve a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the federal government through April 28, 2017, narrowly avoiding a temporary shutdown. President Obama signed the bill shortly after receiving it early Saturday morning. The House approved the stopgap bill on Thursday by a 326-96 vote. The move came after Senate Democrats dropped threats to reject the CR in order to get a yearlong extension for retired coal miners’ healthcare benefits. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who led the resistance, said he would continue to press the issue next year. The 115th Congress, which convenes on January 3, will have a busy four months as it will be tasked to not only confirm nominees by President-elect Donald Trump to various positions, but confirm a possible Supreme Court nominee and reach an agreement on spending levels for the rest of fiscal year 2017.
FICO Research: Average U.S. Student Loan Debt Doubled in 10 Years
New research from FICO reveals the sharp rise of student loan debt over the last 10 years and shows that people with heavy student loans are less likely to have mortgages. According to the data, the number of U.S. consumers aged 25-34 with student loan debt of at least $50,000 doubled from 2005 to 2015. During that same time, the average student loan debt across all consumers aged 25-34 also doubled; by comparison, average credit card debt and mortgage debt for this population actually fell. While the number of consumers age 25-34 with student loans grew from 2005 to 2015 (from 27 percent of this population to 40 percent), there are fewer 25-34 year olds with mortgages or credit cards than 10 years ago. FICO also researched the impact of student loans on other types of borrowing, with the most dramatic finding in mortgages. Among people 25-34 years old: 22 percent of those who have never had a student loan have mortgages; 33 percent of people who have paid off their student loans have mortgages; and 17 percent of those who still have open student loans also have mortgages.
Higher Education Legislation Introduced
Prior to the closure of the 114th Congress, higher education-related bills were introduced in both Chambers. In the House, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced H.R. 6521 to “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the deduction allowed for student loan interest and to exclude from gross income discharges of income contingent or income-based student loan indebtedness.” On the Senate side, Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced S. 3521, or the RISE Act, which would ease the burden of transitioning to college life for students with disabilities. The act, which amends the Higher Education Act, would clarify that documentation used in K-12 education and other settings to receive special education or accommodations would be acceptable as proof of a disability for students in higher education. “The RISE Act clears the path for students with disabilities to get the support they need to thrive and succeed in college,” Sen. Casey said. “No student with a documented disability should have to incur additional costs to prove it when they get to college and I commend the disability community and higher education for working together with me on solving this critical issue.”
Education Department Update
The following announcements have been posted to the IFAP website:
  • 2016-12-09 (COD System) Subject: COD Processing Update
  • 2016-12-09 (General) Subject: Important Information for Colleges and Counselors Regarding Supporting ITT Students

