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NSPA Advocacy


We are pleased to announce NSPA advocacy guidelines that were approved by the NSPA board of directors on October 8, 2017. These guidelines provide clarity for which issues NSPA will support and advocate on behalf of the membership. These guidelines were spearheaded by the Research and Advocacy Committee: Julie Kim (Chair), Michele Abril, Michelle Johnson, Mark Kantrowitz, David Levy and Tricia Tate. You can download the NSPA Advocacy Guidelines here.


Advocacy Agenda

Advocacy Activities

Advocacy Issues


NSPA's Advocacy Agenda

1. Maximize the Impact of Scholarships:

  • Increase the awareness of scholarships and their impact on higher education
  • Increase the awareness of scholarship provider, government and institutional aid practices, aid policies, and their effects on collective scholarship practices
  • Increase awareness of scholarship benefits to students, communities, and institutions
  • Increase awareness of scholarships and their impact on student college/university choice as well as to institutional financial aid packaging policies and practices
  • Facilitate collaboration between the public and private sectors to increase the impact of scholarships and expand capacity for student access, retention, and success
  • Increase financial literacy
  • Promote collaboration among financial aid providers
  • Promote and share best practices that foster student access, retention, and success
  • Recommend policies and practices that maximize the positive impact of scholarships and other types of financial aid on students

2. Support students' college completion efforts through scholarships and value-added programming


NSPA's Advocacy Activities

NSPA's advocacy activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Conduct research and share information on scholarship program and policy best practices. The following are reports written by NSPA:

2. Educate the community as well as legislators and policy-makers (federal, state, regional and local) on the impact of scholarships and financial aid. The following are possible ways in which NSPA will provide education:

  • News media and press interviews
  • Conference programming and webinars
  • Testimony at congressional hearings
  • Inclusion of relevant articles and research on the NSPA Public Resource Library

3. Build coalitions with like-minded organizations to increase awareness of current affairs in the scholarship industry and higher education field. The following are possible ways in which NSPA will partner with like-minded organizations:

  • Joint signing on coalition letters to Legislators and/or Congress
  • Attend and speak at the conferences of closely aligned organizations
  • Write articles and/or share NSPA reports with other organizations to publish in their communications and websites

4. Organize national, regional, state and local conferences as well as webinars to share resources and current trends in the higher education sector


Advocacy Issues

FAFSA Data Privacy: Federal Government Bans Sharing of FAFSA Data with Scholarship Providers, click here for more information.

Authorization to Release FAFSA and FERPA Protected Information (Template)

According to the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) and/or ED's Privacy and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), FAFSA data include all of the following: the fact that the FAFSA was filed in and of itself; answers to over 100 questions the student and parents are required to answer on the FAFSA for the calculation of the expected family contribution (EFC); Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) and Student Aid Report (SAR) data; key processing results; EFC; student’s financial aid history as reflected in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS); ISIR data to determine award eligibility, and the resulting awards and disbursement data; Federal Work-Study (FWS) awards and pay dates; and information contained in the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System. It is important for financial aid offices to keep this data separate from other data collected from the student to ensure that it is only used for the awarding and administration of financial aid. (NASFAA)

Are Scholarships Taxable?:
From 1954 to 1980, scholarships, grants and fellowships for degree candidates were entirely tax-free, including amounts used for tuition & fees, textbooks, equipment, travel and research. Since then, several amendments to 26 USC 117 began taxing scholarships, grants and fellowships for the first time, significantly narrowing the tax-free status. Taxing financial aid prevents students from making full use of their scholarships, fellowships and grants. Scholarships, fellowships and grants are the only form of generosity that is taxed by the federal government.

Mark Kantrowitz, NSPA Advocacy and Research Committee member and Publisher for clarifies the tax treatment of scholarships, grants and fellowships under current law, explores the harmful consequences of these taxation policies to students, and offers recommended changes to address these issues. Click here to read more. If you would like more information on this topic and/or are willing to support NSPA advocacy efforts related to this issue, please email

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