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NASFAA's Off the Cuff Podcast

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Education
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News
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Hosted by NASFAA staff, this weekly podcast offers an unscripted view of hot financial aid and higher education-related topics. Justin Draeger and co-hosts will discuss what's happening inside the beltway to give you an insider's perspective.

Read more

Hosted by NASFAA staff, this weekly podcast offers an unscripted view of hot financial aid and higher education-related topics. Justin Draeger and co-hosts will discuss what's happening inside the beltway to give you an insider's perspective.

iTunes Ratings

34 Ratings
Average Ratings
28
5
1
0
0

Awesome addition

By CayGoob - Aug 03 2019
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I have worked in student finance for almost 14 years. The Podcast is a great addition towards learning what is happening today in the student finance world when we all do not have the time to read. This truly feels like I am just joining the table for a colleague conversation.

Student Aid Policy Wonks Unite!

By badassbaker - Jul 20 2017
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Super wonky good stuff for financial aid administrators. Love it!

iTunes Ratings

34 Ratings
Average Ratings
28
5
1
0
0

Awesome addition

By CayGoob - Aug 03 2019
Read more
I have worked in student finance for almost 14 years. The Podcast is a great addition towards learning what is happening today in the student finance world when we all do not have the time to read. This truly feels like I am just joining the table for a colleague conversation.

Student Aid Policy Wonks Unite!

By badassbaker - Jul 20 2017
Read more
Super wonky good stuff for financial aid administrators. Love it!
Cover image of NASFAA's Off the Cuff Podcast

NASFAA's Off the Cuff Podcast

Latest release on Jan 23, 2020

Read more

Hosted by NASFAA staff, this weekly podcast offers an unscripted view of hot financial aid and higher education-related topics. Justin Draeger and co-hosts will discuss what's happening inside the beltway to give you an insider's perspective.

Rank #1: Episode 69: Paul Ryan Resigns, Mark Zuckerberg Testifies, CBO Projects Increased Cost for Student Loans

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This week on "Off The Cuff," the team discusses whether House Speaker Paul Ryan's resignation means the end of his political career and what his final moves may be, and analyzes Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent testimony before Congress. Justin, Stephen, and Allie delve into what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected regarding student loans over the next decade, and Allie breaks down a new report on raising the income threshold for calculating the automatic zero EFC. The team also talks about the much anticipated release of the Pell Grant schedules and a letter that Democratic senators sent to the Department of Education (ED) related to implementing changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Plus, the team discusses some of the swag to be given out at the NASFAA National Conference.

Apr 12 2018

35mins

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Rank #2: Episode 128: All Things FSA and Movement on the FUTURE Act

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie discuss financial aid developments coming out of Reno, Nevada, at the annual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference. First, at 10:50, Allie talks about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ suggestion that FSA should be a stand-alone agency. At 20:55, Jill delves into new data released during the conference showing less FAFSA applications selected for verification due to new technology, and recaps a session focused on a possible federal income-share agreement experiment. And at 35:43, Megan talks about a Senate-amended version of the House-passed Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which would provide $255 million in permanent, annual mandatory funding to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and simplify the financial aid application, verification, and student loan repayment process. Plus, the team poses a new question to listeners: What would be your ideal location for an FSA Conference?

Dec 05 2019

45mins

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Rank #3: Episode 49: Verification, Gainful Employment, And Bad Bosses

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie talk about new issues with verification rates the the publication of Pell Charts, while Megan and Stephen take members from the graduate and professional community to Capitol Hill. Allie outlines the details of a new lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her decision to delay the gainful employment rule, and Justin shares some breaking news from the student loan servicing arena, as Nelnet acquires Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc. Plus, how one congressman allegedly used student loan benefits to strong arm employees into extending their stay.

