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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: Page 4
Apr 11, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Allie, Megan, and Stephen share the highlights from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's latest appearance on Capitol Hill with the House Committee on Education and Labor, where lawmakers questioned her on a plethora of topics related to higher education policy. Stephen updates the group on issues with a provision from the budget package that was intended to grant loan deferment to borrowers undergoing cancer treatment, and how implementation has stalled due to a lack of guidance. Stephen also dives into the latest with current budget negotiations, sharing that the spending bill focused on education may be first up for consideration. Plus, Megan walks us through a piece of legislation that was reintroduced recently that would require a standard financial aid award letter.

Apr 4, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Allie, Stephen, and Megan Walter analyze the surprising turn of events that led to the negotiated rulemaking committee on accreditation and innovation reaching consensus this week. The committee decided on a slew of regulatory changes, including significant changes to the TEACH Grant program and how the Department of Education will handle requests for reconsideration of grants erroneously converted into loans. Megan catches the team up on a recent hearing in a House education subcommittee on higher education accountability, during which lawmakers made commentary on the ongoing neg reg process. Plus, the group gives a preview of more hearings to come next week, including an accountability hearing in the Senate education committee, and an appearance from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in the House education committee.

Mar 28, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie recap Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's recent appearances before both the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees focused on education funding. Allie gives a report on the latest news from negotiated rulemaking, where committee members are attempting to reach consensus on a number of issues, including accreditation, distance education, faith-based entities, and the TEACH Grant program. Plus, Megan and Justin share updates from the NASFAA Board of Directors' recent trip to Washington, D.C., during which they discussed with Department of Education officials the increase in reported combat pay on the FAFSA that many schools have observed for the 2019-20 award year and forthcoming changes to the FSA ID. Skip to 9:18 to get straight to the policy discussion.

Mar 14, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie dig into the topic on everyone's minds this week—the college admissions bribery and fraud scandal and what it means for higher education as a whole. They also discuss the three higher education-focused congressional hearings that took place this week on FAFSA simplification, for-profit college oversight, and college affordability, and the Higher Education Committee of 50's final recommendations, which the group unveiled this week and presented to staffers on Capitol Hill. Plus, listen to the end to find out what political hype video might have inspired Justin to make one for "Off The Cuff."

Mar 7, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Allie, and Joelle celebrate the 100th episode by sharing some of their favorite podcast memories from the last few years. The team discusses changes within Federal Student Aid, with the announcement of new Chief Operating Officer Mark Brown, and Joelle gives a recap of a recent hearing on student loan servicing oversight. Lawmakers will be busy next week with three hearings focused on higher education, including for-profit oversight, FAFSA simplification and verification, and college affordability. Thank you to our listeners for supporting us through 100 episodes—feel free to share your favorite "Off The Cuff" memory using the feedback form.

Feb 28, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie recap NASFAA's recent Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo, which concluded with hundreds of financial aid professionals visiting their representatives on Capitol Hill this week. Skip to 7:35 to get right to the policy discussion. Allie details a recent court decision that could bring relief to a group of borrowers who sued the Department of Education over the agency's handling of their Public Service Loan Forgiveness applications, and Megan outlines what we know so far about Sen. Patty Murray's (D-WA) priorities for a Higher Education Act reauthorization. Plus, hear Justin give us his best rendition of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's Oscars performance.

Feb 21, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Stephen, Megan, and Joelle discuss the growing list of politicians running for the democratic nomination for president, and how they’ve responded to the idea of free college. Megan talks about a bill—dubbed the FAFSA Fairness Act—to help students who are unable to provide parental information on their applications, and details a significant change made to the language since it was introduced in the last session of Congress. The group also delves into a series of recommendations that NASFAA sent to a group of democratic senators to help address racial disparities in higher education, and Justin recaps a conversation he had with our SASFAA colleagues regarding issues with Parent PLUS Loans. Skip ahead three minutes to get right to the policy discussion. We hope to see you at our Leadership and Legislative Conference & Expo next week!

Feb 14, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Stephen, Megan, and Joelle discuss a new endorsement of FAFSA simplification and Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization from Ivanka Trump—and what that might mean for White House priorities. The group also unpacks a new report that found the Office of Federal Student Aid failed to hold federal loan servicers accountable for being out-of-compliance with federal standards during both the current and prior presidential administrations. Plus, Stephen and Joelle recap the issues brought up during negotiated rulemaking subcommittee meetings earlier this week on TEACH Grants and distance education, and Megan details the continuation of an experimental program to allow prisoners access to Pell Grants. Skip to 7:20 to get right to the policy discussion.

Feb 7, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, and Megan examine Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) recently-announced policy priorities to include in a reauthorization bill for the Higher Education Act (HEA). Alexander earlier in the week laid out a vision for what he said he hopes to be a bipartisan effort to deliver a bill to President Donald Trump by Christmas. But, the group discusses, with several lawmakers already making plans for a 2020 presidential bid, it's unclear if Congress will make progress toward this goal. With FAFSA simplification high on the list of priorities, Megan also outlines the findings from a recent study showing the push to enroll more low-income students could create unintended negative consequences. Plus, the group discusses Tuesday's State of the Union address, and what the speech says—or doesn't say—about higher education policy.

Jan 31, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, Stephen, and Megan dig into the latest developments in Congress with the government shutdown over for the time being. As House Democrats gear up for oversight hearings, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) renews his push for a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Meanwhile, presidential candidates for the 2020 election are weighing in on higher education issues as they launch their campaigns. This week also news surfaced about another branch of the government—Homeland Security—dipping its toes into higher education issues when it was revealed the agency ran a fake university set up to entrap foreign students who wanted to stay in the country without proper authorization. Plus, Allie outlines the major findings from a new report on college and university endowments that found about half of endowment spending goes toward financial aid.

Jan 31, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, Stephen, and Megan dig into the latest developments in Congress with the government shutdown over for the time being. As House Democrats gear up for oversight hearings, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) renews his push for a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Meanwhile, presidential candidates for the 2020 election are weighing in on higher education issues as they launch their campaigns. This week also news surfaced about another branch of the government—Homeland Security—dipping its toes into higher education issues when it was revealed the agency ran a fake university set up to entrap foreign students who wanted to stay in the country without proper authorization. Plus, Allie outlines the major findings from a new report on college and university endowments that found about half of endowment spending goes toward financial aid.

Jan 24, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Allie, Stephen, and Megan bring you the latest on the government shutdown and the ripple effects that have now reached President Trump's State of the Union address—as well as his fiscal year 2020 budget proposal. Allie and Stephen give a full recap of the recently-concluded negotiated rulemaking subcommittee session on the TEACH Grant program, and Megan dives into the Pell Grant schedules that were published this week. Plus, the team unpacks a report on increased state support for public higher education, and checks in on their New Year's resolutions.

Jan 17, 2019

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, and Megan discuss the latest news coming out of the Department of Education's negotiated rulemaking sessions on accreditation, distance education, faith-based entities, and the TEACH Grant program. Justin and Megan dig into the ongoing government shutdown and its impact throughout the country, and examine the newly-released beta "College Financing Plan" ED issued to replace the Shopping Sheet for 2019-20. Justin also gives an update on ED's solicitation for a student loan servicing platform, and Allie shares new findings from a report on what would happen if Congress lifted the ban on incarcerated individuals' access to Pell Grants. Plus, Megan shares a new stance the Federal Reserve has taken with regard to student loan debt—is it negatively impacting the housing market?

Jan 10, 2019

In this episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie recap the latest with the government shutdown, and how the prolonged standstill has had an impact on financial aid, despite the Department of Education being fully funded. Megan and Stephen examine the new Congress that took control this month with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, and what new faces will appear on the Senate education committee. Allie details the upcoming negotiated rulemaking sessions on a number of higher education policy areas, and what's different about this round of rulemaking compared with past years. Plus, the team shares their New Year's resolutions—feel free to share yours by submitting a feedback form. Skip to 8:17 to get straight to the policy discussion.

Dec 13, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about the potential of an upcoming vote on the Senate floor on the Faster Access to Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act, and discuss how members can reach out to their representatives in the House to push the bill forward there as well. Allie details a report released from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding banks charging students high fees for college-sponsored debit cards, and the team discusses the release of a new tool for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) applicants. The team also talks about the Department of Education’s (ED) plan to revisit cases of students’ TEACH Grants being converted into loans and its official announcement that it will delay the recall of Perkins Loans. Plus, the group continues the conversation on the use of smartphones in college and delves into comments from members. Barring any breaking news, this is the last episode of 2018—we wish you a happy holiday and be sure to check back in 2019!

Dec 6, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," the team talks about the late President George H.W. Bush and what legacy he left behind not just for higher education, but also for government leadership. You can skip to 14:40 to jump straight into higher education news. Stephen catches the group up on the latest with the fiscal year 2019 spending bill, while Megan shares more information about a FAFSA simplification bill that might see action in Congress soon. Allie outlines a new student borrower advocacy group formed by former officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and what that might mean for states looking to increase oversight of servicers. Plus, Justin asks the group to weigh in on a debate that took place this week: should a smartphone be considered a necessary piece of technology covered by financial aid?

Nov 29, 2018

This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Joelle recap the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference in Atlanta, from big news regarding changes to FAFSA verification to the delay of the recall of Perkins Loans funds. The group also discusses reaction to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ opening speech, and Justin highlights a meeting with DeVos and other Department of Education (ED) officials. The team delves into new data presented at the conference on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and discuss the presentation of a new disclosure template for the gainful employment (GE) regulations. In addition to conference news, Joelle catches the group up on an update to changes to student veterans’ housing benefits and a lawsuit related to states’ ability to regulate federal loan servicers.

Nov 15, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie talk more about insights from the midterm elections, including what divisions exist among American voters and what Republicans might need to do to expand their base. Allie gives an update on new numbers showing increased enrollment at some institutions due to year-round Pell, and details a new report showing the Department of Education becoming one of the most targeted federal agencies for FOIA lawsuits. Plus, Justin shares new data on how verification can impact prospective college students, and what NASFAA member institutions have said about verification on their own campuses.

Nov 8, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie rehash the details of Tuesday's midterm elections, and how the outcome could impact higher education policy. With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, some think there may be potential for bipartisan cooperation and progress toward reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the group discusses. Aside from pushing forward on policy, Democrats may also use the opportunity to increase oversight of the Department of Education by calling Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to testify more frequently. Plus, Stephen goes into what role education broadly played in the elections, and how some politicians are already looking forward to 2020.

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 21, 2018

This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan and Allie get into the details of the final education spending bill passed by the Senate. It's the first time in several years, Megan explains, that things could return to "regular order," with the budget getting wrapped up before October 1—a move that could have implications for federal student aid programs. Megan also details comments NASFAA submitted to the IRS regarding a draft proposal for a new tax form, and Allie discusses the findings from TICAS's 13th annual report on student loan debt. The two also examine new data from Federal Student Aid updating the status of thousands of pending borrower defense claims, as well as applications for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Plus, Megan wonders whether a recent event in Virginia could spark the use of fanny packs as a defense mechanism.

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.

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