Updates from NASFAA Legislative Conference

Updates from NASFAA Legislative Conference

David Lucci and I had the honor of representing CAFAA at the NASFAA Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. We were joined by our esteemed Colorado colleagues, Barbara Marshall (CU Boulder) and Theresa Lavin (CCD). During this conference we were able to meet with the Legislative Aides to Senator Michael Bennet and Congressman Jared Polis. As you see from the picture, we got to meet Senator Cory Gardner in person to voice our concerns regarding the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The issues that we hit upon were:

  • Within the proposed PROSPER Act, how the following would affect students at our respective institutions:
    • Elimination of FSEOG in the “one grant” solution
    • Elimination of the subsidized loan in the “one loan” solution
    • Protection for DACA and Dreamer students
    • Elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program

We received very positive responses from everyone that we met with. Saving financial aid programs is high priority for each congressman but, each has a different spin on how to tackle specific issues.

Jared Polis

  • Polis is not in favor of the PROSPER Act as there are too many factors that would affect current and future students.
  • He is in favor of simplifying income-based repayment and saving PSLF.
  • His focus is on the stories behind the college student struggle and triumph. He would like to collect more stories from colleges in Colorado to share with Congress.
    • If your school has a story to share, you may send this to me to forward on to his D.C. office.

Michael Bennet

  • Bennet is a former superintendent of K-12 schools in Colorado. Education is close to his heart and resonates in his agenda.
  • He is concerned about coming to a bipartisan decision as Republicans need to be on board with a plan for it to pass.
    • His proposed compromise is to eliminate subsidized loans and put this money into campus-based funding.

Cory Gardner

  • Gardner has worked closely with Senator Bennet and other democrats on bipartisan solutions to a myriad of issues.
    • Most notably, in January of 2018, he worked with a bipartisan group of Senators (including Bennet) to save the DACA program. However, this proposal did not get enough support to go to the Senate floor for a vote.
  • Although he is open to bipartisan concessions in saving federal funding, he is in favor of less federal oversight and more state funding and oversight.

There are many conversations happening at the federal level about the future of financial aid. I encourage all members to visit the website of our Senators, Bennet and Gardner, as well as the Representative for your district. CAFAA will continue these conversations and keep everyone informed of changes.

Get Involved

Now is the time to get involved! If you would like to be a part of the conversation, please consider volunteering for CAFAA in any way that you can. We have varying levels of commitment that can fit your schedule. The volunteer form can be found at cafaa.org/volunteer/.

Natascha Ambrose
Associate Director
University of Northern Colorado
CAFAA President-Elect