Oct 19 2017

39mins

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Rank #4: Episode 48: Perkins Closeout Guidance, Bipartisan Higher Ed, And 'One Grant, One Loan'

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan go into the details of guidance from the Department of Education (ED) regarding the winding down of the Perkins Loan program. They also discuss ED's response to a June letter from NASFAA requesting an orderly and equitable wind-down of the program. Justin and Allie discuss two policy events held in Washington this week: one on coming to a bipartisan agreement on the federal government's role in higher education, and another on the merits and drawbacks of moving to a "one grant, one loan" financial aid system. Plus, the team answers some questions on the federal budget process, and asks listeners to send in which food they'd like to eat for the rest of their lives.

Oct 12 2017

32mins

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Rank #5: Episode 61: The Bennett Hypothesis, Budget Deals, and Gainful Employment

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie give a recap of the recent Senate education committee hearing on college affordability and student debt, and what everyone had to say about the "Bennett Hypothesis." Meanwhile, Congress is busy at work as lawmakers attempt to pass a two-year deal on spending caps and another continuing resolution to keep the government open for another few weeks. Away from Capitol Hill, the committee reconvened for the second session of negotiated rulemaking on gainful employment, and it's unclear how much negotiators will agree on going into the third session next month. Plus, Megan shares some insights from a recent event with a special featured speaker — former Vice President Joe Biden.

Feb 08 2018

34mins

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Rank #6: Episode 71: A Win for DACA, More Higher Ed Deregulation, and DoD's Opposition to PROSPER

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This week on "Off The Cuff," the team, along with some special guests courtesy of 'bring your child to work day,' discusses a federal district judge's order to continue processing DACA applications. Justin, Megan, and Stephen delve into the Trump administration's latest attempt to delay an Obama-era consumer protection regulation, and Stephen updates the team on the potential for a budget rescission. The team also talks about the Department of Defense's (DoD) opposition to the House Republicans' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), and the discovery that a widely-quoted student loan expert was a fictional character.

Apr 26 2018

31mins

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Rank #7: Episode 60: Budget Uncertainty, Pell Schedules, Neg Reg Previews

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about the release of Pell Grant schedules and how budget uncertainty throws a wrench into the mix. Stephen gives us details on how budget talks are progressing and whether there’s the possibility of another government shutdown. The team also talks about what to expect from the second session of negotiated rulemaking on gainful employment and how NASFAA is celebrating financial aid awareness month. Plus, Megan shares her thoughts on an unusual casting call for House of Cards.

Feb 01 2018

33mins

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Rank #8: Episode 122: Diving Into the College Affordability Act

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, Jill, and Rachel cover the ins and outs of the newly-released College Affordability Act (CAA), the House Democrats' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Jill walks the team through all the major proposed changes to Title IV aid programs, while Justin and Rachel discuss the bill's potential to move through Congress, and Allie gives an overview of reactions to the proposals. The team also discusses reported plans for Federal Student Aid to reorganize and expand its staff, as well as commentary from a well-known financial guru who recently encouraged students to pick a college they can afford — rather than shooting for their "dream school." Plus, the team wants to know: What would you do differently if no one was judging you?

Oct 17 2019

39mins

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Rank #9: Episode 78: A Live Dispatch From NASFAA's 2018 National Conference in Austin

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie come to you in a live recording from NASFAA's 2018 National Conference in Austin. For the second year in a row, the "Off The Cuff" team gathered at the National Conference to give attendees a "behind the scenes" look at what goes into creating the podcast each week. Tune in for an episode full of games, trivia (thanks to Trellis Company), and a special announcement of a brand new podcast launching this fall.

Jun 28 2018

35mins

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Rank #10: Episode 89: Everything FSA—from Verification and Perkins to Gainful Employment and PSLF

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Joelle recap the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference in Atlanta, from big news regarding changes to FAFSA verification to the delay of the recall of Perkins Loans funds. The group also discusses reaction to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ opening speech, and Justin highlights a meeting with DeVos and other Department of Education (ED) officials. The team delves into new data presented at the conference on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and discuss the presentation of a new disclosure template for the gainful employment (GE) regulations. In addition to conference news, Joelle catches the group up on an update to changes to student veterans’ housing benefits and a lawsuit related to states’ ability to regulate federal loan servicers.

