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Advocacy

BREAKING NEWS!

CONGRESSWOMAN MENG INTRODUCES COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT

Congresswoman’s bill seeks to improve graduation rates at community colleges; measure would replicate successful City University of New York (CUNY) program nationwide

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that she introduced the Community College Student Success Act, which seeks to ensure that under-resourced public community colleges with high percentages of low-income and minority students, have the necessary funding to develop and implement support services that help students thrive and graduate.  

 

The goal of the legislation is to replicate nationwide the proven success of the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). This acclaimed initiative, which CUNY launched in 2007 at its then six community colleges, helps students earn associate degrees within three years by offering a range of financial, academic, and personal assistance. The program has been found to consistently double the graduation rates of participating students.

 

Read the full press release for more information on what this proposed legislation provides.

 


 

NSPA PositionS

We are committed to advocating on behalf of the scholarship community and are focused on the following areas in 2019:


Restore tax‐free status to scholarships, grants and fellowships

  • Clarify that the recipient of a qualified scholarship can be pursuing a certificate or other recognized educational credential, not just an academic degree. Increase the awareness of scholarship provider, government and institutional aid practices, aid policies, and their effects on collective scholarship practices.
  • Ensure that qualified scholarships are available to pay for the full cost of education, including covering room and board, transportation to and from college, and disability‐ and other college‐related expenses. Increase awareness of scholarships and their impact on student college/university choice as well as to institutional financial aid packaging policies and practices.
  • Eligible educational institutions should be limited to Title IV institutions that are eligible to receive Title IV federal student aid. Increase financial literacy.
  • Limit eligibility to regular students enrolled at a postsecondary institution that is eligible for Title IV federal student aid. Promote and share best practices that foster student access, retention, and success.
  • Clarify that college grants to students are also excluded from income.
  • Require that the group of applicants from which the recipients are selected must be sufficiently large and indefinite as to be considered a charitable class. Prohibit recipients from including anyone who is involved in selecting recipients or funding the award, or their family members. This will prevent the scholarship, fellowship or grant from being earmarked by the donor for the benefit of a particular individual.


Mitigate Award Displacement

  • Establish a priority order that requires institutions to reduce unmet need before loans, loans before student employment and student employment before grants, similar in concept to the regulations that establish an order for the return of unearned Federal Title IV aid. Alternatively, mitigate displacement by striking the references to scholarships and fellowships in the definition of estimated financial assistance and various coordinating restrictions or increase the over-award tolerance from $300 to $1,000.
  • Stop indirectly taxing 501(c)(3) scholarship providers by taxing private scholarship awards made to students. Congress should allow scholarships to be used tax-free for the full institutional COA, not just for tuition, required fees, books, supplies and equipment.
  • Establish a mandatory standard for financial aid award letters or eligibility determinations for all Title IV eligible institutions i.e. the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet developed by the US Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Expand the definition of COA to include other common college costs, such as the cost of a computer and student health insurance.
  • Allow the EFC to go negative when the family income falls below the subsistence level as reflected by the income protection allowance.


Allow Sharing of FAFSA Data with Scholarship Providers

  • Amend the Higher Education Act to add private scholarship providers to the list of entities that can receive FAFSA data.

 


TAKE ACTION

Regardless of your advocacy experience, there are lots of way to support our scholarship community:

  1. Stay Informed: Do you receive NSPA’s Wednesday Announcements? Have you reviewed our advocacy positions? Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
  2. Stories Matter: Your stories and your student’s stories are powerful. Contact your member of Congress to make your voices heard. Follow these links to connect with your representatives U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senators.
  3. Support Our Campaigns: When the time comes, write letters, call, and send emails to your delegation and to committee members expressing support or concern for proposed legislation.
  4. Share Your Progress: Let us know about your work to influence lawmakers so we can coordinate efforts.



NSPA Advocacy in the News

Living Expenses are College Expenses – Op Ed NSPA & Scholarship America, April 2019

The One Question You Need to Ask Your College About Scholarships – Acorn + CNBC, April 30, 2019

4 Reasons Your Scholarship Might Be Taxable – USA Today, Empowering Nonprofits! February 2019

Why Getting Too Many College Scholarships Can Actually be a Problem – The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2019

 

Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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