The Big Idea: NASFAA’s Policy Challenge

The Big IdeaAttention all creative minds with an interest in financial aid policy! During the 2015 NASFAA Conference in New Orleans, a small group of passionate thinkers will be invited to participate in The Big Idea: NASFAA’s Policy Challenge. It will be a game show-style event where financial aid administrators, researchers and other interested stakeholders will have the chance to present their innovative policy ideas to reform and improve federal student aid programs and policies. NASFAA members and non-members alike are encouraged to apply.

Presenters will be judged on their policy idea by a select panel of NASFAA leadership and higher education experts. The judges will determine which contestant has the policy idea with the greatest potential, and they will win our grand prize- think of this as Shark Tank for the financial aid world!


All participants selected for The Big Idea: NASFAA’s Policy Challenge will receive a discounted conference registration to the 2016 NASFAA Conference in Washington, D.C.

Additionally, the winner will have the opportunity to work with NASFAA staff and leading higher education researchers to develop their idea and have it published in a white paper. The winner will also receive complimentary conference registration to the 2016 NASFAA Conference in Washington, D.C. to participate in a panel presentation of the final published proposal.

Application Process:

To participate in The Big Idea: NASFAA’s Policy Challenge, interested parties must complete the online application no later than May 8, 2015. Applications must be 500 words or less- this first stage is essentially a high-level summary, not a fully detailed idea.

Successful applications will:

  • Put forth an innovative and exciting student aid policy idea, and explain how their idea would work within and/or challenge the current legislative and regulatory framework.
  • Illustrate how this policy idea aligns with NASFAA’s Core Advocacy Principles.
  • Provide sufficient detail about the implementation and structure of the idea. In other words, the “how” along with the “what.”
  • Put forth an idea that can be orally presented to the judges in five minutes or less, using only images, graphics, or physical props

Only a handful of applicants will be chosen as participants in The Big Idea: NASFAA’s Policy Challenge. These participants will be notified no later than six weeks prior to the 2015 NASFAA Conference. Additional information and details will be provided at that time.

We hope that you’re ready and excited for this new feature of the NASFAA Conference - we know we are! 

The submission deadline has passed. Thank you so much for submitting your Big Idea- selected participants will be contacted directly with information on the next steps. We hope to see you at the NASFAA conference in New Orleans, and please plan to attend The Big Idea; NASFAA’s Policy challenge, on Monday, July 20, 2015, from 10:15 AM-11:15 AM.   It is sure to be an exciting and entertaining session!.