Nov 29 2018

42mins

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Rank #11: Episode 83: Regular Order Returns, Default Rates Drop, ED Exodus

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie report back with the latest developments on the federal budget—which may come in on time for the first time in more than two decades. Justin explains how a policy change taking effect at the Department of Education might be forcing out some longer-serving staff, while Allie details the newest three-year cohort default rates released this week. The team also discusses NASFAA's recent strategy retreat, and which staff members are now experts at improv.

Sep 27 2018

32mins

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Rank #12: Episode 123: Financial Aid Community's Influence in Alexander's New Bill, FSA's Loss of Top Official, and 'Crazy' Debt Forgiveness

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, and Rachel discuss a new bipartisan bill introduced this week, which built on feedback from the financial aid community to find a path forward for FAFSA simplification. The team discusses and ins and outs of the bill and its chances for moving through Congress while a full Higher Education Act reauthorization appears unlikely. Plus, Federal Student Aid was in the spotlight late this week as A. Wayne Johnson, formerly the chief operating officer at FSA and currently the Department of Education’s chief strategy and transformation officer, abruptly resigned from his position and announced a run for Senate — on the platform of forgiving a significant amount of student loan debt. Calling the student loan system "fundamentally broken," Johnson's departure stands in contrast to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's recent appearance on Fox News, in which she said Democratic presidential candidates proposals for debt forgiveness were "crazy." Listen on for more, and send us your answer to our weekly listener question: What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on with no preparation?

Oct 25 2019

39mins

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Rank #13: Episode 56: Verification, Data Security, Federal Funding, and Borrower Defense Kick Off 2018

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie start by discussing hot topics of the new year, including whether schools need to report unsolicited personally identifiable information, and a likely forthcoming dip in verification numbers. Stephen walks us through what's next as Congress again works to avoid a government shutdown this month, and which policy issues might complicate the process. Plus, Allie and Justin dive into the next negotiated rulemaking session for borrower defense and what ED has proposed in draft regulatory language. The team also gives some predictions for higher education movement in 2018, and asks for listener thoughts on which issues they think will rise to the surface.

Jan 04 2018

40mins

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Rank #14: Episode 64: GOP Priorities, Budget Scramble, And End of the Road for Gainful Employment

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie talk about what's on the Republican party's list of legislative priorities for the rest of the year—and what isn't. Meanwhile, as legislators continue to work on the fiscal year 2018 budget, last-minute policy riders could derail the process and lead to another continuing resolution. Justin and Megan dive into the latest proposals for the final negotiated rulemaking session on gainful employment, and Allie discusses a new report looking at the implications of grant program consolidation. Plus, Justin wonders why someone would be stealing dozens of tubas.

Mar 08 2018

32mins

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Rank #15: Episode 77: A Deep Dive Into New Research on Financial Aid Award Letters

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This week, in an extended episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin and Megan are joined by New America's Rachel Fishman and uAspire's Laura Keane to discuss their recent research on challenges with the formatting of financial aid award letters. Rachel and Laura give a high-level description of their research, what they found, and recommendations for how institutions can make award letters more digestible for students and parents. Meanwhile, Justin and Megan share some insights from NASFAA's own research on consumer information and award letters, and how stakeholders from all sides — including students, institutions, software providers, and more — must work together to establish best practices. Next week's episode will be a live recording from NASFAA's 2018 National Conference — we hope to see you all in Austin!

Jun 20 2018

43mins

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Rank #16: Episode 115: Budget Deal, Dream Center Controversy, and State Authorization Challenges

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This week on "Off The Cuff," in an extended episode to wrap up the season, Justin, Megan, Stephen, Allie, and NASFAA Policy Analyst Jill Desjean discuss the outstanding questions with the Department of Education's recent announcement that the 2016 final rules on state authorization took effect—by court order—on May 26, 2019, and that California specifically does not meet the regulatory requirements in the final rules for students enrolled in distance education or correspondence programs. Skip ahead to 27:50 to jump right into the discussion. The team this week also examined the details of Congress' recent budget deal and its implications for student aid, and an article from The New York Times that puts into question ED's involvement in the collapse of the Dream Center-held for-profit institutions. This was also the last episode for Stephen, and the last (for a few months) for Megan—share your comments, questions, and well wishes using our feedback form!

