AACRAO joined a series of higher education community letters (attached) to address legislation in both the House and Senate aimed at tackling the student loan interest rate issue.
The Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911) would treat the subsidized and unsubsidized portions of the Stafford federal student loan the same, pegging their interest rates to the
10-year Treasury rate. It would also cap the rates to protect borrowers against
anomalies. Although we agree that changes need to be made to address a long-term
plan, we have some concerns some of its provisions and their impact on
The Senate's Student Loan Affordability Act of 2013 (S. 953) would maintain the
current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized student loans for another two
years, temporarily stalling the planned July 1 increase on July 1 until the
issue can be considered in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The
legislation would pay for the extension through changes to tax law affecting
retirement accounts, the oil industry and tax deductions for foreign
We believe that lawmakers are motivated to reach a reasonable compromise on this matter, but the battle is just beginning. The House is scheduled for a floor vote on H.R. 1911 tomorrow. We will keep you updated.
The Residency Policy has been changed to reflect that 7 credits
or more are considered to be “in excess of one-half of a normal full time credit
load.” This change was posted on May 14, 2013. Here is a link to the updated
I understand that this may cause confusion for students for the
upcoming semesters. The board item that made the temporary change to 8 credits
or more did explicitly state that the change was temporary and would
automatically expire after the spring semester 2013. http://www.mus.edu/board/meetings/2012/Sept2012cc/156-101-C0912.pdf
In addition, the posted policy also noted in the history section
at the end of the policy that the change was temporary and would expire after
spring semester 2013.
I hope this information will help in explaining to students why
they cannot register for 7 credits for the fall semester if they are trying to
establish residency. If our office can provide any assistance, please do
not hesitate to contact me.
Jessica M. Brubaker, Associate Legal Counsel
Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
Montana University System
Helena, MT 59620-3201
Dear Education Partners,
Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that beginning with the 2014-2015
federal student aid form, the Department will – for the first time – collect
income and other information from a dependent student’s legal parents
regardless of the parents’ marital status or gender, if those parents live
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will provide a new option for
dependent applicants to describe their parents’ marital status as “unmarried
and both parents living together.” Additionally, where appropriate, the
new FAFSA will use terms like “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” instead of
gender-specific terms such as “mother” and “father.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “All students should be able to apply for federal
student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics.
These changes will allow us to more precisely calculate federal student aid
eligibility based on what a student’s whole family is able to contribute and
ensure taxpayer dollars are better targeted toward those students who have the
most need, as well as provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of
You can read our press release below and here.
We ask for your assistance in sharing this information with your members,
affiliates and networks.
Robert Gomez | Higher Education and Youth Liaison
Office of Communications and Outreach | United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW | Washington, D.C. 20202