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SA Weekly: January 27

Civic Engagement Financial Wellness Policy and Advocacy
January 27, 2020 Maya Ward-Fineman NASPA

Welcome to SA Weekly, your destination for higher ed news, NASPA research and policy, constituent blogs, and more. 

Muddied Picture for Defrauded Borrowers “Betsy DeVos has sought to make it more difficult for defrauded student loan borrowers to get full debt relief with an approach that is facing political and legal challenges.”

Effects of SNAP Changes “Upcoming changes to eligibility requirements for federal food stamps could further restrict a process that already confounds the most needy college students.”

Preparing for Coronavirus “Students at several U.S. universities are tested for possible cases of a novel coronavirus. Experts weigh in on how colleges can prepare for the virus.”

Iranian Student Denied Entry to U.S. “The student was bound for study at Northeastern University but was sent back after arriving in Boston. He's the latest in what experts say has been a troubling number of cases of Iranians being turned back despite having valid student visas.”

‘Getting Out the Count’ “The 2020 Census is approaching, and civic engagement leaders on college campuses are reaching out to students to encourage participation and remove potential barriers.” 

Many Nonprofit College Programs Would Fail Gainful Test “Data in a new online tool raise questions about how well public and nonprofit colleges and universities are doing in helping students earn enough to repay their debt.” 

Myth Busted: Turns Out Bankruptcy Can Wipe Out Student Loan Debt After All “Many Americans who get overwhelmed by student loan debt are told student debt can't be erased through bankruptcy. Now more judges and lawyers say that's a myth and bankruptcy can help.”


Policy Update

NASPA Releases Research Report on Support Services for Respondents in Sexual Misconduct Cases

The goal of the study was to assess the prevalence of respondent services on campuses, the institutional positionality of those services, and how those support services operate. The report outlines the broad range of services that are currently provided to responding parties in these cases, as well as how those services compare to the services provided to reporting parties. Of the more than 200 institutions that responded to the survey, 99% of them indicated that they were providing respondent support services in some form. Another 87% indicated that all of the support services they offer to the responding party are also available to the reporting party. 


Hoops and Hurdles of Financial Aid by Alexa Wesley, Associate Director for Research and Policy, NASPA 


Hill Days Participant Reflections

Student affairs professionals play an essential role in shaping higher education public policy. 2019 NASPA Hill Days share reflections on their experiences and encourage all student affairs professionals to get involved.

We Connected, We Shared Knowledge, We Advocated by Lauren Healy, University of Maryland, College Park

An Opportunity of a Lifetime by Jamal Mazyck, San Francisco State University


Relevant Bills

Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 3621 (116))

Sponsor: Rep. Pressley, Ayanna [D-MA-7] (Introduced 07/05/2019)

Summary: This bill prohibits a consumer reporting agency from furnishing a consumer report containing any adverse item of information relating to a delinquent or defaulted private education loan of a borrower who has a specified demonstrated history of loan repayment.

The House will vote on a package of bills related to consumer credit reporting, including the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act, this week. The bill will extend consumer protections currently afforded borrowers under the federal loan programs to the private loan market. The bill will be considered by the House Rules Committee on Monday, 1/27/2020. Among the proposed amendments is a GAO study of rehabilitation of private student loans by military servicemembers and veterans.


Press ReleaseSecretary DeVos Announces New, Proactive Civil Rights Compliance Center within Office for Civil Rights by the Department of Education on January 21, 2020

Summary from the press release: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education will launch the Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center to focus on proactive compliance with federal civil rights laws. The OPEN Center will provide assistance and support to schools, educators, families, and students to ensure better awareness of the requirements and protections of federal non-discrimination laws.”


H.J. Resolution 76 Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to “Borrower Defense Institutional Accountability”

Sponsor: Rep. Lee, Susie [D-NV-3] (Introduced 09/26/2019)

The House passed a joint resolution on January 16, 2020 under the Congressional Review Act to block implementation of Secretary DeVos’s new borrower defense rule; six Republican Members voted in favor of the measure, including a new Member from NJ who is likely to gain a seat on the House Ed & Labor Committee.


Relevant Regulations

Press Release: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Announces Proposed Rule Regarding Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Education Institutions, Provides Updated School Prayer Guidance by the Department of Education on January 16, 2020


Want to submit comments of your own? Check out NASPA’s Q&A on submitting public comments


Around NASPA

The Self-Sufficiency of Youth in Care Can Hurt Them in College by David Meyers and Kim Skobba, Socioeconomic and Class Issues in Higher Education Knowledge Community

One Way to Publish as a Practitioner: Blogging! by Lola Banks, Orientation, Transition and Retention Knowledge Community