Jul 25 2019

45mins

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Rank #17: Episode 66: All About the Money – Breaking Down the Omnibus Spending Bill

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This week on "Off The Cuff," the team digs into the details of the much-anticipated omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2018, which included some surprising wins for student aid, such as a $175 boost to the maximum Pell Grant award. Justin, Megan, and Stephen talked about what we know and don't know about an immediate fix for schools looking to share FAFSA data with authorized scholarship providers. Despite the victories, the bill caused some drama among lawmakers on the House floor Thursday afternoon. The team also gave a rundown of the recent in-person convening for the Higher Education Committee of 50, or the Forward50, and where the group's work will be moving in the coming months.

Mar 22 2018

37mins

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Rank #18: Episode 53: ED Unveils Mobile FAFSA Proposal, House Tackles HEA, And Gainful Employment Negotiations Kick Off

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This week, on an extended episode of "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, and Allie go over the biggest announcements coming out of FSA's Training Conference in Orlando. The team also discusses news that House Republicans may soon release a sweeping reauthorization bill for the Higher Education Act, and what changes might be included in the bill. Justin shares his experience testifying at a Senate education committee hearing on simplifying the FAFSA and what direction senators might take in their own reauthorization bill. Plus, negotiated rulemaking for gainful employment kicks off next week – Justin, Megan, and Allie dive into what issues might come up during this first session.

Nov 30 2017

44mins

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Rank #19: Episode 106: School Closures, Sweeping Debt Proposals, and the Bennett Hypothesis

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Stephen, and Allie analyze the discussion from a recent policy event in Washington during which a senior Department of Education official weighed in on school closures and how the triad can work to improve the process. The group discusses new developments in the 2020 presidential election, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) student debt and free college proposal that had the higher education community buzzing. Megan also fills us in on new research that challenges the strength of the Bennett Hypothesis with regard to Grad PLUS loans. Plus, tune in to hear which sudden DC restaurant closure has some in the NASFAA office panicking. Skip to 7:45 to get straight to the policy discussion.

Apr 26 2019

42mins

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Rank #20: Episode 85: Borrower Defense, Payment Pilot, and Verification at Federal Student Aid

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin and Allie recap the latest news from the last few weeks, including a turn of events in legal challenges to the Obama-era borrower defense regulations, which officially went into effect this week. Justin goes over the details of the Department of Education's public solicitation for a third party to develop a pilot program to help students receive their Title IV credit balances via a mobile app, while Allie gives the highlights of the College Board's most recent trends reports. Justin discusses issues schools have brought forward related to verification, and Allie explains a group of lawmakers' calls for more information on PSLF. Plus, listen to the end to hear what Justin and Allie's presidential campaign slogans would be—and share yours with us!

Oct 18 2018

38mins

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Episode 133: Guidance on the FAFSA, a Price Tag for HEA, and Teachers Sue Over Gainful Employment

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Rachel, and Allie pick a winner of NASFAA’s activity challenge before diving into an article from Today’s News about whether institutions need a signed statement to update degree level on the FAFSA. At 13:26, NASFAA’s AskRegs Manager David Futrell joins to group to discuss guidance from the Department of Education and detail NASFAA’s efforts on the issue. At 18:31, Rachel talks about new cost predictions for the Democrats’ bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and at 23:38 Megan delves into a lawsuit teachers are bringing against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for rescinding gainful employment regulations. At 26:27, Allie discusses presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) peculiar plan for her first 100 days in office, and the group wants to know: When did you begin to feel like you made the transition into adulthood? Plus, don’t forget to demonstrate on social media how you are getting moving for NASFAA’s activity challenge.

