WASFAA Federal Relations Conference Call – January 15, 2015 Participants: Vicki Shipley, Scott Cline, Helen Faith, Michael Dear, Pat Hurley, Anafe Robinson and Tami Sato Meeting started formally at 2:07 p.m. Welcome, Review of September Meeting, To Do’s Tami said she moved offices and this may be problem that her group emails have not been going out. Apologies for not receiving the meeting agenda and handouts. From the previous meeting Tami did not send out the notice about the Perkins petition or summary of the budget because the holiday break and then the big news about “free community college” proposal that dominated the news. Seems like the President’s budget will be out soon (February 3rd) so probably can wait for a comparison message to go out to WASFAA membership. NASFAA Leadership Conference – 3/1/2015 In review of the minutes from our December meeting we started talking about the topics paper for the hill visits. Last year the topics included not having a college rating system, streamlining consumer information, reinstatement of certain ABT provisions, repeal of the 150% DL limit and allowing institutional authority to set lower annual limits for DL. In our previous meeting these additional topics were brought up by FRC: PPY, simplification, burden of 150% reporting plus additional disclosures. Tami said NASFAA polled members on top RHEA issues and the top five were origination fees, PPY, Perkins, simplification of repayment and year round Pell. Pat has volunteered to draft a first version of our topic paper. Her ideas included: 1) Repeal of DL 150% provision as duplicative of SAP and overly burdensome for colleges; 2) Flexibility in loan counseling so that colleges can tailor their counseling to best meet the needs of their students; 3) FAFSA simplification-where do we want to go with that? (I’d say at least more than 2 questions); 4) Eliminate base guarantee in campus-based funding; 5) Free community college???; 6) Loan issues- increase limits? Limit loans to CC’s? Allow institutions to limit loans?’ and 7) Differentiate between program reviews and audits and provide mechanism for ED to assist institutions without assessing penalties if errors are found. Vicki reminded us that when proposals like the FAST Act talk about “one loan”, that would mean elimination of Perkins and the Graduate PLUS. For graduate students that could mean the only choice of additional private loans. The annual and lifetime limits are inadequate for many professional programs. Tami stated that not having Graduate PLUS would only work if there was an unlimited loan limit for the DL Unsubsidized. Tami said that we would reach out to the WASFAA state president’s for their input on topics we have identified. Anafe said that CASFAA Federal Issues is meeting next week and an agenda item is developing their topic paper for the hill visits. CCCSFAAA has not determined attendees yet. Kevin sent a message to state presidents about the meeting with House/Senate staffers on the Education Committee and the importance of letting FRC know the name, organization and email of all those interested in participating. Barbara is compiling the list and has heard from a few states. Helen said WA had to delay elections. Scott said that he would be attending along with Sunshine Garcia and Dwayne Barnes (Note: Sunshine sent an email to Barbara with the complete list.) Vicki will be attending a NCHER legislative conference in DC and will be working on setting a time for the staffers meeting so that other meetings with state representatives can be set up either before or after the staff meeting. In the News… The “Free Community College” plan hit the news like wildfire with both praise and criticism. The main question is whether costs other than tuition and fees will be covered, how the cost will be covered and how present financial aid programs like the Pell work in this plan. Sen. Alexander and Bennet re-introduced the FAST Act with its 2-question FAFSA and onegrant, one loan proposal with two repayment options only. The Repayment Act of 2015 also called for either a 10-year fixed repayment plan or a single, IDR plan. The $57,500 figure in the bill is not like the PSLF proposal to limit forgiveness but used to determine whether forgiveness will happen at 20 or 25 years. It also called for complete tax forgiveness for discharging of a loan due to TPD. WASFAA Conference FRC Sessions Helen will take the lead turning in a session proposal on CDR Appeals. Jeff might be a good one to present with as he mentioned some experience with this at our previous call. Barbara said she will take the lead on turning in a session proposal on Program Reviews. Tami and Vicki will develop a session on whatever the hot topics are at that time. The HELP committee wants to get out a RHEA bill out in Spring so it might or might not be out. Either way there will be plenty to talk about. Note: I forgot to mention this but FRC was asked about help with some graduate track sessions. I suggested Linda Bisesi as she is serving on the NASFAA GPIC. Deadline date is Valentine’s Day for session proposal. Other FRC members let folks mentioned above if you would be interested in co-presenting or moderating. Thanks. Unfinished/New business Pat, Vicki and Helen have been nominated for the next round of Negotiating Rulemaking that so far have PAYE and SCRA as topics. Other topics may be added but as usual DE has to consider resources and Pam Moran will be retiring. All has to be budget neutral. Some FRC members listened to the FSA webinar on GE reporting. The PPT was provided later as the first session had some technical difficulties. Tami will try to send out the message with handout. There were some dates FSA nailed down recently like the date that the PIN would be replaced by a username and password (FSA ID) is 4/26/2015. The other date is the early implementation date for using the new PLUS adverse credit terms which is 3/29/2015. Tami said she would send out a list serve message to membership with these dates and other topics like the Perkins petition. The regulations for ATB restoration and the Eligible Career Pathway Program came out in December. FRC discussed and the best thing to do for better understanding is wait for the guidance and details that DE will provide plainer language. Next meeting The next meeting is scheduled for February 19th at 2:00 PT.