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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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NASFAA's Off the Cuff Podcast
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 14, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie analyze the outcome of the House education committee's 13-hour markup session of the PROSPER Act — the House Republicans' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The gang discusses the political reverberations of the Alabama Senate election and another deadline leading to a government shutdown — the team dives into what could happen in the next few weeks. Plus, Justin shares his favorite new way to "hack" airport travel. (Spoiler alert: it involves a skateboard), and Allie tells us about a celebrity dog who attended the House HEA markup hearing. This will be the last "Off The Cuff" episode for 2017 — in the meantime, send us your "highs and lows" from the year, and we'll discuss it in our first episode back in January 2018. Happy holidays, and happy New Year, NASFAA members!

Dec 7, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan address questions that arose following the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Training Conference, including personally identifiable information (PII), conflicting information and 400 and 401 codes, and the future of the mobile FAFSA application. Justin, Megan, and Allie recap highlights from the House Republicans' recently-released Higher Education Act reauthorization bill, and Allie shares a dispatch from the first of three negotiated rulemaking sessions for gainful employment. Plus, the team discusses a potential government shutdown and how lawmakers hope to avoid that situation, as well as how DACA is influencing discussions.

Nov 30, 2017

This week, on an extended episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie go over the biggest announcements coming out of FSA's Training Conference in Orlando. The team also discusses news that House Republicans may soon release a sweeping reauthorization bill for the Higher Education Act, and what changes might be included in the bill. Justin shares his experience testifying at a Senate education committee hearing on simplifying the FAFSA and what direction senators might take in their own reauthorization bill. Plus, negotiated rulemaking for gainful employment kicks off next week – Justin, Megan, and Allie dive into what issues might come up during this first session.

Nov 16, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Stephen and Allie take the reins with Justin and Megan out of town. Stephen gives us an update on the special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat and how the outcome could have an impact on tax reform and other important legislation moving through Congress. He also dives into the details of how the House and Senate tax reform proposals differ. Meanwhile, Allie walks through the highlights from the first session of negotiated rulemaking for borrower defense, which kicked off this week. Moving forward, the Department of Education will take negotiators' feedback and return with a draft regulation for the second session in January. Plus, Stephen and Allie bring back "What Was That" for a one-week cameo!

Nov 2, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss new tax reform proposals moving through Congress and the implications they could have on higher education. The team also dives into another recent glitch stemming from the IRS, as the "Get Transcript Online" tool has been nonfunctioning for new users for at least one week. Reports also surfaced in the last week that the Department of Education will be offering buyouts to some staff within Federal Student Aid, and a new Politico Magazine profile gives a more comprehensive look inside Betsy DeVos's work as Education Secretary. Plus, the team shares their favorite mantras to live by – feel free to share yours! "Off The Cuff" will be taking a one-week hiatus. Check back in two weeks for the next episode!

Oct 26, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan brings us up to speed on what's happening in Washington, D.C. politics, while Stephen gives an update on Congress's progress on the federal budget. The team digs into news that the Department of Education is delaying implementation of the borrower defense regulations, and what that will mean for students. Allie outlines the high-level findings from the College Board's annual reports on trends in college pricing and student aid, and Justin and Megan share some member-submitted information on a possible spike in verification rates. Plus, the team discusses the intrigue of a new John Grisham novel on student loan debt.

Oct 19, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie talk about new issues with verification rates the the publication of Pell Charts, while Megan and Stephen take members from the graduate and professional community to Capitol Hill. Allie outlines the details of a new lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her decision to delay the gainful employment rule, and Justin shares some breaking news from the student loan servicing arena, as Nelnet acquires Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc. Plus, how one congressman allegedly used student loan benefits to strong arm employees into extending their stay.

Oct 12, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan go into the details of guidance from the Department of Education (ED) regarding the winding down of the Perkins Loan program. They also discuss ED's response to a June letter from NASFAA requesting an orderly and equitable wind-down of the program. Justin and Allie discuss two policy events held in Washington this week: one on coming to a bipartisan agreement on the federal government's role in higher education, and another on the merits and drawbacks of moving to a "one grant, one loan" financial aid system. Plus, the team answers some questions on the federal budget process, and asks listeners to send in which food they'd like to eat for the rest of their lives.

Oct 5, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan give an update on guidance from the Department of Education regarding the sharing of students' FAFSA information and what schools need to know. Justin, Megan, and Stephen discuss the Perkins Loan program closeout process, and Stephen gives an update on Congress's work on the federal budget. Plus, Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about transparency expectations for the federal government, and FSA chief Dr. A. Wayne Johnson's recent public appearance at an event in Washington, D.C. The team also shares member submissions for their favorite "goodbye" songs, and poses a new question: What confuses you about the federal budget and appropriations process?