Jan 23 2020

37mins

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Episode 132: Warren’s Debt Relief, the Presidential Debate, and a Hurdle for Borrower Defense

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie pick a winner from last week’s activity challenge before diving into presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) newest plan for canceling student debt, which would bypass Congress to forgive the loans of 95% of borrowers. At 5:51, Jill discusses the implications of Warren’s proposal, and at 15:52 Justin delves into a recent study about massive debt forgiveness and its potentially positive impact on the economy. At 19:53, the team unpacks different proposals for national free college mentioned during the most recent Democratic presidential debate, and at 25:07 Megan talks about forward movement in the House to pass a resolution to block the Trump administration’s rewritten borrower defense regulations. Plus, the group asks its listeners to share their latest and greatest life hacks and to demonstrate on social media how they are getting moving this week for the chance to win a prize next week for NASFAA’s activity challenge.

Jan 16 2020

39mins

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Episode 131: 2020 Budget Recap, FAFSA Army Confusion, and New Data on Student Debt

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Rachel, and Allie delve into funding for financial aid programs included in the fiscal year 2020 budget that passed late last month. At 10:36, Rachel discusses provisions that both excited and surprised the higher education community, such as one to allow students to pay down their student debt using money from their 529 savings accounts. At 14:57, Megan talks about confusion that erupted on Twitter as some questioned whether filing the FAFSA would put them at risk to be drafted into the military, and at 17:59 Allie breaks down new data coming out of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) on outstanding student loan debt and its progress reviewing applications for borrower defense and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Plus, to kick off the new year, the “Off The Cuff” team is inviting its listeners to participate in a three-week fitness challenge for the chance to win awesome podcast swag — check out the workout schedule in the show notes for more details.

Jan 09 2020

36mins

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Episode 130: Does DeVos’ New Calculation for Partial Debt Relief Add Up?

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In this special episode of “Off The Cuff,” NASFAA President Justin Draeger sits down with Ben Miller of the Center for American Progress (CAP) to dissect Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ new methodology for calculating partial debt relief for student borrowers. Earlier this month, DeVos announced that she would begin awarding loan forgiveness on a sliding scale by comparing the median earnings of graduates with borrower defense claims to the median earnings of graduates in comparable programs. The higher education community was quick to denounce her calculations for what appeared to be faulty math, which was also highlighted in a recent hearing she appeared in on pending borrower defense cases. In the interview, Ben digs into the complications inherent in partial debt relief and questions DeVos’ claim that it protects taxpayer integrity, and explains why a borrower may need to report negative earnings to qualify for full debt relief under the new plan. “Off The Cuff” will return to its regularly-scheduled content after the holidays!

Dec 19 2019

37mins

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Episode 129: DeVos Takes the Stand for Borrower Defense and the FUTURE Act Advances

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie delve into a House hearing featuring Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on the status of outstanding borrower defense cases. First, at 7:45, Allie recaps a new methodology DeVos announced this week for calculating partial relief for students seeking forgiveness under the regulations, and why higher education experts were quick to denounce it. Following a discussion about DeVos’ new plans and testimony on the Hill, at 28:16 Megan shares promising news about the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. Finally, at 34:57 Jill dives into proposed rules for the TEACH Grant program and faith-based entities for which the Department of Education (ED) is seeking public comment. Plus, the team poses a new question to listeners: What is the one luxury that you indulge in once in a while? Tune in next week for a special episode in which Justin dives into DeVos’ new methodology for debt relief with Ben Miller of the Center for American Progress.

Dec 12 2019

45mins

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Episode 128: All Things FSA and Movement on the FUTURE Act

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Megan, Jill, and Allie discuss financial aid developments coming out of Reno, Nevada, at the annual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference. First, at 10:50, Allie talks about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ suggestion that FSA should be a stand-alone agency. At 20:55, Jill delves into new data released during the conference showing less FAFSA applications selected for verification due to new technology, and recaps a session focused on a possible federal income-share agreement experiment. And at 35:43, Megan talks about a Senate-amended version of the House-passed Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which would provide $255 million in permanent, annual mandatory funding to Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and simplify the financial aid application, verification, and student loan repayment process. Plus, the team poses a new question to listeners: What would be your ideal location for an FSA Conference?

