The 2015 NASFAA Conference in New Orleans had a little excitement Monday night. There were some protesters at the parade Monday night to protest the high cost of post secondary education. The protesters were treated politely and didn’t interfere with the fun. Tuesday’s sessions were conducted by school officials and officials from the Department and covered topics to assist aid administrators such as resources or tools to make life easier for the financial aid department There were COD updates,150% subsidized loan limits, help with awarding policies and State Authorization concerns. Sessions were geared towards clarifying current requirements more than providing new information.
A new proposed federal policy change that NASFAA is supporting is the use of prior prior year or PPY income data in preparing FAFSAs. The proposal would allow FAFSAs to be filed as early as September and current data seems to support that low income students would benefit most. Opponents of the proposal believe that it will increase Pell Grant spending and while NASFAA agrees, the upside would be more low income students being made aware that college is really a viable option for them. Federal town hall sessions enabled attendees to address questions and concerns to Department officials. One common complaint is that the regions are behind in issuing PPAs, program review reports, and final determination letters. While no new information was presented the town hall meetings were very valuable to the financial aid community as a means to bring important issues directly to the attention of policy officials.