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NASFAA's Off the Cuff Podcast

Hosted by NASFAA staff, this weekly podcast offers an unscripted view of hot financial aid and higher education-related topics. Justin Draeger and co-hosts will discuss what's happening inside the beltway to give you an insider's perspective.
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Now displaying: 2018
Mar 22, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team digs into the details of the much-anticipated omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2018, which included some surprising wins for student aid, such as a $175 boost to the maximum Pell Grant award. Justin, Megan, and Stephen talked about what we know and don't know about an immediate fix for schools looking to share FAFSA data with authorized scholarship providers. Despite the victories, the bill caused some drama among lawmakers on the House floor Thursday afternoon. The team also gave a rundown of the recent in-person convening for the Higher Education Committee of 50, or the Forward50, and where the group's work will be moving in the coming months.

Mar 15, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie talk about the latest special election and whether it could be a foreshadowing for the upcoming midterm elections, and how student loan debt manifests as a personal issue for some members of Congress. Justin describes the potential implications of decentralizing the Department of Education's budget office—against the wishes of the White House's Office of Management and Budget. Justin and Allie discuss Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's recent interview on "60 Minutes," and recap the latest developments from the final negotiated rulemaking session on gainful employment. Plus, Justin wonders: is LinkedIn really the social media platform of choice for millennials?

Mar 8, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about what's on the Republican party's list of legislative priorities for the rest of the year—and what isn't. Meanwhile, as legislators continue to work on the fiscal year 2018 budget, last-minute policy riders could derail the process and lead to another continuing resolution. Justin and Megan dive into the latest proposals for the final negotiated rulemaking session on gainful employment, and Allie discusses a new report looking at the implications of grant program consolidation. Plus, Justin wonders why someone would be stealing dozens of tubas.

Mar 1, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie discuss some highlights from NASFAA's recent 2018 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo, and answer a listener question regarding the status of borrower defense claim processing. They also dig into the details of an expected piece of guidance from the Department of Education regarding the oversight of student loan servicing companies. Reports have suggested ED will issue guidance stating federal law preempts state law—an idea that has upset many consumer advocates. Justin brings up a recent Pew survey on the favorability of various federal agencies and where ED stacks up in the rankings, as well as new research on who exactly uses income-driven repayment plans.

Feb 22, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss the Trump administration's budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2019 released earlier this month, and whether Congress will support its proposed cuts to student aid programs. The team also delves into what’s going on at the Department of Education, such as its request for comments on the current practice for discharging student loans in bankruptcy, and its announcement that it has opened solicitation for its new student loan servicing platform. Allie recaps what happened — or didn’t happen — at last week’s negotiated rulemaking session to rewrite borrower defense to repayment regulations. Plus, Megan outlines the letter NASFAA sent to the Senate education committee with concerns and suggestions regarding a proposal to create a system of risk-sharing among the federal government, institutions, and students.

Feb 8, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie give a recap of the recent Senate education committee hearing on college affordability and student debt, and what everyone had to say about the "Bennett Hypothesis." Meanwhile, Congress is busy at work as lawmakers attempt to pass a two-year deal on spending caps and another continuing resolution to keep the government open for another few weeks. Away from Capitol Hill, the committee reconvened for the second session of negotiated rulemaking on gainful employment, and it's unclear how much negotiators will agree on going into the third session next month. Plus, Megan shares some insights from a recent event with a special featured speaker — former Vice President Joe Biden.

Feb 1, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about the release of Pell Grant schedules and how budget uncertainty throws a wrench into the mix. Stephen gives us details on how budget talks are progressing and whether there’s the possibility of another government shutdown. The team also talks about what to expect from the second session of negotiated rulemaking on gainful employment and how NASFAA is celebrating financial aid awareness month. Plus, Megan shares her thoughts on an unusual casting call for House of Cards.

Jan 25, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about the short-lived government shutdown and what Congress is doing to wrap up budget negotiations before the current continuing resolution expires early next month. The team talks about the latest Senate education committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, and what route the Senate might take when putting together a reauthorization bill. The team digs into new information related to Federal Student Aid's proposed prepaid debit card for students and what questions remain moving forward. Plus, which NASFAA staffer transformed into the office bird in someone's dream?

Jan 18, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie dig into discussions from a Senate committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing — one in a series on reauthorization — focused on how lawmakers can update the HEA to make the federal financial aid system more simple and transparent for students and families. Among other issues, one concern the senators discussed was whether financial aid award letters could do a better job of explaining cost of attendance and aid to students. Plus, Stephen tells us about the latest developments with a federal funding plan, and what may cause the government to shut down this weekend.

Jan 11, 2018

In a special episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Karen answer member questions on the House Republicans' Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, the PROSPER Act. Following up on a mid-December webinar focused on the basics of the new bill, members of the policy team dig into more specific questions on some of the bill's provisions. The team explains the philosophy behind some of the lawmakers' proposals, and explains how certain aspects of the bill — such as a revised R2T4 calculation and "aid like a paycheck" — might work together. The team also answers questions related to the Pell Grant program, student loans and repayment, counseling, and the Federal Work-Study program.

Jan 11, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Director of Policy Analysis Karen McCarthy joins the team to give an update on the latest discussions from the second session of borrower defense negotiated rulemaking. Karen and Allie highlight the most contentious issues that came up in the second session, and where there might be areas for tentative agreement. Justin, Megan, and Stephen discuss how the outlook for legislative progress in 2018 might change after the Republicans' retreat. Plus, Stephen gives an update on federal budget negotiations and how disagreement over DACA is complicating the process.

Jan 4, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie start by discussing hot topics of the new year, including whether schools need to report unsolicited personally identifiable information, and a likely forthcoming dip in verification numbers. Stephen walks us through what's next as Congress again works to avoid a government shutdown this month, and which policy issues might complicate the process. Plus, Allie and Justin dive into the next negotiated rulemaking session for borrower defense and what ED has proposed in draft regulatory language. The team also gives some predictions for higher education movement in 2018, and asks for listener thoughts on which issues they think will rise to the surface.

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