Dec 05 2019

45mins

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Episode 127: A Deep Dive Into NACAC’s Code of Ethics Changes

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In this special episode of “Off The Cuff,” NASFAA President Justin Draeger talks about recent changes to the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) code of ethics with Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University. The changes come amid an investigation from the Department of Justice into the group’s possible violations of laws related to restricting competition. In September, delegates voted to strip provisions that previously prohibited colleges and universities from recruiting students already enrolled at other universities, offering incentives to students to apply early decision, and soliciting transfer applications from previous years. In the interview, Jon tackles outstanding questions, such as what impact these new rules will have on students weighing their options for higher education and institutions attempting to fill seats and balance their budgets for the upcoming school year, among other unintended consequences. Plus, Justin and Jon discuss which types of students the new rules will have the greatest effect on, and how that plays into college access and financial aid. "Off The Cuff" will return to its regularly-scheduled content after Thanksgiving with a new episode!

Nov 21 2019

30mins

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Episode 126: DACA Heads to the Supreme Court

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Megan rejoins the team as they discuss the latest news on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week. First, at 2:25, Allie, Rachel, and Megan discuss member feedback from the previous episode. At 6:37, Megan dives into the details of the DACA case and three possible outcomes for the program's future. Rachel brings everyone up to speed on the federal budget process at 15:20, as lawmakers approach another deadline on November 20. And at 19:27, Allie explains news out of the Department of Education, as the agency announced Friday it would forgive the student loan debt and restore Pell Grant eligibility for more than 1,500 former students who attended certain Dream Center institutions. Plus, the team poses a new question to listeners: What strange superstitions or rituals do you perform on a regular basis?

Nov 14 2019

32mins

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Episode 125: Higher Ed Speaks Out on Foreign Gifts Reporting Guidance, While ED Revises Standard Term Lengths

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This week on "Off The Cuff," the team dives into a number of issues, including a recent community letter from more than two dozen higher education organizations calling into question the Department of Education's recent guidance on foreign gifts reporting. First, Allie gives a group a rundown of feedback from last week's episode, as members shared the most embarrassing ways they've been injured. At 5:23, Justin shares his experience on a recent trip to California for the CASFAA conference before heading to Las Vegas (7:20) for NASFAA's Board of Directors meeting. At 8:30, Rachel covers the background of the federal foreign gifts reporting requirement and why some institutions have come under fire by ED, while Justin expands on the community letter NASFAA joined 29 other organizations in submitting. At 17:28, Jill examines the final regulations on accreditation and state authorization and how the changes — including new disclosure requirements — will impact institutions. At 24:09, Justin and Jill cover more guidance from ED on revisions to standard term lengths, before the team poses a new listener question for the week: Do you think it's OK to decorate for the holidays before Thanksgiving?

Nov 08 2019

37mins

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Episode 124: House Education Committee and NCAA Make Policy Strides

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This week on the Halloween episode of “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Allie, Rachel, and Joelle discuss their holiday plans, and Allie spooks the group by almost spoiling a major plot twist in a TV show everyone is in the midst of binge-watching. Rachel and Joelle detail a three-day hearing in which the House Committee on Education and Labor voted to move Democrats' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act to the floor for a full vote, and the group delves into the shocking and disappointing amendments that lawmakers introduced. Allie talks about plans from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to potentially allow athletes to benefit from the use of their name or likeness, and what implications that income could have on their eligibility for financial aid. Listen on, and send us your answer to our weekly listener question: What is the most embarrassing way you’ve been injured? Skip to 10:11 to head straight to the policy discussion.

