The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators has laid off five employees as part of budget cuts necessitated by diminished investments and declines in its conference revenue, the group announced  Wednesday. Many higher education associations have suffered drops in attendance at their annual conferences, and it is not surprising that groups that have colleges or their employees as members would struggle given the financial difficulties that institutions themselves are facing. "The recent economic downturn has affected everyone, including many of our member colleges and universities, and NASFAA is no different," Philip R. Day Jr., the group's president, said in a news release. The NAFSAA statement said that the association's "institutional membership reached historic highs this year," but NASFAA may have been particularly vulnerable because of the struggles facing the student loan industry and the association's 2007 decision  -- prodded by New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo -- to severely limit sponsorships at its annual meeting, which had long had a heavily corporate feel to it. Among those laid off this week were Larry Zaglaniczny, the group's vice president for Congressional affairs since 1988 and a fixture on the Washington higher ed lobbying scene for more than 30 years. NASFAA's budget cuts come at a time when Day, the president, is being investigated  for alleged improprieties in his old job, at the City College of San Francisco.