ILASFAA Legislative Issues Energizer

The 2014-2015 Legislative Issues Committee for the Illinois Association of Financial Aid Administrators is underway with its second Blog!

The goal for 2014-2015 is to provide resources that allow members to be engaged in the legislative process.  The top three objectives for this award year are to:

  1. Explore ways to create and grow relationships with State and Federal legislators and their staff.
  2. Encourage discussion, educate the membership, and provide tools that will enable members to be engaged in the legislative process.
  3. Provide resources detailing necessary steps to respond to proposed regulations and negotiated rule making.

The ILASFAA Legislative Issues Committee wants to energize its members and possibly recruit new members with monthly blogs of briefings from the Federal and State levels.  We aim for conversation, so for all of you subscribed to this Blog let us hear your thoughts!

State Briefings

  1. Monetary Award Program (MAP) Advising Work Group – One of the conclusions of the MAP Task Force was that students would likely benefit from additional advising on academic and financial matters.  The Advising Work Group scope directs the working group to catalog existing student academic advising support programs and available information on those programs’ outcomes.  The scope goes on to direct the working group to survey existing literature on the effectiveness of similar programs within the state.  The biggest challenge is to then make recommendations regarding:
    1. minimum standards of support that colleges should make available to MAP recipients, and
    2. minimum requirements for students to take advantage of such support.

Biggest challenge?  How can minimum standards and requirements be established across different sectors and produce relevant outcomes?  What happens when an institution doesn’t meet minimum standards?  It is understood that reporting would not take place prior to Spring, 2015, but what would institutions report?

Have any of you had conversations with your retention teams or advising colleagues?  Do you have suggestions to give the ILASFAA/ISAC Operations Committee?  If so, make your comments here!

  1. Nineteen specific Community Colleges Appropriated reimbursements for Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) – A controversy sparked when specific community colleges were appropriated a total of about $1.2 mission to help reimburse the tuition and fees waived on behalf of the IVG recipients.  The allocation to the nineteen colleges is facilitated by the Illinois Community College Board – not ISAC, although the information used for the allocations comes from ISAC.
  1. MAP Pilot for Dislocated Workers – There are colleges and universities that already collect data from students and parents selecting the Dislocated Worker status on the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid.  Most often, a ‘requirement’ is optional for students and families to complete a request for Special Conditions or professional judgment.  However, Senate Bill 3306 takes it further despite concerns expressed by several members from both chambers.  What’s the big deal?  For 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 MAP funds would be secured for students and families with the Dislocated Worker status through the summer months even if applying later than the general pool of applicants.  For example, if ISAC suspended award announcements for the general pool of applicants in February or March, ISAC would continue to make awards only to those with Dislocated Worker statuses through the summer months.  At the end of the day, fewer dollars could be allocated to other applicants, meaning the initial suspense date for the general pool would occur earlier.

Since all three of these items impact our campuses directly, if you had an opportunity to meet today with your institution’s legislative liaison, what would be your feedback on the abovementioned items?  What are some proactive measures your office is taking now to prepare?

ILASFAA Legislative Issues Energizer

Happy Thursday!

The 2014-2015 Legislative Issues Committee for the Illinois Association of Financial Aid Administrators is underway and has had its first conference call!

The goal for this award is to provide resources that allow members to be engaged in the legislative process.  The top three objectives for this award year are to:

  1. Explore ways to create and grow relationships with State and Federal legislators and their staff.
  2. Encourage discussion, educate the membership, and provide tools that will enable members to be engaged in the legislative process.
  3. Provide resources detailing necessary steps to respond to proposed regulations and negotiated rule making.

The ILASFAA Legislative Issues Committee wants to energize its members and possibly recruit new members with monthly blogs of briefings from the Federal and State levels.  We aim for conversation, so for all of you subscribed to this Blog let us hear your thoughts!

Federal Briefings

  1. Student loan servicers, which have been criticized by consumer advocate and federal regulators alike, are facing scrutiny from a new group:  Financial Aid Administrators.  The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators or NASFAA and the National Direct Student Loan Coalition formed a task force on servicing issues.  The 10-member task force will focus on improving the Department of Education’s servicing contracts and ensuring consistency in servicing practices.  For updates on task force, visit the NASFAA website.
  2. There are three changes in Student Financial Aid programs that Democrats and Republicans agree on as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act:
    1. Making the Federal Pell Grant Year-Round – Again?
    2. One option for Federal Student Loan repayment: income based – Democrats go a step further and would automatically enroll severely delinquent borrowers.  In early 2014, the student loan debt balance stood at $1 trillion, compared to $250 billion in 2003, making it the second largest debt category for household debt after mortgages.
    3. Making the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System or IPEDs more effective and useful for both the Department and institutions.
  3. Oh, let’s not forget: Shrinking the FAFSA – Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee described his plan at the NASFAA Conference to replace the FAFSA with a two question postcard.  The two questions:  family size and income.

If you had an opportunity to meet today with your legislator, what would be your feedback to the above mentioned items?

Leadership Retreat

A big thanks to Bobbi Smith and Candace McNeal for hosting a great leadership retreat!  The accommodations were great and I appreciate the opportunity to meet other FA colleagues and learn more about ILASFAA.  Thank you!

Tammy Garza

Welcome!

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