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For our third round of four, the meme submitted by Randi Croyle of Washington State University that read, "Fall in love with the FAFSA. Fill it out in the fall," took first place with 145 votes and is now available for download in the PPY Toolkit. In second and third place were Tom Biedscheid of Colorado State University's "Finally! A FAFSA I can Love!" meme, and Denise Nuccio of Montgomery County Community College's "PPY! Now I can finish my FAFSA before my computer becomes obsolete," meme, which had 142 and 80 votes, respectively. Voting is now open for the final PPY meme that will be included in the PPY Toolkit.

In a recent podcast, NASFAA President Justin Draeger spoke with Next Gen Personal Finance about financial aid operations and broader trends in the world of financial aid. Justin also discussed topics such as comparing and negotiating financial aid awards, common misconceptions about financial aid, and student loan debt.

"As the cost of a college education continues to rise, more and more students are taking out loans to get a degree. In turn, many are starting their careers with a lot of debt. ... Boise Bible College is looking to change that," KTVB reports.

"When President Obama announced last year his proposal to provide free community college to almost all Americans, nearly every Washington pundit predicted that Congress would do nothing with the plan. A lawmaking body too polarized, too deadlocked to get even simple things done surely would be unable to deal with such a sweeping proposal," Community College Week reports. "The lawmakers did not disappoint. Though two bills on 'America's College Promise' have been introduced by minority Democrats, the majority Republicans who set the congressional agenda have all but ignored the president's proposal and turned their attention to this year's election."

"Howard University is refunding more than a hundred soon-to-be graduates half of the tuition they paid out of pocket this semester, an effort to encourage more students to complete their education on time," The Washington Post reports.

"On average, $1 out of every $3 that public research universities and land-grant institutions spent on financial aid in the 2014-15 academic year went to students without financial need, according to a new analysis of institutional aid data that I conducted," Stephen Burd, a senior policy analyst in the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, writes in an opinion piece for The Hechinger Report.

"Gov. Jay Nixon approved the spending bill for higher education without changes on Wednesday, sparing students at public colleges and universities a tuition increase in the fall," the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.

"The White House unveiled a series of initiatives Thursday to improve the way the government collects payments on education loans, at a time when defaults are rising," The Washington Post's Grade Point reports.

"Interim President Ed Schafer has finalized budget cuts at UND," WDAY reports. "With that, Schafer approved a 2 percent tuition increase and 2.5 percent tuition increase at the School of Law and School of Medicine and Health Sciences."

"According to admissions departments' informational pamphlets, the primary reason for attending college is rather noble: Campus is a place to discover one's interests and strengths, a place for both personal and intellectual development. But in recent years, another narrative has taken hold––that what matters is return on investment. In other words: What kind of job-market value does a graduate get from a college degree?" The Atlantic reports.

Twenty-six Department of Education (ED) interest sessions will be offered at this year's National Conference in Washington, DC including two Federal Town Hall Meetings held during different time slots. Scheduled sessions will address today's hot topics, including satisfactory academic progress for Title IV eligibility, cash management, gainful employment, Early FAFSA® and use of prior-prior year income, and more. Early bird conference registration has been extended by two weeks. Check out all the ED sessions and times for Federal Town Hall Meetings and register by Friday, May 20 to save $100.

The White House on Thursday issued a fact sheet detailing new actions on student loan debt that are aimed at "support[ing] borrowers as they seek to manage and repay their debt successfully." The actions include the United States Digital Service (USDS) and Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) reviewing and streamlining the process of creating a FSA ID in an effort to ensure the security requirements that come along with it don’t complicate the process for students. USDS and FSA will also simplify the income-driven repayment plan application process, establish a centralized point of access for all federal student loan borrowers, and digitize the process of applying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

College enrollment is expected to increase by 14 percent between fall 2013 and fall 2024, following a 20 percent increase in enrollment from 2003 to 2013, according to new data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Washington, DC, owes much of its unique design of streets to Pierre Charles L'Enfant, who came to America from France to fight in the Revolutionary War and rose from obscurity to become a trusted city planner for George Washington. L'Enfant designed the city from scratch, envisioning a grand capital of wide avenues, public squares, and inspiring buildings in what was then a district of hills, forests, marshes, and plantations. The centerpiece of L'Enfant's plan was a great "public walk," which is now the National Mall. The Mall is a wide, straight strip of grass and trees that stretches for two miles, from Capitol Hill to the Potomac River. Register today for the 2016 National Conference.

 
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