Financial Aid Professionals, Policymakers, Thought-Leaders To Discuss The Future Of Student Aid

Contact: Erin Timmons
Director of Communications
(202) 785-6959


Financial Aid Professionals, Policymakers, Thought-Leaders To Discuss the Future of Student Aid At NASFAA’s National Conference, July 19-22 In New Orleans     

June 18, 2014 –  Nearly 3,000 financial aid professionals will convene July 19 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans to discuss ways to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing college students, including ways to pay for higher education and manage student debt.

The conference will kick off with an opening address from award-winning actor, philanthropist and four-time New York Times bestselling author, Hill Harper. Attendees may recognize Harper from his television roles on “CSI: NY” and “Covert Affairs,” but he is also the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship, and grants. His passion for student funding issues is sure to make for a compelling and inspiring speech.

In addition, attendees will have multiple opportunities to hear from 2014-15 National Chair Eileen O’Leary, NASFAA President Justin Draeger, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Draeger will outline NASFAA’s proactive policy work and legislative positions, and he and ED staff will host three Federal Town Hall Meetings to discuss ways to improve the financial aid process. ED staff will also conduct sessions on privacy and data protection, student loan repayment plans, gainful employment, and more.

New this year--and just in time for the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965--Monday morning general session will be an Oxford-style debate between two teams, moderated by Emmy-award winner John Donvan, moderator of the “Intelligence Squared” debate series and correspondent for ABC News. Teams of two will present reasoned arguments on whether or not the U.S. is now in the midst of a student debt crisis. Conference attendees will play a role in determining the winner by voicing their opinion via text message after the teams make their case.

The excitement will continue as NASFAA hosts “The Big Idea: NASFAA’s Policy Challenge,” where attendees will have the chance to present their innovative ideas to reform and improve federal student aid programs and policies. During this event, a NASFAA conference first, presenters will be judged on their policy idea by a select panel of NASFAA experts. The winner deemed to have the policy idea with the greatest potential will get the opportunity to work with NASFAA staff and leading higher education researchers to develop their idea and have it published in a white paper.

Other sessions that may be of interest to the media include: 

  • Examining NCAA Rule Changes and Cost of Attendance
  • Improving Student Solutions from Federal Policy Change
  • Award Letters: Decoding with Students and Families
  • Consumer Information Requirements
  • New Research and College-Level Policies to Help Students Borrow Responsibly
  • Encouraging Good Behavior: Lowering Defaults Through Early Consumer Info
  • A Collective and Pioneering Methodology to Student Financial Literacy
  • Working with Undocumented Students; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Leveraging Financial Aid to Expand Student Opportunities

Don’t miss out on all the action! Join us in New Orleans through July 19-22. Please visit NASFAA’s conference Media Center for more information.

To request an interview with a NASFAA spokesperson during the conference, or seek a complimentary media registration, please email or call (202) 785-6959.

About NASFAA  

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit