Monday, March 16, 2015

MASFAA Washington D.C. Hill Visits – March 12, 2015

The MASFAA Federal Issues Committee held our Washington D.C. Hill Visits on Thursday March 12, 2015. We were able to visit with 18 different offices and all were very receptive of our message.

Attendees:

  • Gena Boling, MO
  • Roberta Johnson, IA
  • Christine Passer, MI
  • David Vikander, MN
  • Linda Hayes, OH
  • Aaron Knapp, WI
  • Sarah Soper, IN
  • Michelle Wortel, IL


Offices Visited:

  • Illinois – Representative Duckworth, Senator Durbin
  • Indiana – Congressman Messer
  • Iowa – Senator Ernst, Congressman Young, Congressman Blum
  • Michigan – Representative Walberg, Congressman Bishop
  • Minnesota – Senator Klobuchar, Representative Kline, Senator Franken
  • Missouri – Senator McCaskill, Senator Blunt
  • Ohio – Senator Brown, Congressman Latta, Representative Gibbs
  • Wisconsin – Senator Baldwin, Representative Pocan

Reauthorization

  • The top aide for MN Representative Kline (House Chair of Education Committee) related that their main goal is to have a bill on President Obama’s desk by the end of 2015.
  • Most offices were doubtful that full Reauthorization would happen in 2015.
  • Prior-Prior Year – every member met with was very positive about this and felt there was currently strong bi-partisan support. Very likely that this will be in multiple bills.
  • Direct Loan Subsidies and the Federal Perkins Loan Program – there appears to be very strong support for the One Grant, One Loan, and One Work idea. That would eliminate both the Direct Loan Subsidy and Perkins. Their belief is it would cost billions at this point to save Perkins. 
  • FAFSA Simplification – most offices appeared to support simplification of the FAFSA itself and making formula revisions to make the need analysis process more equitable for applicants.

Support of Federal Financial Aid Funding

  • Federal Pell Grant – we can expect to see proposals for a “Flexible Pell Grant” with some version of “Year Round Pell” again but it sounded like it would not include the “acceleration” clause and the dictation of summer crossover periods.
  • Federal Work Study – all members visited recognized the importance of work for students in regards to GPA’s and Graduation Rates. All appeared to support continued funding.

Financial Literacy and Loan Indebtedness

  • Simplifying Federal Repayment Programs – there appears to be strong support of making one Standard Repayment Program and One Income Based Repayment Program.
  • Early Awareness of Federal Financial Aid Programs – we shared the importance of providing accurate and helpful consumer information disclosures for students and families regarding college cost that is consumer tested. 
  • Review of Current Practice of Student Loan Entrance Counseling – most offices were well aware that the current 30 minute online sessions are not meeting the Financial Literacy needs of our students. They were open to ideas of how to make these sessions more impactful.


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