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This Week in Legislation

Week of December 5
  • 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, Congress is expected to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide discretionary funding to the U.S. Department of Education through May 2017.
  • On Tuesday at 9:00 a.m., the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics holds a public meeting to discuss the transition of the Obama Administration as it pertains to Hispanics and education-related issues and provide recommendations for the initiative in 2017.
  • On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., the Urban Institute holds a discussion titled, “Community Colleges since the Great Recession,” which will highlight variation among institutions and differences across state systems, along with tested policy and institutional solutions that bolster student success and economic development. Participants include: David Baime, Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Policy Analysis, American Association of Community Colleges; Sandy Baum, Senior Fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute; Lauren Eyster, Senior Research Associate, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute; Dan Phelan, President, Jackson College; Margery Austin Turner, Senior Vice President for Program Planning and Management, Urban Institute; and moderator David Wessel, Director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, Brookings Institution.
  • On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the House Agriculture Committee holds a hearing entitled, “1890 Land-Grant Institutions: Recruitment Challenges and Scholarship Opportunities.” Witnesses will be announced at a later date.
  • On Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., New America hosts an event titled, “Beyond the Classroom: Strategies for Integrating the Worlds of Work and School,” which will highlight the release of a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that explores strategies for building effective work-based learning systems. Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, Work-based Learning for Youth at Risk: Getting Employers on Board draws on the OECD’s extensive international research to identify best practices in work-based learning and strategies for overcoming one of the key challenges to scaling: engaging employers. Participants include: Andreas Schleicher, Director, Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD; Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education; Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor; Crystal Bridgeman, Senior Director, Workforce Development Programs, Siemens Foundation; Thaddeus Ferber, Vice President, Policy Advocacy, The Forum for Youth Investment; Angela Hanks, Associate Director, Workforce Development Policy, Center for American Progress; Cassius Johnson, Senior Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Year Up; and moderator Mary Alice McCarthy, Director, Center on Education and Skills, New America.
  • On Wednesday 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 Thursday at 2:00 p.m., Neustar hosts a free webinar titled, “Achieving Communication Efficiencies in a Changing TCPA and Regulatory Environment.” Participants will learn from a panel of experts about the latest Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rulings and the impact on organizations that call and text consumers, as well as the effects the Trump administration could have on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and TCPA regulations. Participants include: Becky Burr, Chief Privacy Officer, Deputy General Counsel, Neustar; Mark Brennan, Partner, Hogan Lovells; Brad Day, Principal/Chief Executive Officer, Dey’s End Consulting; and Mitchell Young, Executive Director, Fraud, Risk, and Compliance, Neustar. To register, visit the Neustar website.
  • On Friday at 1:00 p.m., Academic Impressions hosts a webinar titled, “Strengthening Admissions and Financial Aid Partnerships,” which will take a strategic approach to partnering admissions and financial aid offices to better serve prospective students and families. The webinar will share two practical and proven partnership models between admissions and financial aid, take an in-depth look at each model, and discuss next steps for implementation on campuses. For details and to register, visit the Academic Impressions website.
Gov. Christie Signs Legislation That Forgives HESAA Loans After Student Death
Politico reports that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation today that forgives Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) loans of students who die or are permanently disabled. The new law also grants loan deferments in the case of temporary disabilities. According to the Office of Legislative Services, the law will mean a “minimal loss” of state revenue, costing $1.4 million the first year, $1.5 the second, and $1.6 the third.
Student Debt Activists Appeal One Last Time to Obama
In a video released today by the Debt Collective, student activists are giving one final push for the U.S. Department of Education to complete group discharges of the debt owed by those who took out federal loans to attend for-profit schools such as Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. Activists are not confident that the Trump Administration will be as forgiving or receptive to their claims and are requesting that President Obama erase their debts before leaving office. As previously reported in the Daily Briefing, the Department said it will take until at least spring to wade through its backlog of tens of thousands of debt relief claims.

Pamela Hunt, a former Corinthian Colleges student, appealed directly to President Obama in the video and pleaded that he forgive her debt and the debt of other defrauded students. “I believe that as a parting good faith gesture, that you forgive us of this debt,” she said. “We’re appealing to you this one last time. This is our last chance to get the justice we deserve.”
Memorandum: An Overview of the Budget Reconciliation Process
As the Obama Administration winds down and the Trump Administration and 115th Congress gear up for a new beginning, several pieces of legislation will no doubt be reviewed as the next budget comes into play. The Penn Hill Group has written a memorandum to provide an overview of the budget reconciliation process and its use in moving major spending and revenue-related legislation. The memorandum also touches briefly on the Congressional budget resolution process, in order to explain how Congress begins the process of establishing and moving reconciliation measures. Congressional leaders have announced the possibility of using the budget reconciliation process to address several major legislative efforts in 2017, including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), major tax changes, and modifications to education and workforce programs. The Penn Hill memo is included in the expanded version of today’s Daily Briefing.
Fall 2010 Cohort Outcomes: Decline in College Completion Rates Reverse and Lead to Upward Trajectory
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Signature Report, Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates – Fall 2010 Cohort, recent declines in the overall national six-year completion rates have reversed and are now on an upward trajectory. The effects of the Great Recession on higher education included enrollment surges, followed by declines in completion rates, for the 2008 and 2009 entering cohorts. Even though each of these cohorts had more students graduating than the prior cohort, completion rates had declined at the national level for every institution type and all student subgroups. The data shows that for the fall 2010 cohort, the overall national six-year completion rate rebounded to 54.8 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from the 2009 cohort. This comprehensive rate includes all students, including those enrolling part-time and full-time at all two-year and four-year institutions. The fall 2010 cohort’s completion rate resulted in 55,000 more graduates six years later than that for the fall 2009 cohort. Furthermore, increases in completion rates occurred for students in all categories of enrollment intensity (exclusively full-time, exclusively part-time and mixed enrollment). Increases also were observed in completion rates of both traditional-age students and adult-learners. Other key data points include:
·         For students who started at four-year public institutions, the completion rate for the fall 2010 cohort increased 1.2 percentage points to 62.4 percent, compared to that of the fall 2009 cohort. The increase was mostly attributable to larger numbers of students graduating from their starting institution.
·         The total completion rate for two-year starters, regardless of whether the completion occurred at a two-year or four-year institution, increased from 38.1 percent for the fall 2009 cohort to 39.3 percent for 2010 students. Sixteen percent of the two-year starters had completed a degree at a four-year institution by the end of the study period, up from 15.1 percent for the fall 2009 cohort and very close to the completion rate for the fall 2008 cohort, 16.2 percent.
·         The completion rate for students who started in four-year, private, nonprofit institutions increased to 73.9, from the fall 2009 cohort’s 71.5 percent. Much of the improvement was attributable to older students.
·         The rate rebounded for those who started in four-year, for-profit institutions, after dramatic declines of the previous two cohorts. In last year’s report, the research showed a 5.6 percentage point decrease for the fall 2009 cohort from that of the previous year, from 38.4 to 32.8 percent. The completion rate went up to 37.1 percent for the fall 2010 cohort.
·         The share of students who had earned no degree and were no longer enrolled in the final year of the study period decreased by 1.1 percentage points, from 33.0 percent for the fall 2009 cohort to 31.9 percent for the fall 2010 cohort.
·         The overall completion rate for full-time students starting at four-year institutions (including public, private non-profit and for-profit) was 81.3 percent, if they stayed full-time.

