– May 27, 2015, 2:00 PT Schantz and Tami Sato

WASFAA Federal Relations Committee (FRC) Conference Call – May 27, 2015, 2:00 PT
Participants: Anafe Robinson, Patricia Hurley, Tracy Hall, Shannon Sheaff, Vicki Shipley, Beryl
Schantz and Tami Sato
Meeting started at 2:03 p.m.
Welcome, Review of Draft FRC Quarterly Report
Tami welcomed FRC 2015/2016 committee members to our first meeting. We will try to
have monthly meetings. The agenda was sent out with a draft of the quarterly report
that will be submitted for the WASFAA council meeting June 18-19. The report lists the
FRC members so far. Tami contacted the CCCSFAAA Federal Issues chair, Syed Rizvi,
but has not received a reply. To do: Pat said he is at Santiago College and would
double check that the correct email was used.
The report form also lists the committee goals which are about the same as the previous
year. #5 was added because this is actually something FRC does every year. We
facilitate the hill visits for members from the WASFAA region that are attending the
NASFAA Leadership Conference. Added to organizing meetings with staffers from the
education committees and providing a talking points document, finding or developing a
template for an institutional fact sheet (Any volunteers for this?)
# 6 has been on our goals list but the cost for an online product seemed impractical.
Perhaps with a healthier WASFAA budget, we can look into finding a tool that WASFAA
members can use for advocating to their representatives.
Also in the report is a list of the measures that the WASFAA strategic plan tracks and the
items that pertain to FRC. We already have some data started: 1) We have 5 new
volunteers serving on FRC; 2) We had 3 articles in the latest newsletter (by Helen Faith,
Scott Cline and Lillian Simmons) that were facilitated by FRC and 3) We sent out two list
serve messages.
This and That
The Senate education committee announced four reauthorization working groups on
accountability, accreditation, college affordability and financial aid and campus sexual
assault and safety. Senator Alexander pointed out the 1,000 pages in the law and equal
amount of pages to higher education and said he looked forward to “starting from
scratch”. Not sure if that is good or bad thing.
The Choice Act of the VA required public schools to charge in-state tuition to GI Bill
students who do not reside in the state. This deadline date of 7/1/2015 is waived now
until 1/1/2016. In the WASFAA region AK, AZ, OR and NV already comply and the rest
of the states intending to comply.
We also discussed the 7/1/2015 deadline date for private institutions to be recognized by
the state and have a complaint process in place. CA hopes to pass legislation to cover
recognition of all private institutions to meet the deadline date.
Electronic announcement #53 tried to clarify what educational programs were included
as a Gainful Employment program. Tami thought the “embedded program” section
would exclude graduate certificate programs when they are connected to completion of a
degree program but after some discussion we were not sure.
In the news was Senator Reed’s bill that would make institutions with 15% or higher
default rates subject to risk-sharing penalties. Hopefully, like other bills this does not
have much chance but risk-sharing is being brought up in reauthorization proposals.
The bill seems to recognize the unintentional consequence that might arise with schools
denying admission to perceived risk for default students. A comment in NASFAA News
suggested a profit sharing with the government and schools for students who properly
repay their loans.
Did not seem to be anything earth-shattering coming out of the federal sessions at the
WASFAA conference. Jeff Baker thought loan fees would be lower and interest rates
higher, but both look like to be lower for 2015/2016. I did ask about the winding down of
Perkins and how new students receiving a Perkins before October 1 would not be in the
grandfathered group to continue receiving Perkins until they graduate. This group would
get just 1 year of Perkins funding. Jeff said they have to do it this way because that is
how it is written in statute. He said maybe we should not have offered it to them, but this
is a little late as we had applications and information materials distributed way long ago.
NPRM on Cash Management
After some confusion, Tami realized that the NPRM released that has a due date for
comments on July 2 was from previous Neg-Reg sessions. Brad Hardison might be the
one to give us some guidance on comments. To do: Pat said she would contact him for
advice. The NPRM covered mostly the cash management issue but also included
repeated coursework and conversion of clock to credit hours. The latter two had
changes that were agreed upon by all negotiating members so we might voice our
The NPRM provides some direct areas that they invite comments. One is “whether the
option to receive a check should continue to be affirmatively offered to students as
provided in the NPRM”. Pat and Anafe did or could not provide paper checks to
students so this would be problematic for some schools. In some systems each student
would have to be set up as a vendor. To do: Maybe Pat and Anafe can respond to this
issue with reasons why, even though we want to provide student choice, paper checks
should not be a required option.
We discussed how restricting fees for using refund devices could drive vendors to
withdraw services and put the burden back on the institutions to process refunds. This
could be detrimental to students resulting in increased tuition or delayed processing time
for refunds. Exception would be that FRC also supports elimination of the point-of-sale
fees. The NPRM proposes prohibiting overdraft fees, but that is a common fee in any
commercial credit device.
Scary was the idea of a government credit or debit card for refunding directly to
For transparency the NPRM requires posting of any contracts with third-party servicers
to the college website. These documents can be in long legal verbiage. We would
suggest a summary of the key points of the contract for better understanding and
Direct Deposit to the students existing bank account is problematic for schools because
students change bank accounts but don’t inform the school. There are also rejects
because of number transposing.
Some of the companies providing refund services to schools will charge an extra fee to
the school to produce each paper check.
Other area we might want to comment on is whether 30 days following a disbursement is
an appropriate timeframe to allow a title IV recipient to access aid dollars free of charge.
Income-Driven Repayment Plans
The more recent round of Neg-Reg will have an NPRM that is due out in July with a
quicker turn-around time for final regulations in November. This would include the new
REPAYE repayment plan that DE is planning to use as the only option for repayment.
Consensus was not attained so the DE can include whatever terms they want in this
TICAS or New America will probably come out with an analysis of this bill.
FRC members who sat on this Neg-Reg discussion stated how difficult it was to make
decisions on the topic when data and facts were not provided. OMB did score the
Because there is such a high percentage of students that do not fulfill the annual income
verification requirement, the only way REPAYE would work is with coordination with the
IRS to automatically provide income data for automatic reinstatement. Plan for an
alternative repayment plan when REPAYE is not continued should be looked into, it may
not be as favorable as a permanent standard plan. There are extra hoops to get back
into the REPAYE repayment program.
To Do: FRC should review the issue papers on REPAYE, SCRA and the easing
transition of borrowers from Rehabilitation to servicing to prepare for the July NPRM on
these topics and possible areas of comments.
Pat brought up an additional issue regarding the IRS breach of data from the transcript
system to get old tax forms online. The IRS has temporarily shut down the
GetTranscript application but for verification students and parents, they can still request
a transcript by mail. The FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool does not seem to be affected.
To do: Pat will forward the information from the NY Times article to Anafe and Tami and
they will notify CASFAA and WASFAA members on the IRS breach and how it affects
financial aid processing.
 We discussed the best date and time for the WASFAA FRC conference call meetings.
We decided that today’s meeting worked for most so we will have FRC meetings the 4th
Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PT.
 To Do: Beryl will determine what dates that will be until May 2016 and provide this
information to Anafe, who has agreed to set this up with the CCC Confer system.
 Idea: Last year Helen suggested we use the Outlook Calendar system so that FRC
members would have the meeting dates on their calendars and get reminders.
Next Meeting
Next FRC conference call meeting will be Wednesday, June 24th at 2:00 PT