U.S. Under Secretary Ted Mitchell will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, Dec. 2, where he will spotlight efforts to make college more accessible and affordable and conduct a student roundtable to hear directly from students about their college experience.
At 8:45 a.m. ET, Mitchell will address more than 6,300 financial aid professionals attending the Education Department’s 2014 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals at the Georgia World Congress Center. He will discuss the Obama Administration’s efforts to promote innovation and competition in the higher education marketplace by demonstrating new approaches that can improve learning and reduce costs. Mitchell will also give an overview of the steps the Administration has taken as part of the President’s Year of Action including improved servicing and a commitment to extend access to the Pay As You Earn repayment option to an additional 5 million borrowers. In addition, he will give an update on the Administration’s proposal to create a college rating system aimed at providing useful information to students and encouraging institutions to improve.
At 11 a.m. ET, Mitchell will visit Clark Atlanta University to host a roundtable with 25 undergraduate and graduate students as part of his commitment to engage with students on issues of importance to them, including student debt and how their institution is preparing them for the future. He will also discuss the Administration’s initiatives to improve access, affordability, quality and completion.
The annual FSA conference will include more than 60 information sessions, seminars and training opportunities for financial aid professionals from postsecondary institutions that receive federal student aid funds. Sessions include updates on federal regulations, including the Clery Act, gainful employment regulations, and PLUS loans, as well as the latest tools, technologies and resources for managing the student aid programs, supporting aid applicants and recipients, and mitigating loan defaults.
The conference is the largest free training program in the United States serving the financial aid community, and ultimately the students and families seeking an education beyond high school. The conference is not for government employees, but is training provided for financial aid professionals by the government for those schools and institutions that receive Title IV funds.
FSA provided more than $150 billion of federal Title IV funds in grants, loans, and work-study programs to nearly 13 million students at more than 6,100 participating schools this past year. The Obama Administration has made historic investments to increase the maximum Pell grant award by $1,000, create the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, and enact effective student loan reforms that eliminated subsidies to banks and reinvested in America's students and families to make college more affordable. These initiatives are targeted at expanding college access and ensuring families have the finances they need to succeed in their college pursuits and help reach the President’s goal for America to once again lead the world in college graduation.