Oct 31 2019

40mins

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Episode 123: Financial Aid Community's Influence in Alexander's New Bill, FSA's Loss of Top Official, and 'Crazy' Debt Forgiveness

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, and Rachel discuss a new bipartisan bill introduced this week, which built on feedback from the financial aid community to find a path forward for FAFSA simplification. The team discusses and ins and outs of the bill and its chances for moving through Congress while a full Higher Education Act reauthorization appears unlikely. Plus, Federal Student Aid was in the spotlight late this week as A. Wayne Johnson, formerly the chief operating officer at FSA and currently the Department of Education’s chief strategy and transformation officer, abruptly resigned from his position and announced a run for Senate — on the platform of forgiving a significant amount of student loan debt. Calling the student loan system "fundamentally broken," Johnson's departure stands in contrast to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's recent appearance on Fox News, in which she said Democratic presidential candidates proposals for debt forgiveness were "crazy." Listen on for more, and send us your answer to our weekly listener question: What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on with no preparation?

Oct 25 2019

39mins

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Episode 122: Diving Into the College Affordability Act

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, Jill, and Rachel cover the ins and outs of the newly-released College Affordability Act (CAA), the House Democrats' bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Jill walks the team through all the major proposed changes to Title IV aid programs, while Justin and Rachel discuss the bill's potential to move through Congress, and Allie gives an overview of reactions to the proposals. The team also discusses reported plans for Federal Student Aid to reorganize and expand its staff, as well as commentary from a well-known financial guru who recently encouraged students to pick a college they can afford — rather than shooting for their "dream school." Plus, the team wants to know: What would you do differently if no one was judging you?

Oct 17 2019

39mins

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Episode 121: Biden Pushes Pell in Higher Ed Platform, Judge Rebukes DeVos, and ED Drops New Borrower Defense, PSLF Data

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Erin, and Allie dive into former Vice President Joe Biden's higher education platform, which proposes among other things doubling the maximum Pell Grant award, overhauling income-driven repayment, and restructuring the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Justin discusses news that a federal judge weighed publicly the idea of taking action against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos through sanctions or holding her in contempt for violating a previous court order to halt debt collection on former Corinthian Colleges students. Allie gives an overview of the latest quarterly data from Federal Student Aid, which showed the processing of borrower defense claims remained at a standstill as of June, and Erin examines the findings from an American Enterprise Institute report that claims loan servicers may not be entirely at fault when it comes to complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Plus, the team wants to know: Do you have favorite kitchen items (like a "bacon plate" or "potato drawer") that you use only for specific purposes? Skip to 7:10 to get straight to member feedback and the policy discussion.

Oct 10 2019

40mins

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Episode 120: NACAC and Harvard Take on College Admissions, and Financial Aid Hears Wedding Bells

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Erin, Rachel, and Joelle jump into the text of a scaled-back Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill and how it aligns with NASFAA’s priorities. Justin discusses recent changes to the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) code of conduct that would change the way institutions compete for students, and Joelle catches the group up on the latest developments in a case climbing through the courts involving Harvard’s affirmative action policy. Erin talks about a slew of student debt relief scams plaguing borrowers, and the team delves into a story about a woman who got married at 19 to change her dependency status on the FAFSA. Plus, the group poses a new listener question: If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be? Skip to 8:40 to get straight to the policy discussion.

Oct 03 2019

41mins

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Episode 119: Impeachment, Default Rates, and Reforming Remedial Education

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Joelle, and Erin celebrate the podcast’s  three year anniversary before diving into impeachment and what that means for student aid. Erin catches the group up on the recently released national cohort default rate — and why it is not the best measure of institutional success — and Joelle details a court filing revealing that the Department of Education erroneously collected on former Corinthian students’ loans. Justin delves into an opinion article about reforming remedial education, and questions the group about whether success in life is due more to one’s luck or skill. Plus, the team poses a new question for our listeners: what was your favorite birthday?

