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The Higher Education Committee of 50 (Forward50) Draft Recommendations - Request for Public Comment

Introduction and Background

As the Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization process continues, proposals abound from the various entities that have a stake in higher education. While many voices are weighing in on reauthorization discussions, there is a strong need for thoughtful, innovative ideas for the future of federal student aid that come from institutional voices. It is imperative to show lawmakers that institutions of higher education are forward-thinking, interested, and invested in improving student access, success, and outcomes. The time is ripe for this type of innovative thinking.

In late 2017, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) received a grant to convene a group of forward-thinking campus leaders tasked with developing policy solutions to surmount obstacles preventing students from enrolling in, paying for, and graduating from college. The Higher Education Committee of 50 (also known as "Forward50") is a group composed of college presidents; enrollment managers; members of governing boards; students; and leaders from admissions, financial aid, bursars’ offices, and other sectors of postsecondary institutions. Forward 50 is charged with creating forward-thinking and innovative recommendations for members of Congress on specific, pre-identified policy areas related to access, affordability, accountability and transparency.

To form these recommendations, Forward50 members began with an in-person convening in March 2018 in Washington, DC. The convening commenced with four panel discussions, one on each of the four pre-identified topic areas, presented by subject matter experts who provided committee members with related background, research, and policy ideas to use in their deliberations. Since then, the group has spent the past five months reviewing research and current policy solutions, and consulting with outside subject matter experts and other practitioners in the field to form their draft recommendations for each area listed below:

You may also download a PDF version of all draft recommendations and citations. The Forward50 is putting forth these draft recommendations for public comment with the goal of garnering feedback from members of the higher education community across all offices and sectors of postsecondary education. In keeping with the charge and spirit of the grant, we ask the public to please bear the following in mind when reviewing the draft recommendations:

  • Multiple submissions are allowed. We welcome you to share these draft recommendations with anyone you feel may be interested in submitting feedback. They may upload their comments individually; you do not need to collect their feedback and upload a single submission.
  • No submission is too small. You are not required to provide feedback on all recommendations. If you only have feedback on one or two recommendations, we would still like to hear from you.
  • Recommendations focus on undergraduate postsecondary education. We acknowledge that the tie between K-12 and postsecondary education cannot be ignored, and the group’s final report will include consideration for this work, but addressing these issues was not in the purview of the grant requirements.
  • Recommendations are for Congress. Forward50 has identified several ways changes can be made at both the state and institutional level, and those will be shared as part of the group’s final product, but we will only make official recommendations at the federal level.

We invite any member of the public to comment using the form and file upload at the bottom of this page. If you comment on multiple subtopics, you may submit your comments all together or via separate documents using any of the submission forms. Comments must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PDT, Friday, September 28, 2018.

Confidentiality Notice: Your submission, including your contact information and any comments, may be shared with members of the staff of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and/or members of The Higher Education Committee of 50 (Forward50). NASFAA and Forward50 reserve the right to quote any submitted comments in future publications, but we will do so anonymously. Otherwise, all information provided will be for internal use only.

If you have any questions on the public comment period or the work of this committee, please feel free to email NASFAA’s Research Department at We look forward to your feedback.