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Meeting Minutes

October 19, 2001

 

Board Members Present: Jeremy Shea, Steve Van Ess, Mary Jo Green, Paul Spraggins, Linda Cross, Andre Jacque, James Jordon, Barbara Manthei, and Gerard Randall (via phone).

HEAB Staff Present: Jane Hojan-Clark, Jim Buske, Sandra Thomas, John Whitt, and Nancy Wilkison

Others Present: Rolf Wegenke, WAICU; Andy Richards, UW-System Administration; Margaret Zitzer, Marquette University; Sandra Dercole, DPI; John Stott, Legislative Fiscal Bureau; Carla Smith-Liebich, Marquette University; Tom Heffron, WTCSB.

Chairman Jeremy Shea called the meeting to order at 9:10. A new member to the Board, James D. Jordon, was welcomed and introduced as the Wisconsin Technical College System Board Student Representative.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Motion was made by Steve Van Ess to approve the minutes of the July 20, 2001 Board meeting and was seconded by Mary Jo Green.
Approved.

REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY:
Jane began with a general comment related to the added security around the Capitol due to the September 11th attacks.

HEAB recently sent out a WISSISS survey to collect financial aid data from schools. Last year the staff worked with those involved in the research area for each system along with aid administrators to make revisions to the form itself. The survey was recently sent to schools and systems to be completed for the 2000-2001 academic year.

The reconciliation form, which collects information about projected spending for 2001-02, was sent to schools. It is due back in mid November. This information should give HEAB a better understanding of the status of spending and will assist in determining whether or not formulas need to be adjusted. It will also assist in setting 2002-03 formulas.

HEAB is once again preparing to participate in the annual High School Counselor Workshops held throughout the state. Information is provided to high school counselors about the programs that are administered by HEAB. This year information on the new Nursing Student Loan program has been added to HEAB's presentation. Other state-administered programs will also be covered so counselors will have as much information for their college bound students as possible.

Jane gave an overview of the new state Assembly and Senate bills being introduced or re-introduced:

BOARD REPORT #02-5, 1999-2001 BIENNIAL REPORT
Jane touched on the major parts of this report that gives detailed information about the agency; structure, function, staff, Board policies, history, performance and operation in the last year, a brief description of all our programs, and our goals for the future.

BOARD REPORT #02-6 STUDENT AID EXPENDITURES FOR 2000-01
Jim Buske of HEAB highlighted some of the major points of this handout, which details the expenditures for each of our programs. Comparing 2000-01 to the previous year, spending went up 24%, the number of awards went up 16% and the average award went up 7%. This is due in part to monies being carried over from the previous budget due to changes in formulas. For most of the programs the spending increased or remained the same. The spending was lower however, in the Handicapped program due to lack of applicants. HEAB is making an effort to make sure the word gets out about this program. Jim made specific comments regarding several of the charts included in the report. He specifically mentioned that out of the $71,388,861 vouchered, $68,576,348 was actually spent or 98.5% spent. There was a brief discussion on the importance of schools getting refunds back in a timely manner so the funds can then be spent elsewhere. Jane pointed out that every effort is made to spend every dollar appropriated to each program.

BOARD REPORT #02-7 ANNUAL ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE SCHOLARSHIP PROGARM REPORT AND SURVEY RESULTS
Every year HEAB is required to report on the status of the Academic Excellence Scholarship to the Joint Finance Committee by August 1st. Jim pointed out that not much changes year to year regarding this program. A cap was put on spending several years ago and as the statistics show, spending has been stabilized. There is a slight increase in spending due to increase use of alternates, which is due in part to a statutory change in the last budget bill. This does not diminish the program as they are still outstanding students. These awards enhance the chances of keeping these students in the state and the numbers do show that 50% of Academic Excellence award winners do attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Also included in this report are the results of a yearly survey sent to recipients who graduated from Wisconsin high schools and have gone on to attend a post-secondary school. More than half of the respondents did indicate that the AES did influence their decision to attend a Wisconsin School. The survey also indicates that these same students do plan to remain in Wisconsin for most of their careers. The conclusion is that the AES is a useful tool in keeping the best and brightest in the state.

