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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: April, 2020
Apr 30, 2020

This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie jump back into the student portion of the emergency funds provided by the CARES Act, touching on remaining confusion about which students qualify and what NASFAA has heard from schools who have begun the process of selecting recipients. First, the group is joined by Jim Eddy of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, who shares how he is helping both his local and higher education community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Skip to 10:20 to get straight to the policy discussion about the emergency funds, and to 25:40 to hear Megan talk about what fall enrollment may look like as students rethink their plans to continue their education. Plus, the group wants to know how you’ve been feeling recently by inviting you to show us via Twitter your six most frequently used emojis.

Apr 23, 2020


This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie tackle new guidance from the Department of Education (ED) released Tuesday that both announced the availability of the institutional share of the emergency funds under the CARES Act and posed new restrictions — introducing a slew of new questions — on the portion of the funding that must be allocated to students. The group delves into confusion around ED’s clarification that a student must be Title IV eligible to receive the emergency funds — such as if there are options for determining that short of having students complete a FAFSA — and what’s coming down the line in terms of additional ED guidance and relief bills from Congress. The team is also joined by special guest Mark San Marino of DeVry University, who shared how his university is helping others in the higher education community transition to online learning during the COVID-19 outbreak. Plus, the group wants to know: is your financial aid office or institution leading any efforts to support your community?

Apr 21, 2020

In a pop-up episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Jill, and Allie gather shortly after the Department of Education released additional guidance on the allowable uses of emergency funding for students and institutions under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, specifically noting that students must be Title IV eligible to receive the funds. The guidance addressed several outstanding questions, such as clarifying that students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs on March 13 (the date of President Donald Trump’s national emergency proclamation) are not eligible to receive the emergency grants, that institutions may not use the student portion of funding to reimburse themselves for tuition or room and board refunds, and that the student grants may not be used to cover outstanding balances on a student account. By stating that only Title IV eligible students would be able to receive emergency grants, the guidance also excluded international students and those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from receiving emergency funding. NASFAA has already reached out to ED regarding the scope of its statement that only “students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), may receive emergency financial aid grants.” Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days!

Apr 14, 2020

In a special episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan are joined by other members of NASFAA's policy team — Director of Policy Analysis Karen McCarthy and Policy Analyst Jill Desjean — to answer some of the most pressing questions that have sprouted from the Department of Education's (ED) most recent announcement regarding the distribution of emergency grant funding for student aid. The team covers a wide range of topics, such as which students would be eligible to receive the aid (DACA students, non-Title IV recipients, graduate students, or international students, for example) and what would be considered an eligible use of the funds. Other issues covered in this episode include the process for submitting the certification form for grant funding — including which campus departments need to be involved — how institutions should report on the use of funds, and other outstanding issues. Stay tuned for more episodes of "Off The Cuff," and as always, send us your comments, questions, and suggestions.

Apr 13, 2020

On this special episode of “Off The Cuff,” Justin is joined by financial aid directors at three institutions — Lauren Jackson of Northwestern State University, Francisco Valines of Florida International University, and Wayne Kruger of St. Petersburg College — to discuss how their schools are using the emergency stabilization funds allocated to higher education in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The group delves into who on campus submitted their certification and agreement forms on behalf of the institution, how funds will be distributed and to which students, and whether they have required some form of application for students to qualify for the funds, among other issues. The group also talks about outstanding points of confusion within the legislation their institutions are still wrestling with, and shares advice for schools seeking to best distribute their funds to students in need. Stay tuned for more special episodes of “Off The Cuff.”

Apr 10, 2020

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie continue discussions on the impact the novel coronavirus is having on higher education and student financial aid — including breaking news from the Department of Education regarding the distribution of emergency funds to be used to directly help students. The team is also joined by special guest Renee Swift of Nazareth College, who shared her experience adjusting to teleworking and navigating new guidance around financial aid during the COVID-19 outbreak. At 15:30, Justin discusses likely increases in professional judgment requests as students and families adjust to new financial realities, and at 19 minutes, Jill gets into the details of ED's latest guidance released late last Friday. At 29:30, Megan gives an update on the latest new from Capitol Hill and whether we'll see another relief package, as well as a $47 billion ask from the higher education community. Plus, the group wants to know: If your quarantine name is the last thing you ate, plus your high school mascot, what would your name be? Until next week - signed, "Pretzel Bite Don."

Apr 2, 2020

This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie reconvene via Zoom to discuss guidance institutions are still awaiting from the Department of Education (ED) surrounding the impact of the novel coronavirus on Title IV aid. At 11:45, Megan talks about additional COVID-19 relief bills being drafted, and how much support there will continue to be for higher education, and at 14:25, Allie discusses ED’s new instructions for loan servicers to suspend borrowers' payments on federally-held loans and waive their interest accrual — as mandated in the recently passed relief package — by next week. At 17:18, Jill delves into ED’s proposed rule on distance education released Thursday for public comment, and the group wants to know: Do you want to join NASFAA’s Zoom podcast, and if so, what would you talk about? We’re excited to (virtually) host a few of you on the show!

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