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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: May, 2020
May 28, 2020

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team revisits the latest updates from the Department of Education (ED) regarding the enforcement of guidance restricting emergency CARES Act grants to students who are Title IV-eligible, and fields questions from two members related to the CARES Act. Megan then dives into the latest news in a lawsuit against ED over the Title IV eligibility guidance, and the argument from ED attorneys that the guidance was just preliminary. Justin summarizes a letter from a bipartisan group of senators asking ED to take additional steps to ensure recent changes in a student’s financial circumstances in the wake of COVID-19 are taken into account in the FAFSA application process, which leads to Jill's examination of whether a now-archived Dear Colleague Letter is still applicable. Finally, the team discusses the chances of a veto on Congress's measure to block implementation of the 2019 borrower defense regulations, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) proactively scheduled a vote to override an anticipated veto. Plus, we're still taking your questions! If you'd like to "call in" to the podcast, please leave your name, institution, and question in a voicemail at 202-785-6954.

May 22, 2020

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie first tackle late breaking news from the Department of Education, as it pulled an about-face in an updated statement saying it would not enforce guidance that would limit federal emergency student grants to those eligible to receive Title IV aid because it lacks “the force and effect of law.” Still, ED reiterated that the emergency grants are not available to undocumented students, international students, or those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrives (DACA) program. The team also dives into last week's guidance from ED on distance education flexibility, R2T4, and campus-based aid. Allie and Megan discuss news that Congress sent a resolution to block implementation of the Trump administration's borrower defense regulation to President Donald Trump's desk, and Justin lays out the latest lawsuit facing ED over its Title IV restrictions for CARES Act grants. Plus — we want to answer more of your questions! Call 202-785-6954 and leave a message with your name, institution, and question regarding CARES Act guidance no later than 12:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday May 27 and we may answer it on our next episode. Happy Memorial Day!

May 15, 2020

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie dive into the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, the fourth coronavirus relief package proposed this week by House Democrats. The bill would direct roughly $37 billion to higher education, and retroactively prevent the Department of Education (ED) from imposing student eligibility restrictions on higher education emergency relief funds allocated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — a point for which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has recently come under fire. The team also dives into a NASFAA membership survey that found 72% said ED’s guidance did not provide enough direction to issue student grants in a timely manner. Plus, Allie gets into the details of a lawsuit brought on by the California Community Colleges system, alleging ED's move to restrict emergency grants to Title IV-eligible students was arbitrary, and Jill explains relevant guidance related to professional development.

May 8, 2020

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie reconvene to discuss the latest developments regarding CARES Act emergency grant funding for students and institutions, including new updates from the IRS that students' emergency grants will not be counted as taxable income. Jill explains the details of new guidance from the Department of Education on how, when, and where institutions must report data on student emergency grants, and what data points must be made publicly available. Plus, Allie describes a new class action lawsuit against ED arguing defaulted loan borrowers are wrongfully continuing to have their wages garnished, despite ED guidance saying it would halt collections. And the team wants to know: Where are you most looking forward to eating once we return to normal life?

May 4, 2020

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin is joined by Francisco Valines of Florida International University, Wayne Kruger of St. Petersburg College and Brad Barnett of James Madison University, who shared how their campuses are distributing emergency grants to students made through the CARES Act. The group discusses the challenges campuses have had with determining a system to distribute grants to students amid the rapidly changing guidance from the Department of Education, whether they will have students self-certify that they meet the requirements of being eligible for Title IV aid, and what their process looks like overall. They also discuss issues with the funding formula for CARES Act aid, as well as what they'd like to see in a future relief package should Congress provide more aid to students and institutions.

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