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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: Category: Higher Education
Nov 1, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie discuss the upcoming midterm elections and what the outcome could mean for higher education policy should Democrats take control of the House. Meanwhile, Justin and Megan recount recent fall travels to state and regional associations and what topics have members talking. The group also dissects a recent federal employee survey showing a low rate of satisfaction among ED employees, and news that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos plans to restructure the department, including an office that handles privacy issues. Plus, the team gives their predictions for what will happen next Tuesday, and what interesting campaign strategies they've seen in the last few weeks.

Oct 18, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie recap the latest news from the last few weeks, including a turn of events in legal challenges to the Obama-era borrower defense regulations, which officially went into effect this week. Justin goes over the details of the Department of Education's public solicitation for a third party to develop a pilot program to help students receive their Title IV credit balances via a mobile app, while Allie gives the highlights of the College Board's most recent trends reports. Justin discusses issues schools have brought forward related to verification, and Allie explains a group of lawmakers' calls for more information on PSLF. Plus, listen to the end to hear what Justin and Allie's presidential campaign slogans would be—and share yours with us!

Oct 4, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team digs into why the Department of Education is delaying publishing two highly anticipated regulations—borrower defense and gainful employment—and what that means for students and institutions moving forward. Also percolating at the department, Allie gives an update on intermittent issues with the FAFSA and IRS DRT. Stephen explains the latest news with Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as a group of teachers this week filed a class action lawsuit against a large student loan servicer, and Allie outlines how many student veterans are experiencing hardship due to a backlog in processing GI Bill benefit claims at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Plus, after Megan spots a local celebrity on the metro, she wonders: what would you do if you ran into someone famous?

Sep 27, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie report back with the latest developments on the federal budget—which may come in on time for the first time in more than two decades. Justin explains how a policy change taking effect at the Department of Education might be forcing out some longer-serving staff, while Allie details the newest three-year cohort default rates released this week. The team also discusses NASFAA's recent strategy retreat, and which staff members are now experts at improv.

Sep 14, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team returns from a summer hiatus with plenty of updates from a busy August. While the Senate pushed forward in its work toward passing a budget, the House passed a bipartisan bill on annual counseling, which would implement new requirements designed to ensure that students make informed decisions when accepting federal loans and Pell Grants. Plus, the Department of Education released proposed regulations for both borrower defense and gainful employment. Justin and Megan explain NASFAA's submitted comments for both proposed rules, and give an update on NASFAA's recent work on improving award notifications. Plus, Allie relays what it’s like to have a part of your life play out like a thriller.

Jul 12, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Stephen, and Allie catch us up on the latest news in federal spending, as the House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill for education programs for fiscal year 2019. The bill, which included a few notable higher education-related amendments, now moves to the floor for a vote by the full House, and a similar bill in the Senate awaits a floor vote. The team also discusses how President Donald Trump's new Supreme Court nominee could have an impact on higher education and affirmative action. Plus, rumors swirled on Capitol Hill about a potential celebrity visit, and student debt moves into prime time in a new reality TV show.

Jun 28, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie come to you in a live recording from NASFAA's 2018 National Conference in Austin. For the second year in a row, the "Off The Cuff" team gathered at the National Conference to give attendees a "behind the scenes" look at what goes into creating the podcast each week. Tune in for an episode full of games, trivia (thanks to Trellis Company), and a special announcement of a brand new podcast launching this fall.

Jun 20, 2018

This week, in an extended episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan are joined by New America's Rachel Fishman and uAspire's Laura Keane to discuss their recent research on challenges with the formatting of financial aid award letters. Rachel and Laura give a high-level description of their research, what they found, and recommendations for how institutions can make award letters more digestible for students and parents. Meanwhile, Justin and Megan share some insights from NASFAA's own research on consumer information and award letters, and how stakeholders from all sides — including students, institutions, software providers, and more — must work together to establish best practices. Next week's episode will be a live recording from NASFAA's 2018 National Conference — we hope to see you all in Austin!

Jun 14, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the full team reunites to share some exciting details of what to expect at the upcoming 2018 NASFAA National Conference in Austin. Justin, Megan, and Stephen explain the latest developments on whether the House Republicans' PROSPER Act will come to the floor for a vote by the full chamber. Stephen gives an update on the status of lawmakers' progress on fiscal year 2019 spending, and Allie shares how Google is trying to make a mark in higher education. Plus, hear why Megan is a little nervous to ride the metro lately, and the furry creature that captured America's — and NASFAA's — heart this week.