Sep 29, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," the policy team gives an update on Congress's plans for tax reform and a potential budget resolution. Megan and Stephen discuss the likely end of the Perkins Loan program, and Justin dives into the Education Department's Office of Inspector General's audit into Western Governors University. Allie outlines the latest data from ED on the national student loan cohort default rate. Plus, the team discusses readers' picks for the scariest movies of all time and pose a new question: What is your favorite "goodbye" song?

Sep 22, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss how Congress's renewed focus on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act could have implications for higher education. While lawmakers focus on health care, tax reform and other issues are put on the back burners. Stephen gives an update on efforts to preserve the Perkins Loan Program, while Allie outlines details from the Arizona attorney general's lawsuit over high tuition prices. Megan and Justin dive into NASFAA's comments to the Department of Education on burdensome regulations. Plus, Justin Timberlake and Barack Obama were among some of our members' answers for who they would like to have dinner with.

Sep 14, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie discuss the details of a potential deal to preserve DACA into law. Democratic leaders claim they struck a deal with President Donald Trump, but the White House is disputing the claims. While it's unclear whether an official deal was agreed to, it appears lawmakers are working to make some sort of compromise for Dreamers. Justin also shares details from a conversation with FSA Chief Operating Officer Wayne Johnson, who met with NASFAA's National Chairs this week. The group discussed compliance issues, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, potential error codes with the next FAFSA cycle, and whether the Perkins Loan program will make a comeback. Plus, Stephen tells the group about two lawmakers who will make a musical performance on the Virginia-Tennessee line this weekend.

Sep 8, 2017

In this special episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin conducts interviews with two NASFAA members in Texas to give a more personal account of the impact Hurricane Harvey has had on students, staff, and institutions. In the two weeks since Harvey made landfall, students and staff alike have struggled with a wide range of challenges. JoEllen Soucier, executive director of financial aid at the Houston Community College System, shares how her institution is helping students across more than two dozen campuses. Alan Ahmad, TASFAA president and director of financial aid at Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, discusses what the state association has done and continues to do to help its members in Houston. Send your comments, questions, and feedback to us, and tune in on Friday for the next regularly scheduled episode of "Off The Cuff."

Sep 7, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie return from a monthlong hiatus to discuss developments in higher education over the summer, as well as the top tasks facing Congress as lawmakers return for work this fall. The team dives into the details of President Donald Trump's plans to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Megan and Stephen analyze an unexpected deal between Trump and Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown, and Justin explains things schools should keep in mind when it comes to privacy and data security with the return of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Be sure to tune in for our special episode on the impact of Hurricane Harvey on Monday, and join us next week for the next regular episode of "Off The Cuff."

Jul 27, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team dives into Congress's work on health care, and how delays in that area can prevent other legislation – such as the federal budget – from moving forward. The team also gives an update on a bill moving through Congress that would expand benefits for student veterans, and Megan outlines what to expect from NASFAA's annual Student Aid Profile report. Plus, team digs into higher education funding issues in West Virginia. Be sure to also listen in for a rousing debate on workplace dress codes. As we head into August, "Off The Cuff" will be taking a brief hiatus to re-tool and brainstorm new ideas for the future. We'll be back in September!

Jul 20, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin shares some details from his recent meeting with newly-appointed FSA COO, Dr. A. Wayne Johnson. The two discussed a range of topics that are mutually important to financial aid professionals and FSA. Plus, Justin, Stephen, and Allie dig into the latest developments on the federal budget front, as two House committees debated and advanced two separate pieces of legislation related to the 2018 budget. One of those proposals – a budget resolution moving from the House Budget Committee – could open the door to a reconciliation process that could put some student aid programs at risk, Justin and Stephen explained. On a lighter note, Allie outlines the details from a new bill to strengthen Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for student veterans. Plus, Allie and Justin talk about their recent close encounters with wildlife at the zoo.

Jul 12, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," the policy team digs into the details from the Department of Education's first of two public hearings on the reopening of negotiations on two Obama-era regulations: borrower defense to repayment and gainful employment. Megan outlines NASFAA's comments on the intent to rewrite the two rules, and Justin chimes in on what issues could come up in the process moving forward. With Congress back in session, Stephen gives an update on forthcoming budget hearings and how much lawmakers might consider cutting from education in the federal budget. Justin, Megan, and Stephen also discuss the most recent data from the FSA Data Center, which included information on student loan defaults, FAFSA applications, and more. Plus, Justin shares some interesting tidbits from the inside operations of ED, and Megan talks about how a human chain saved a family from a rip tide.

