University Business - November 2008 - (Page 30)

MONEY M AT T E R S What the impact of this new legislation will be for financial aid offices HEOA and the Life of an Aid Officer By Kathy Kurz, Jim Scannell, and Samantha Veeder O N AUGUST 14, 2008, LIFE as financial aid officers knew it changed drastically. at day, President Bush signed the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) into law, setting into motion many changes that will directly affect operations in the financial aid office as well as operations in other offices on campus. e law touches just about every office on campus, including admissions, athletics, bookstore, campus security, career services, disability services, registrar, student activities, veterans’ affairs, and academic areas. Heather McDonnell, director of Financial Aid at Sarah Lawrence College (N.Y.), summarizes the far-reaching impact of the new law. “Once again, financial aid is the catcher for all the higher education concerns of the U.S. Congress. So much of my time is devoted to tracking compliance with campus offices that have absolutely nothing to do with getting students the resources they need to succeed at being college students,” she says. Certainly, coordination among various offices will be critical to ensure that compliance with the regulations and eligibility for Title IV financial aid remains intact. For some higher ed institutions, a committee approach may be best for understanding the law and establishing an action plan for compliance. At other IHEs, these efforts may be left to a single person to coordinate (aid directors, this means you!). Financial aid directors have a clear “front and center” role, regardless of the approach. Whether they are new to the profession or are veteran aid administrators, and regardless Will increased student access and affordability ultimately be achieved? This remains to be seen. of institution type (public vs. private, nonprofit vs. for-profit, four-year vs. two-year), these administrators are being called to exercise extraordinary leadership. Although negotiated rulemaking, specific guidance, and interpretation will take some time, organizations such as the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and the American Council on Education (ACE) have already begun to provide training sessions and reference documents. ese actions will continue throughout the fall as many state and regional associations conduct their annual conferences and workshops. Our advice: Get involved! Get educated! Get ahead! INCREASED BURDEN Initial reaction to the signing of the HEOA is a mixed bag. e regulations include burdensome new reporting and disclosure requirements, attempts to simplify the financial aid application process, provisions to provide transparency of col- lege costs and net price, and attempts to address issues in student lending. However, while the legislation includes provisions to increase the Pell Grant and provide loan forgiveness programs, Congress must complete a separate process in order to appropriate funding to support such initiatives. Consequently, whether or not increased student access and affordability will ultimately be achieved remains to be seen. As Kristi Jovell, director of financial aid at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, notes, “ e inclusion in the HEOA of several programs providing loan forgiveness for public interest lawyers is exciting for me as director of financial aid at a law school committed to assisting our students who pursue public service careers. Admittedly, these provisions will be more exciting if the programs actually receive funding.” NEW REQUIREMENTS Below is just a sampling of some of the new disclosure and reporting requirements that fall within the scope of several offices on campus and must be provided to the Department of Education, current and prospective students, and student loan borrowers. • Textbook costs. Schools must disclose required textbook information, such as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail prices. • Federal code of conduct. Each year schools must inform all employees who have responsibilities relating to student loans about the information contained in a new federal code of conduct. 30 | November 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - November 2008

University Business - November 2008
Editor's Note
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Behind the News
Sense of Place
Human Resources
Financial Aid
Money Matters
Community Colleges
Expansion, without the Red Tape
Coming to You by Video
Challenging Authority
Road Tour
What's New
End Note

University Business - November 2008