The Sequestration Blues (cue guitar)

“I’ve been hearing news about these sequestration cuts.

Yeah, I’ve been hearing news about these sequestration cuts.

Sounds like I’ll hear final numbers within the next..few…weeks.”

 

Just got off the phone with the folks at NASFAA where the talk was all about exactly when we would be hearing final numbers on sequestration.  Below is the skinny:

1)      Campus Based Aid – Now that the final budget numbers are nailed down for 13-14, the Department is busy crunching out your final allocation numbers for SEOG and FWS.  The word on the street is that you will be receiving your final allocation letter in the “near future.”  Translate, “very soon.”

2)      Origination Fee Guidance – A lot of people are nervous about how exactly this cut will be implemented.  The Department is aware that this particular cut creates system issues for many folks and we JUST received word that guidance on implementing will be posted to IFAP by the end of the week.  Keep an eye out.

3)      TEACH – Guidance has already been received that a 12.6% cut applies to any TEACH grants having their FIRST disbursement after 3/1/13.  If you have a TEACH grant that qualifies for the cut – the cut also applies to each and every disbursement following the first disbursement.

4)      IASG – Again, guidance has already been received that a 37.8% cut applies to any IASG grant having its FIRST disbursement after 3/1/13.  If you have an IASG grant that qualifies for the cut – the cut also applies to each and every disbursement following the first disbursement.

 

In other news:

NASFAA released the final report on the consumer research of the Shopping Sheet.  It’s called:  “No Clear Winner: Consumer Testing of Financial Aid Award Letters – Summary & Report”  I highly recommend reading it.  It will give you peace and comfort in a time of turmoil.  The report contains the questionnaire and focus group protocol used by the researchers should you care to repeat the experiment on your own campuses.  http://www.nasfaa.org/advocacy/award-letter/No_Clear_Winner__Consumer_Testing_of_Financial_Aid_Award_Letters_-_Summary___Report.aspx 

 

Congress has beat the President to the punch and already released their 13-14 budget ideas.  Typically, the President’s budget is the one to kick off the process – and his is scheduled to be released on April 15.  Keep in mind as you hear the news over the next few days that this process is just the beginning and is primarily concerned with high level, policy ideas as opposed to actual numbers and detail.  This process kicks off the appropriations process which then decides the nitty gritty details of how to put all the “ideas” into place for the next year.  To brush up on how the federal budget process works, I recommend reading Appendix B of NASFAA’s recently released Federal Relations Toolkit:  http://www.nasfaa.org/EntrancePDF.aspx?id=13546  This is a membership only document so you will need your NASFAA password to access the content.

 

Word on the street says that DOE has incorporated some of the entrance counseling items into their Financial Aid Awareness counseling tool.  It would appear that they are beginning steps to merge the two tools into one, comprehensive entrance counseling tool.  What do you think about that?  Have you gone out to www.studentloans.gov recently to try it out?  What are you hearing from your students?  Inquiring minds want to know….send me an email or call me with your thoughts.  Brenda.hicks@sckans.edu  620-229-6387.

 

For those of you in Utah and Montana – I’ll see you in a few short weeks at your conference.  Please come say hello, I’d love to chat.

 

Brenda Hicks

RMASFAA Past President

 

Brenda Hicks

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