HEWI/NASFAA Distance Education Conference to Address Distance Education Financial Aid Barriers

May 9, 2001

WASHINGTON, May 8– Addressing the financial aid barriers to distance education students, such as the 50 percent rule, is not only a topic of discussion for the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s new FED UP (Upping the Effectiveness of Our Federal Student Aid Programs) project, but it will also be addressed during the Distance Learning: The Future of Education Conference.

The two-day conference, co-presented by Higher Education Washington, Inc. and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administers, will feature industry experts and Department of Education officials during its “eStudents Need Financial Aid Too” session on Oct. 30.

“The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s new FED UP (Upping the Effectiveness of Our Federal Student Aid Programs) project, which will explore issues such as Rep. Johnny Isakson’s bill to exempt distance education programs from the 50 percent rule, is proof positive that financial aid for ‘virtual students’ is a topic that needs to be discussed,” said John E. Dean, president of HEWI. “Our eStudents Need Financial Aid Too panel is one step toward bringing the many entities involved in this out-dated regulatory barrier together to put an end to the financial aid discrimination of distance education students.”

The three-member panel, including Kay Gilcher from the Department’s Distance Education Demonstration Program, Joe McCormick, the Apollo Group and a representative of the life-long learning loan community, will discuss the recommendations and insights of the demo program, alternative aid and the progress of much needed policy and regulatory reform initiatives.

“The HEWI/NASFAA conference takes place just a few months after NASFAA’s symposium on distance learning and student financial aid, to be held on July 21, 2001, before NASFAA’s annual conference at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. We really hope to create a synergy between the ideas coming out of the symposium and the presentations at the October conference,” said Ellen Blackmun, NASFAA’s Director of Electronic Services Projects and head of the NASFAA Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership project.

In addition to financial aid, the Distance Learning: The Future of Education Conference will discuss and provide answers to many other issues surrounding e-learning, including intellectual property, preparing for the global classroom, virtual educators, the e-learning center, LAAP grants, accrediting standards, addressing student needs and many others. Keynote speakers include Bruce Chaloux, director of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus and Tony Digiovanni, president of University of Phoenix Online.

The conference will be held Oct. 29 and 30 at the Inn and Conference Center, University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, Maryland. Registration is now being accepted at http://www.hewi.net or by calling Anne Popovich at 202-842-4989.

For more information about NASFAA’s pre-conference distance learning symposium, visit the NASFAA 2001 conference website at: http://www.nasfaa.org.