WASFAA Federal Relations Committee Conference Call – March 24, 2016, 2:00 PT Participants: Shellee Kilbride, Vicki Shipley and Tami Sato Meeting started at 2:05 p.m. Welcome, Review of 2/27 Minutes, To Do’s Must have not been a good time for FRC members, maybe already on Spring break. Agenda was sent out Monday and final issue documents sent to FRC earlier today. To do’s from our February meeting included posting a listserv message with information on the FSA drive-in regional workshops, Helen did send a summary of office time used for direct student counseling versus fulfilling regulatory requirements. This was included in the appreciation email to Jenny and Kathleen. This and That John King was approved by Senate as new DE Secretary. He is still defending the $69.4 b (a +2% increase) DE budget at multiple hearings. NACUBO put together a Cash Management checklist which might help separate requirements for all and for the tier 1 and 2 schools. Length shows it is not simple. The FWS focus group Tami participated on was a NASFAA and Public Agenda (a nonpartisan research firm) project funded by the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation. The project was to find ways the work study program could make stronger connections to careers and work experiences while helping students to persist and complete degrees. Three focus groups discussed innovative practices and ideas, challenges and data. Questions from the facilitator included asking about the variation or difference in work study jobs from different class year in college, the relationships that needed to be built within the institution and agreements with others outside the institution and partnerships. Announcement #2 on PPY and the early FAFSA included a website where DE is collecting comments and concerns that they will review. Looks like they already are aware of FAA concerns on software providers being ready and the issue of conflicting information with the two 2015 year data that will be provided on the FAFSA. Tami wondered if FRC should send in comments or send the link information to WASFAA members in a listserv message. (Tami is still wondering.) Last Negotiated Rulemaking Session It was unique that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Maxine Walters dropped by to advocate for a clear path for swindled students to obtain debt relief. DE waited till very late on the last day to explain how FFEL and Perkins would be treated for borrower defense purposes. This did not allow for effective discussion. There were repeated revisions to the draft language, which added to the confusion. Some school and financial aid representative felt the repayment rate provision as written would negatively punish schools whose students continue education in graduate school or use the IDR repayment plans. Community colleges and MSIs could be negatively impacted. In any case, time just ran out so in the end there was little consensus therefore DE will be free to write final regulations as they please. Shannon provided FRC with the final issue documents but we cannot depend on them to develop a WASFAA response to the NPRM that is expected in early summer. Vicki said that we won’t know what to expect. They usually allow for a 45 day response time, but it could be shorter, like 30 days. DE would target final rules by November 1 so that the final rules can be effective July 1, 2017. WASFAA Conference Session Helen and Rachelle were not on the call to provide an update on revising the PPT. In the conference agenda released this is the first breakout session. I wanted to let them know that there are FRC funds in our budget to cover if they wanted to print out handouts for the session. Just send me the receipt. Summary Other discussion – The WASFAA newsletter deadline is April 22nd and I have a photo from the hill visit at the Leadership Conference so can write up a short article about discussions with staff members. Maybe Shannon can write a short summary of Negotiated Rulemaking session with heads up to look for the NPRM. Tami will be working on the year-end report which is due April 5th. Appreciate the good discussions and work done by this year’s FRC. This was the last 2015/2016 FRC meeting. The next FRC meeting will be after the conference and after FRC members are chosen for the 2016/2017 year. Tami will be chairing FRC and hopes to have some continuing members but will be looking at volunteer forms to add some new members representing the different states in the WASFAA region.