PASFAA’s Government Relations Committee recently drafted policy positions for several key issues regarding financial aid in higher education. If you have not done so already, you can read the positions here. The Committee is interested in hearing from members regarding the positions we have taken and what other positions you think PASFAA should take.
I’m glad to see PASFAA’s positions posted on the site. I suggest we change the “Stafford Loan” heading to either note “Federal Direct Stafford Loan” or some explanation of the different naming conventions for this loan type. Institutions are using a variety of naming conventions, and simply calling them “Stafford Loans” could be confusing for individuals who are less familiar with the federal loan program.
In regards to the Federal PLUS Loans, instead of giving borrowers the option of applying for the maximum amount, they should be asked to specify an amount. This, I believe, would not only encourage/force parents to actually consider how much they want and need to borrow but, more importantly, to reduce their indebtedness and loan defaults.
I agree with the general recommendations, although they do lack specificity, which I think is intentional and not an oversight. I’m unsure of our position on FAFSA data methodology, as it was listed as a topic requiring follow-up. Perhaps more details should be provided to membership. Also, I am unsure why no recommendations are being provided on Campus Based Programs, particularly FWS. Perhaps, because many PA schools enjoy the benefits of the base guarantees due to earlier participation in the programs, PASFAA did not want to address equity funding across the board. However, I think we should be concerned about attempts to reduce funding for FSEOG and FWS. FWS really is the only federal aid program where students have real time shin in the game. Just think of how many of our members participated in the program as students.
In regards to the PLUS application amounts, that is a good one. I have brought this suggestion to the Feds at the “Open Forum” at the FSA conference-pre Covid 19. The panel did like the idea, but we have yet to see this implemented. Another suggestion would be to have a PLUS fee calculator as well to help parents pick a correct amount.
Thanks for the input. Your comments on FASFA methodology and FWS are something we will make sure to discuss at our next meeting to see if we are able to provide more details on our position. Is there anything specific that you were looking for in the positions that were already posted as well?