Federal Issues - Student Financial Aid 

AACOM monitors and advocates on federal issues that address or may impact osteopathic medical education. Read on to learn about Student Financial Aid issues, related AACOM activity and additional resources.

USDE Launches Mobile-Friendly StudentAid.Gov

  • The U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) office of Federal Student Aid, which is responsible for managing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, recently launched its new website. The mobile-friendly site combines content from several retired websites, Student Aid on the Web, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman website, and the Federal Student Aid Gateway, and offers new, interactive tools for borrowers and their families. The new features include an Income-Based Repayment Calculator, videos, infographics, and social media buttons. View the new site at

Posted 7/27/2012

2012 Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Student Loan Programs

  • On 11/28/11, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) endorsed the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) nomination of Elaine Papas-Varas to serve as a representative on the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) 2012 Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Student Loan Programs. Ms. Varas was selected by the USDE to serve as an alternate on the Committee and will represent four-year public institutions. The Committee will prepare proposed regulations governing the student loan programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Committee began its work in January.

    Ms. Varas is the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s (UMDNJ) Director of the Financial Aid and Director of the Primary Care Loan Redemption Program of New Jersey. Ms. Varas oversees all funding for eight UMDNJ health professions schools, including the UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine (UMDNJ-SOM), an AACOM member institution.

Posted 1/10/2012

Student Aid Alliance

  • The Student Aid Alliance, a national coalition co-chaired by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the American Council on Education (ACE) and consisting of 75 organizations including AACOM, officially launched its Save Student Aid Campaign on 10/24/11. Since then, more than 100,000 supporters have signed on in support of the initiative to protect federal student aid. View the Save Student Aid Fall 2011 Toolkit and get involved now! 

Posted 11/16/2011

U.S. Department of Education Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Gainful Employment

  • On behalf of AACOM, President and CEO Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, provided testimony to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) at its recently held public hearings on the Department’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Program Integrity: Gainful Employment. The testimony focused on AACOM’s previously submitted comments to the USDE on its proposed rule, giving special consideration to the proposed rule’s negative impact on medical education, and in particular, the impact on Rocky Vista University, which as a for-profit institution would be directly affected by this proposed rule. Furthermore, Dr. Shannon expressed serious concern that if these regulations were applied to non-profit as well as for-profit U.S. medical schools, essentially all U.S. medical schools would be deemed ineligible for Title IV federal student financial aid programs.
  • The USDE’s NPRM aimed at defining "gainful employment" for most for-profit-colleges and certificate programs at non-profit institutions. The Department received more than 90,000 written comments on the proposal this summer and postponed the release of the final regulations, which are not scheduled to go into effect until July 2012. The USDE believes this delay will allow for more public feedback through public hearings and small meetings with stakeholders.

Posted 11/9/2010

 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009

  • On March 30, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (PL 111-152), making changes to the new health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148).  The act also overhauls federal financial aid programs and is a scaled-down version of HR 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which the House passed in September 2009 and the Senate had yet to address.  The act makes the federal government the sole originator of federal loans to college students, shifting student lending from the bank-based Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program to the Direct Loan Program, and provides funding to sustain the Pell Grant Program.  Please click here for a summary of key student loan provisions of importance to osteopathic medical education.
  • On 03/18/10, the House Rules Committee posted several budget reconciliation documents that contain health care and student financial aid overhaul provisions.  These documents include the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, an amendment in the nature of a substitute that contains negotiated changes to the Senate-passed health reform bill.
  • The House of Representatives passed the SAFRA of 2009 on 9/17/09 and sent the bill to the Senate.  The Senate is not expected to take up the legislation until consideration of the health reform measure is completed.
  • Representative George Miller (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, introduced the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) of 2009 on 7/15/09.  Full committee markup occurred on 7/21/09.   The legislation implements most of President Obama's FY2010 budget proposals for student financial aid, including a switch to 100% direct lending, indexing the maximum Pell Grant to inflation plus 1%, reengineering the Perkins Loan program, and establishing the College Access Challenge Grant program.

 Updated: 4/2/2010

U.S. Capitol

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