Spring, 2003

Volume XXXVII, Number 4

In This Issue:

From the President
Across the State
College Goal Sunday
Auditor Training
Wise Credit Card Use
Thanks from Valerie
Spring Cleaning

The Oz-Sociated Press is published four times a year by the KASFAA Newsletter Committee:

Anthony Lyons, Chair
Cindy Stanphill
Jack Taylor
Debbie Brewer
Lois McCurdy
Valerie Walthall
Michelle Wiesing

From The President: Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson, KASFAA State President

Despite events in the Middle East, the President's 2004 federal budget made some headlines for a few weeks during the period of compromise budget negotiations. The final results were mixed for our Kansas postsecondary students. Maximum individual Pell Grants did not increase as much as originally proposed. Student loan programs did not suffer the severe reductions that were threatened. In this time of post-war rebuilding of Iraq, I suppose we should be happy that federal aid should remain at near current FSY03 levels.

Unfortunately, the cost of attending college will not remain constant. Our Kansas students can expect that tuition and fees will continue to increase, as will housing, books, transportation and all the other personal expenses that financial aid administrators build into student budgets. The gap between costs and federal aid will increase.

One item of note that barely made a blip on the financial aid radar screen was the apparent demise of LEAP. This is a matching grant program funded by the federal government that is used to assist needy Kansas students attending Kansas colleges. President Bush proposed no funding for the program for FSY 04. At the recent reauthorization hearing in Kansas City, Jeffrey Andrade, the Department of Education's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation, suggested that LEAP should have faded away with the Nixon Administration.

Despite the lack of support for LEAP at the White House and in the Department of Education, your past-president, Annita Huff, and I both lobbied to save the program. As Diane Lindeman of the Kansas Board of Regents recently reported at the KASFAA conference in Topeka, the loss of LEAP could impact some 300 students across the state. For this reason, we tried to convince our Washington representatives to save LEAP.

There was one effort by Senator Harkin of Iowa to restore LEAP to the FSY 04 budget. A majority of senators however, including Roberts and Brownback of Kansas, voted the effort down. This was a disappointment to me since I had personally visited both offices in March and had stressed the importance of saving LEAP.

Now our attention must turn from the budget back to reauthorization.

KASFAA began looking at reauthorization over two years ago. Robert Gamez, then president of KASFAA, gathered opinions about reauthorization needs from financial aid administrators across the state and forwarded these on to NASFAA. Annita Huff continued to represent KASFAA's views during the submission of NASFAA's final proposal to the House and Senate. Now we enter a critical phase where Congress takes up the issue in earnest. Fed-Up unsuccessfully made the rounds last year and has been revived for this year. The Department of Education also should submit its proposal soon. Any senator or representative could choose to add or delete items to whatever proposal they choose as a basis to begin discussions.

You can expect that there will be situations where KASFAA will have to quickly react to individual ideas that are being considered by Congress during this critical year. We may need to ask our students to help too, if we feel an idea would cause more harm than good. I will use KASFAA-L to inform you of these situations that I feel might impact our Kansas students. Please encourage your students to take interest this year in this critical process. Since most news sources probably won't find reauthorization very newsworthy, it may have to fall to KASFAA members to watch out for our students' interest.

Let's hope our collective and individual voices can ensure a future of better aid packages for our students with less bureaucracy.

Chris Johnson
President, KASFAA
University of Kansas

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