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

December State Legislative Update

State Legislative Update                               
December 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
Amanda Holliday-Gray – MASFAA Legislative Chair
Joey Derrick – SCASFAA Legislative Relations Chair
Amy Berrier – SASFAA Past President
Mike O’Grady – Legislative Knowledge Expert

Community colleges accepting ‘reverse transfer’ credits from 4-year schools:


The Community College Reconnect Grant began the Fall of 2016 and $1.5 million was disbursed to the community colleges in Tennessee.  The grant provides a last dollar scholarship to independent students who have earned 30 credit hours or more towards their associate degree.  The program is a pilot project and will be reevaluated.


Following the November 8th election, the majority party in the House has flipped from Democrat to Republican, which has not been that way since 1921.  The 64/36 split also creates a supermajority. Kentucky now has a Republican held House, Senate and Governor’s office.
Normally the legislature convenes on the first Tuesday in January, at which time leadership elections are held for both chambers and committee assignments are shared. However, the new House majority has already held leadership elections.  http://mycn2.com/politics/house-republicans-pick-four-new-members-of-leadership-team.
Some long-held Republican agenda items will now see movement: charter schools, pro-life legislation, and “Right to Work” bills. Some talk of tax reform has surfaced, although the short 30 day legislative session may prove challenging to accomplish such a large undertaking. http://mycn2.com/politics/reforming-the-tax-code-where-the-experts-see-the-discussion-ahead-of-2017
With 25 new House members, now is a great time for our elected leaders to get to know KASFAA!
The Second Annual KASFAA Day at the Capitol will be Tuesday, February 28th. The Government Affairs Committee will work on getting KASFAA members face time with key decision makers representing their school and the state. We will also sit in on a committee meeting or two, enjoy fine dining in the cafeteria, and observe the action the House and Senate floor. Please email eklarer@kheaa.com if you are interested in participating!

Mississippi Public Universities launches Complete 2 Compete in order to assist former students to help them complete their degrees. Complete 2 Compete is a statewide program focused on encouraging Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but no degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees. With close to 300,000 residents who, in the past 15 years, have started but not earned a degree, this initiative would be greatly beneficial for many Mississippians.

Please find the following press release for more details: http://www.mississippi.edu/ihl/newsstory.asp?ID=1269

North Carolina
The highly contested NC Governor's race has been decided - http://myfox8.com/2016/12/05/pat-mccrory-concedes-election-roy-cooper-is-north-carolinas-newest-governor/

Rep. Virginia Foxx has been selected as Chairwoman of House Committee on Education and the Workforce - http://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401157