Enrollment and Financial Aid

Is it OK to share a student’s financial aid information within your institution, with government agencies, or with scholarship providers? In January 2017, the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, issued guidance addressing the use student financial aid information. This guidance focuses on the limited ways educational institutions can permissibly use student financial aid information and includes more than two pages of “frequently asked questions” for colleges and universities. Continue Reading Financial Aid Data and Student Privacy: Beyond FERPA

Last month, the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), led by Executive Director Ramogi Huma, unveiled the College Athletic Protection (CAP) Agreement at a National Basketball Players Association’s camp held at the University of Virginia for the nation’s top 100 rising high school senior basketball players. CAPA and Huma previously led unsuccessful attempts for student-athlete unionization. The agreement would be the first-ever legally binding contract between a prospective college athlete and the university an athlete ultimately elects to attend. Continue Reading Elevated Scholarship Bargaining Power for Student-Athletes on the Horizon for Collegiate Athletic Departments

hands-in-students-group-iStock-618545752School’s out for summer, giving many 2017 high school graduates two and a half months of eager anticipation of their first year of higher education. But many foster youth lacking the financial support or resources to make a college degree obtainable won’t get that opportunity. A majority of states are calling on their—public and, sometimes, private—institutions of higher education to help change that. Continue Reading States tag colleges and universities to support foster youth

Many People Hands Holding Red Word Asap Blue SkySatisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy problems consistently make the U.S. Department of Education’s List of Top 10 common—and often expensive—Federal Student Aid program review findings. In short, under-developed SAP policies can lead colleges and universities to award Federal Student Aid funds to ineligible students—funds those schools must ultimately return to the Department. Findings related to SAP can even contribute to ending a school’s Federal Student Aid participation.

But there’s good news! Even if you don’t work in the financial aid office, it’s (fairly) easy to ensure your SAP policy includes required elements. Continue Reading Check SAP policies ASAP! Quick steps to progress and liability prevention

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector released a new guide for independent auditors evaluating Title IV Federal Student Aid compliance by proprietary (for-profit) colleges and universities. The guide places several audit categories under standards more akin to the Federal Student Aid program review process than to traditional independent audits. Could non-profits be next? Continue Reading Department of Education demands intense independent Financial Aid audits

JOSEPH SOHM VISIONS OF AMERICA © 1999 PHOTOSPIN www.photospin.comOn June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that challenged the University’s consideration of race in its undergraduate admissions process. The Court upheld the University’s admissions process, holding that affirmative action remains constitutional within certain limits. Continue Reading Not So Fast: Supreme Court finally rules on affirmative action after second consideration of Fisher v. University of Texas


voterButtons164651635Colleges and universities are required to make voter registration forms widely available to students.

As a condition of participating in Title IV Federal Student Aid programs, postsecondary institutions must make good-faith efforts to:

  • distribute voter registration forms to
  • all on-campus students
  • enrolled in their degree or certificate programs.

Continue Reading Raise Your Voice: Resources for campus voter registration requirements

student106351302New federal regulations released March 11, 2016, extend the time that foreign national students who graduate in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) fields may work in the U.S. before seeking employer-sponsored work authorization. The regulations, meant to attract high-demand talent to the U.S., impose additional reporting requirements on colleges and universities seeking to attract foreign students. And employers of these STEM students must implement a formal training plan that identifies learning objectives and a plan for achieving them. Continue Reading New regulations extend work authorization of STEM foreign national students

dollar-signiStock_000013001848_LargeSome colleges and universities, eager to save their student workers from tax liability and avoid additional payroll charges, may compensate student workers by providing them “scholarships” or “account credits” that directly reduce charges for tuition, books, fees, and room and board.  While well-intentioned, these practices may be rooted in a misunderstanding of the federal tax exemption for “qualified scholarships” and risk significant unpaid tax liability for students and penalties for the institution itself. Scholarships paid to students for performing work are generally taxable and may even constitute hidden wages that should be reported on W-2s. Continue Reading Paying student workers with ‘scholarships’ doesn’t usually avoid tax liability

Boxing glovesOn Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear for a second time Abigail Fisher’s claim that the University of Texas uses race unconstitutionally in its student admissions process. Having sent the initial case back to the 5th Circuit (a de facto “no-decision”), what should we expect when the judges preside over the rematch? Continue Reading Race in admissions: Opening bell for round 2 of Fisher v. University of Texas looms