Sep 27 2019

39mins

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Episode 118: A Skinny HEA, Senate Education Funding, and PSLF Take the Floor

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This week on “Off The Cuff,” Justin, Rachel, Jill, Erin, and Joelle discuss the possibility of a scaled back Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill, and legislation to improve institutions' award offer forms. Rachel catches the group up on the Senate’s fiscal year 2020 bill to fund education programs and how it differs from the House’s proposal, and Justin and Jill delve into a hearing on implementation issues within the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Joelle also discusses breaking news involving unsealed documents from a court case against a federal loan servicer, and the team poses a new listener question (and shares their own experiences): What’s the best and/or worst career advice you’ve ever received?

Sep 19 2019

40mins

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Episode 117: College Admissions Scandal Goes Primetime, While Borrower Defense, PSLF, Loan Servicing Make a Splash

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin, Allie, Jill, and Rachel catch up on the latest news with the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, which includes an upcoming Lifetime movie event. Jill breaks down the details of the Department of Education's final draft of the College Financing Plan and how it differs from the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, while Rachel debriefs us on a congressional hearing focused on student loan servicing. Allie dives into the latest news with outcomes for the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and Justin and Rachel break down progress with the federal budget. Plus, the team shares their best productivity hacks, and poses a new question to listeners: What is the best cupcake flavor?

Sep 12 2019

44mins

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Special Episode: How Has Mandating the FAFSA Played Out in Louisiana?

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In a special episode of "Off The Cuff," NASFAA President Justin Draeger interviews Ken Bradford of the Louisiana Department of Education. The state of Louisiana has in recent years garnered additional attention in the K-12 and higher education communities for requiring high school seniors to complete the FAFSA in order to graduate, as part of a larger financial aid planning requirement. Bradford, the assistant superintendent in the Office of Student Opportunities, shares in the interview how the state Department of Education brought together several stakeholders to develop a plan and provide the necessary support for students and families before implementing the requirement. Listen on to hear more of Ken's insights on outcomes from the first two years with the requirement in place, solutions for unique student circumstances, and advice for other states considering making a similar move. "Off The Cuff" will return to its regularly-scheduled content this Friday with a new episode!

Sep 09 2019

11mins

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Episode 116: School Is Back in Session

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This week on "Off The Cuff," Justin is joined by some familiar NASFAA guests, such as Joelle and Jill, and some new voices from NASFAA, like Director of Communications Erin Powers and Assistant Director of Federal Relations Rachel Gentry, as the podcast returns from a summer hiatus with plenty of updates from August. The group looks back at news that broke over the summer involving legal guardianship, and the controversy surrounding the newest employee at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Rachel catches the group up on the president’s two-year budget deal, and discusses what’s coming down the road as lawmakers in the House and Senate work to pass their spending bills and reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). Plus, keep an eye out for a special edition of “Off The Cuff” in which Justin discusses Louisiana’s efforts to require that all high schoolers complete the FAFSA to graduate.

Sep 03 2019

43mins

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Episode 115: Budget Deal, Dream Center Controversy, and State Authorization Challenges

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This week on "Off The Cuff," in an extended episode to wrap up the season, Justin, Megan, Stephen, Allie, and NASFAA Policy Analyst Jill Desjean discuss the outstanding questions with the Department of Education's recent announcement that the 2016 final rules on state authorization took effect—by court order—on May 26, 2019, and that California specifically does not meet the regulatory requirements in the final rules for students enrolled in distance education or correspondence programs. Skip ahead to 27:50 to jump right into the discussion. The team this week also examined the details of Congress' recent budget deal and its implications for student aid, and an article from The New York Times that puts into question ED's involvement in the collapse of the Dream Center-held for-profit institutions. This was also the last episode for Stephen, and the last (for a few months) for Megan—share your comments, questions, and well wishes using our feedback form!

Jul 25 2019

45mins

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iTunes Ratings

34 Ratings
Average Ratings
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Awesome addition

By CayGoob - Aug 03 2019
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I have worked in student finance for almost 14 years. The Podcast is a great addition towards learning what is happening today in the student finance world when we all do not have the time to read. This truly feels like I am just joining the table for a colleague conversation.

Student Aid Policy Wonks Unite!

By badassbaker - Jul 20 2017
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Super wonky good stuff for financial aid administrators. Love it!