Jun 7, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan and Allie discuss the declining chances that Congress will reauthorize the Higher Education Act this year, after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made comments last week suggesting Democrats are unwilling to cooperate. Meanwhile, Allie gives a recap of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's recent defense of the Department of Education's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, and Megan dives into whether a recent court ruling could be delaying the release of proposed rules for borrower defense. Plus, Megan and Allie share which special guest will be joining the podcast in two weeks.

May 24, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan give an update on efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, as House Republicans met behind closed doors Wednesday night to discuss the PROSPER Act. Allie provides a summary of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's recent appearance before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Megan dives into the details of how some borrowers might get a second chance to receive loan discharges through Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Plus, hear from NASFAA's Dallas Martin Endowment Policy Intern, McCall Hopkin, about what she'll be working on this summer. To get straight into policy discussion, skip ahead to 5:30 in the podcast.

May 17, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team discusses information leaking in Washington and how that can tie in to news on higher education. Justin shares the newly-released spring floor schedule for the House of Representatives. The PROSPER Act is nowhere to be found on it, but Megan explains how some are still lobbying hard for a floor vote. Allie explains the latest changes in ED's oversight of fraud in higher education, and a new report that highlights negative consequences of the Parent PLUS Loan program. Plus, Megan and Justin analyze the discussion from NASFAA's recent policy forum on accountability in higher education and its impact on access.

May 10, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie dive into the details of a slew of new negotiated rulemaking sessions proposed this week by the Department of Education. Among the regulations up for discussion are those related to state authorization, accreditation, access to high quality and innovative programs, and eligibility of faith-based entities and activities. The team also gives an update on the timeframe for when proposed rules on borrower defense and gainful employment may be released, and what the interest rates will be for new federal student loans. Allie and Megan talk about recent and significant changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and why some Republicans are pushing for DACA to become "queen of the Hill."

Apr 26, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team, along with some special guests courtesy of 'bring your child to work day,' discusses a federal district judge's order to continue processing DACA applications. Justin, Megan, and Stephen delve into the Trump administration's latest attempt to delay an Obama-era consumer protection regulation, and Stephen updates the team on the potential for a budget rescission. The team also talks about the Department of Defense's (DoD) opposition to the House Republicans' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), and the discovery that a widely-quoted student loan expert was a fictional character.

Apr 19, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Stephen and Allie talk in more detail about how a possible budget rescission — even if it's not passed by Congress — could impact student aid funding, and how members can encourage lawmakers to continue to support the "Fight for Financial Aid" in fiscal year 2019. With midterm elections approaching, the two discuss a new report from the Center for American Progress on how shifting demographics nationwide could impact elections. Plus, Allie gives an update on a lawsuit seeking to halt the Department of Education's process to award partial relief to some borrower defense claimants, and Stephen shares new details on the characteristics of Grad PLUS Loan borrowers from a new report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Apr 12, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team discusses whether House Speaker Paul Ryan's resignation means the end of his political career and what his final moves may be, and analyzes Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent testimony before Congress. Justin, Stephen, and Allie delve into what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected regarding student loans over the next decade, and Allie breaks down a new report on raising the income threshold for calculating the automatic zero EFC. The team also talks about the much anticipated release of the Pell Grant schedules and a letter that Democratic senators sent to the Department of Education (ED) related to implementing changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Plus, the team discusses some of the swag to be given out at the NASFAA National Conference.

Apr 5, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Allie and Megan answer some lingering questions about a data-sharing provision in the fiscal year 2018 budget, and dig into what might be next on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's regulatory chopping block. Allie and Megan discuss the latest news in ACICS's struggle to maintain federal recognition, and what it could mean for students. Megan also dives into the details of why some institutions are concerned by a bill intended to ease the process of applying for financial aid for students who may not have contact with their parents. Plus, Allie shares some exciting news about a special Easter surprise from this past weekend.

Mar 29, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team discusses NASFAA's letter to Congress requesting increased funding for federal student aid programs in fiscal year 2019, and question whether the budget will be passed before the September deadline. Megan, Allie, and Stephen talked about concerns raised this week regarding expanding the role of a top Department of Education (ED) official. Allie walks the team through a recent ED report detailing cases in which students had their TEACH Grants converted into loans, as well a State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) report highlighting states' increased reliance on tuition funds. Plus, the team considers whether the conference room can double as a dance club.

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.

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