Jun 29, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team discussed absolutely no useful policy information, and instead drew back the curtains during a live session at the National Conference in San Diego. Conference attendees were able to join Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie for a live recording of the podcast, and see the process the team goes through each week to put the show together. The team was also joined by guest host Chandra Owen of Michigan State University, who came out on top in the Super-Fan Showdown. Listen to the full podcast for more on the creation of "Off The Cuff" and our favorite parts of the conference, and get to know your hosts a little better. "Off The Cuff" will be taking a one-week hiatus. Check back for the next episode on July 14!

Jun 22, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan dive into recently-released guidance from the Department of Education on year-round Pell Grant implementation, and how it will affect schools and students. The team discusses what we know so far about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's intended pick to head FSA – Dr. A Wayne Johnson – and Allie outlines recent developments with the DACA program. The team picks the winners of the "Off The Cuff" super-fan quiz and announces who will join us on stage in San Diego. Plus, Justin and Megan share their pre-conference rituals, and their favorite past conference locations.

Jun 15, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team dives into the details of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' recent announcement to rewrite the borrower defense and gainful employment regulations, and looks at what action schools should take with gainful employment disclosure deadlines approaching. The decision came amid criticism from some lawmakers and advocacy groups, and support from others – but it's still unclear exactly how the re-opening of negotiated rulemaking will impact students and schools. Allie also gives an update on lawmaker concerns over ED's plans to overhaul the federal student loan servicing system, particularly the plans to move to a single servicer. Megan outlines two letters NASFAA recently sent to ED on the 2018-19 draft FAFSA and the wind down of the Perkins Loan Program, while Stephen gives us a sneak peek of what's to come at the "Fight for Financial Aid" rally at the conference this month.

Jun 8, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Stephen, and Allie discuss how while much of the energy in Washington, D.C. has been funneled into former FBI Director James Comey's testimony, the Senate also questioned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the department's proposed 2018 budget. Toward the end of the hearing, DeVos and one senator also engaged in a somewhat confusing exchange about when year-round Pell will be implemented. Meanwhile, talk has been surfacing about a potential re-opening of negotiated rulemaking for two Obama-era regulations: borrower defense to repayment, and gainful employment. Justin dives into what that would mean for schools, and where NASFAA stands. Plus, Justin makes the case for why he should have a book deal documenting his time at NASFAA.

May 25, 2017

This week on “Off The Cuff,” the team rehashes details from a busy week on Capitol Hill and within the Department of Education following the resignation of James Runcie, former chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid. Runcie’s resignation came less than two days before he was scheduled to testify before a joint hearing of two House Oversight subcommittees on improper payments with NASFAA President Justin Draeger and the Inspector General’s office. It was reported that Runcie resigned after a clash with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos concerning his requested appearance at the hearing. The Trump administration this week also released its proposed fiscal year 2018 budget, which included significant cuts to federal student aid and the elimination of several programs. Catch up on all the action this week. “Off The Cuff” is taking a one week hiatus – join us again on June 9 for our next episode!

May 18, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team discusses details from a leaked version of President Donald Trump's forthcoming education budget, including steep cuts to certain student aid programs, and the elimination of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, among other significant changes. Allie fills us in on a new bipartisan bill that would do away with the student unit record ban, but put certain limitations on the data collection and usage. Justin and Megan dive into feedback on the implementation of Year-Round Pell, and Stephen outlines the recommendations in NASFAA's new report on improving oversight and transparency within Federal Student Aid. Plus, Sen. Ben Sasse gives us more Twitter gold, and Justin shares which social media platform he thinks can give NASFAA a leg up.

May 11, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Allie, and Jill discuss Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' recent appearances, including a speech at Arizona State University where she questioned reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, instead appearing to favor starting from scratch. Jill gives an overview of the FAFSA verification requirements ED outlined for 2018-19, once the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is again fully functional, and Allie recaps an update on where the Department of Education stands on plans to create a single loan servicing portal. Plus, Megan tells us about the White House's new furry friend "Marlon Bundo," and Jill makes the case for attending goat yoga.

May 4, 2017

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Stephen, and Allie discuss the details of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's hearing on the FAFSA data breach. During the hearing, federal officials announced that the DRT will be up and running again for the next FAFSA cycle, but with some changes that could complicate things for students and financial aid offices. Stephen also explains the nuances of approval for the year-round Pell Grant in Congress' recent budget deal, and how funding for the Pell program could impact awards for the 2017-18 award year and beyond. Plus, Justin sells us on why "shower wipes" are a great alternative when you're on the move, and Stephen tells us about a "Mission Impossible"-style test thievery in Kentucky.

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