ADEA Advocacy and Government Relations (ADEA AGR) staff
members attended the National Association for Student Financial Aid
Administrators (NASFAA) Conference in Nashville, TN on June 29–July 2. Key
sessions tackled higher education issues, such as the Higher Education Act
(HEA) that is up for reauthorization in October. HEA finances Title IV student
loans and all federal student loan programs.
These issues are of particular interest to ADEA because of
the pipeline impact on future dental students. NASFAA President Justin Draeger overviewed
several key recommendations offered by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the
Senate Health Education Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee.
The Harkin proposal mandates the use of “prior-prior year”
income (PPY) in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which
employs a multi-year income average to show a more detailed picture of
students’ and families’ incomes. The plan proposes auto enrollment of
delinquent borrowers into income-based repayment plans and it also rolls back
bankruptcy provisions on defaulted private education loans. DREAM (Development,
Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act eligible students are provided with
funds through state block grants.
Mr. Draeger also outlined President Obama’s proposed college
affordability plan, which requires some congressional action, while other
pieces will be implemented through executive order. The plan includes three
parts: paying for performance, promoting innovation and completion rates, and
ensuring that student debt remains affordable.
President Obama’s proposed college ratings system employs a
ratings list generated by the Department of Education and, consequently, would
not require congressional action to implement. The list would compare similarly
situated colleges and institutions. By 2018, a school’s rating would be tied to
Title IV funding, which would require congressional approval. The Department of
Education would develop the enforcement metrics and include measures related to
access, affordability and outcomes.
Finally, Mr. Draeger reviewed the draft Financial Aid
Simplification and Transparency (FAST) Act, released in June by Senator Lamar
Alexander (R-TN), the ranking member of the Senate Health Education Labor and
Pensions Committee. The FAST Act reinstates year-round Pell Grants, provides
financial aid administrators with authority to limit loans for groups of
students, streamlines student loan payments into two payment plans (10-year
standard repayment and income-based repayment) and utilizes PPY. Other
provisions of the bill include the prohibition of part-time students from
taking out a full-time loan amount, and the elimination of the FAFSA in lieu of
a simplified aid application with two questions: family size and income.
will continue to monitor the proposed legislation, as well as congressional
strategy to reauthorize HEA, while working with the administration to implement
policies benefiting dental education and research.
For a summary on recent federal legislative and regulatory
news about oral health, dental education, and dental research, read our ADEA
Keep up with recent state legislative and regulatory news
about oral health, dental education, and dental research in your state with the
ADEA State Update.