ILASFAA Legislative Blog Wednesday Energizer!

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

“Pay It Forward, Pay It Back” (or “PIF”)

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has created a new resource page as a way to gather feedback and information regarding college financing models external to Illinois.

Public Act 98-920 directs ISAC to study the practicality and feasibility of implementing a PIF program in Illinois. In PIF models, the State or the college initially covers all or a portion of the student’s education costs (e.g., tuition and mandatory fees), and the student pays the system back by contributing a percentage of his or her income for a number of years after leaving school.

  1. What are the pros, cons and outstanding questions policymakers should consider when deciding whether or not to establish such a plan?
  2. What is an appropriate size or structure for such a plan?
  3. What are some observations, insights or concerns that should be taken into account after finding similar models in other states?

ILASFAA Legislative Issues would love to hear your feedback on the blog!  Further, ISAC wants to hear from you on the questions outlined above.  Comments can be emailed to: ISAC.RPPASurveys@isac.illinois.gov prior to October 31, 2014 to ensure adequate time for consideration and necessary follow-up. The entire study is due December 1, 2014.

Springfield Visit Reminder

The Legislative Issues Committee is working now on marketing the Spring Springfield Visit.  We need your attendance at the 2015 event.  Can we count on your participation?  As we prepare, we would appreciate your feedback to the Blog to the following questions:

  1. During spring term, when would be a good time for a meet and greet?
  2. How much lead time would you need in order to confirm your attendance?
  3. How frequently do you interact with your legislative liaison on campus?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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

College Goal Sunday Resources

This year, the CAP Committee has had a few task forces which have been working to make more customizable resources available to ILASFAA members and reach out to new audiences. While we intend on continuing these efforts if future years, I wanted to pose the following questions/requests to ILASFAA members to gauge our next steps.

1. Do you feel that the number of handouts and resources allotted to CGS sites is adequate to meet all populations (Homeless Youth, English Language Learners, etc)? If not, what type of resources do you think are most needed?

2. Does your office currently do any sort of early outreach to elementary or middle school parents? If so, do you have resources or program details you would be comfortable sharing? If not, would you be willing to contribute to discussions on early outreach and access?

3. Do you have pictures from College Goal Sunday you would like to share? If so, please send them to me at viscarielloa@bhc.edu. We would like to start a tradition of doing collages for College Goal Sunday this year.

If you took pictures using your smartphone, please be aware that the flashdrives provided this year do have a mini-usb portion which should plug into your phone’s charger (for some models, it seems).

Hope it’s been a great year for all!!

-Andrew V