BOARD REPORT #02-8 APPLICANTS AND PROGRAMS
Currently WHEG-UW has committed 120.43% of its appropriation. This is 385 more awards and 11.23% more committed than at this time last year. The final commitment for last year was 134.95%. We were intentionally more aggressive with this program and see it going in the intended direction. WHEG-WTC has committed 147.82% of its appropriation. This is 2,415 more awards and 21.96% more committed than at this time last year. We have been more aggressive in spending though there have been no formula changes. WTG has committed 116.17% of its appropriation. This is 1,364 fewer awards and 4.33% less than at this time last year. We are on target with this program. The overall number of applicants through October 15, 2001, for 2001-02 is 169,021. Applicants for 2000-01 totaled 215,025.

BOARD REPORT #02-9 BIENNIAL BUDGET UPDATE
Jane was pleased to report an increase in budget appropriations for financial aid programs. The funding increase touches existing programs as well as establishes a new Nursing Student Loan Program. Non funding related changes included an annual report requirement on the effectiveness of the Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant Program, elimination of the maximum award statutory language under the Wisconsin Tuition Grant Program, a request to develop a plan for implementing a forgivable loan program for farmers who graduate from University of Wisconsin institutions or Wisconsin Technical Colleges, and a requirement that students be prohibited from receiving State assistance if they have not registered with the Selective Service System. Overall, we will see an increase in funding of 3.2% the first year and 4.1% the second year. Paul Spraggins expressed concern that there was a lack of increase in the TIP program. Jane indicated that it is due to increases made in the last budget. Paul believes that HEAB needs to be more aggressive in pursuing more financial aid for the more disadvantaged students. Jane agreed that there might be more approaches that HEAB can take to address his concerns before the next budget cycle.

BOARD REPORT #02-10 RETURN OF FUNDS POLICY
The original Return of Funds Policy was included in the first draft of the Policy and Procedure Manual used by the aid community. In Version A the percentage of the total enrollment period the student spends in school equals the amount of aid the student was eligible to keep. After work with the aid community Version B was drafted. This broader policy allows the Federal Return of Funds Policy to apply to state refunds. Once that was met the remaining amount the student had in their account would be returned to state funds. This version went back to the aid community for review and what resulted was Version C. It is similar to Version B, but adds that the amount of the refund would not exceed the 'unearned' percentage of the grant, consistent with the 'unearned' percentage of federal funds. Version C eliminates students who are penalized for paying their bill on time. Jane recommended acceptance of Version C by the board. Steve Van Ess moved that Version C be approved and Mary Jo Green seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous in favor of Version C.

Gerard Randall left the discussion taking place via phone.

FEDERAL PROGRAMS STATUS REPORT
Since the fiscal year began October 1st, both the House and Senate passed a Continuing Resolution that keeps the Federal Government Programs operating at current levels through October 23rd. The House passed their Education Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3061, which raises the maximum Pell Grant by $250. The SEOG Program is increased by $34 million and the TRIO Program is also increased by $70 million. No additional dollars are earmarked for the LEAP Program, which partially funds the Talent Incentive Programs Grant. The Senate version came out of subcommittee and their appropriations bill includes the increase in Pell Grants of $250 as well. An increase of SEOG by $22 million and the TRIO Program by $75 million is included. The LEAP Program would be increased by $15 million. Also included, as a matter of interest is a listing of bills that are currently in process in the House and Senate.

NEW BUSINESS
Due to the 9-11 attacks Jane stated that one issue that will need to be addressed is the number of terms of eligibility for those called to active duty while attending college. We need to look at possible flexibility for those individuals. We are looking at what approach the federal aid program takes in terms of refunds as a source of guidance in this matter.

HEAB was sent a survey by the General Accounting Office regarding Social Security Numbers. They asked how we use them, are they secure, and questions of that nature. HEAB's use of the SSN is both confidential and secure. The government is looking at the usage of the SSN in general. If SSNs were to be eliminated, which seems to be suggested by the survey, HEAB would be heavily impacted since the agency's entire system is based on SSN use.

Andre Jacques posed a question regarding the Farmers Forgiveness Loan Program. He would like to know who is the sponsor of that program and what it entails. Jane will check into it and provide more information at the next meeting.

Chairman Shea asked that the next meeting be moved from February 22, 2002 to March 8, 2002. Andre Jacques moved that the date be changed, it was seconded by Paul Spraggins and so moved. Chairman Shea adjourned the meeting.

 

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