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Upcoming SNAP! Trainings

August 25, 2015

4553_SNAP_Training_EM_Sig_v2_1117To help your school succeed, we offer a live SNAP! Training series for financial aid professionals on Wednesdays. Simple, New, Accessible, and Practical, these webinars will include tutorials, guides, worksheets, and of course, the latest financial aid updates from our expert trainers. Click here to download the full September and October training schedules.

Click on the links below to register for upcoming SNAP! Trainings.

Financial Planning for the Rising Scholar

Learn how to target your efforts and incentives and to communicate with a
purpose to better educate students on managing loan debt and personal finances.

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Leadership Learning Moments

Master the art of responding as a leader when you’ve made a mistake, and discover how the quality of the recovery from the mistake is affected by that response.

Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Upcoming Money Mondays

August 25, 2015

Nelnet is committed to providing the resources you need to help your students develop healthy financial habits during and after college. One resource is our Money Mondays webinar series for students, which covers basic financial literacy topics such as budgeting, credit, loans, and more. These occur on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (ET). Click here to download the full September and October training schedules.

Invite your students to click on a link below and register; we will take it from there!

Personal Finance 101

Review the basic principles of personal finance and give students information to help them better manage their finances.

Date: Monday, September 14, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, September 14, 2015
Time: 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, September 21, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, September 21, 2015
Time: 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

A Degree Decades in the Making

August 25, 2015

On August 15, 2015, hundreds of students completed a four- or five-year journey, graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Jean Kops took a different route. The 87-year-old great-grandmother graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, fulfilling the pursuit of a degree she started over 70 years ago.

Credit: Craig Chandler/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Jean Kops waves to friends and family after receiving her degree. Credit: Craig Chandler/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Jean began her studies at the University in 1945 at the end of World War II. At that time, it was a rarity for women to attend college. In her family, however, it was expected, as her parents valued education. Jean attended college for two years, taking core classes and attending Husker football games.

In 1947, Jean left college, and she married her late husband, Lyle, a year later. They went on to raise five daughters on their family ranch in Bassett, Neb., Jean’s hometown. Over the years she devoted most of her time to taking care of her family, and stayed busy with various community activities. Returning to finish their degrees was something Jean and Lyle discussed now and then, but other priorities always came first.

In September 2011, Jean’s husband passed away. Unsure what to do next, Jean began to consider returning to school. With the support and encouragement of her daughters, Jean returned to UNL and began taking online classes in 2012. Soon after, Jean started taking classes on campus.

Although Jean was initially nervous about fitting in with students who were younger than her grandchildren, her fears quickly faded. Her days soon filled with writing papers, cramming for exams, and participating in classroom discussions.

Jean enjoyed the process of learning, and shared life experiences with her younger classmates. Fellow students appreciated her openness and willingness to share firsthand accounts on past events, as well her ability to provide a new perspective on current topics.

Jean’s story is a testament to the importance of lifelong learning. Whether the journey lasts a semester or a lifetime, it is never too late to continue the learning process and reach your educational goals.

This is one in a series of stories we hope to feature on educational inspiration: stories of students, administrators, teachers, or anything related to education that inspires us or moves toward Nelnet’s mission of a more educated world.

Do you have an inspiring educational story you’d like to suggest for this blog series? Send it to marketing@n-d-s.com

Back to School Tips: Don’t forget about changes to enrollment reporting minimum criteria

August 25, 2015

We know the organized chaos that can accompany a new school year. With that in mind, we hope to help you avoid extra work by reminding you about changes to the enrollment reporting minimum criteria. Enrollment now needs to be reported every 60 days starting after the first date of attendance.

 Remember:

  • Lack of timely reporting can result in extra contacts from the servicers or students.
  • If a student is in two or more SULA-eligible programs lack of timely reporting can cause incorrect loss of eligibility that would need to be manually corrected. 

As always, your servicers are here to help you. If questions arise, you can find contact information on the “IFAP Loan Servicing Centers for Schools” page.

Justin Fischer, Supervisor, Nelnet School Service Center

Justin Fischer, Supervisor, Nelnet School Service Center

Latest from FSA: Ask a FED

August 24, 2015

Federal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently shared these updates:bartnicki

Gainful Employment

If you have not sent in all of your GE data to NSLDS yet, please keep working on it.  Pretty soon ED will be sending out communications to schools who have not sent in all of their GE data reminding them of their responsibility and possible future compliance actions for schools that fail to report GE data properly.

On August 20, 2015 we issued an electronic announcement discussing the new Gainful Employment Program Tracking webpage in NSLDS under the ORG Tab. This page provides a listing of the GE programs E
records show the institution offers. It also shows whether the institution has reported to NSLDS the GE information for the program that is required.  In addition,  a new online report is being created – GE Program Detail Response Status Report (GEDRS1) – which will provide users with the GE data that their institution has reported to NSLDS. This on-demand report is available under the Report Tab.

Verification

Yes, we changed the policy guidance surrounding amended tax returns yet again.  However, I can honestly say that your thoughtful comments and concerns helped shape our guidance.  Below is the updated amended tax return information that is effective as of the issuing of the guidance (8/13/15) and is for the 15/16 award year and beyond.  The below Q & A can be found on the program integrity Q & A website:

DOC-Q2. What documentation must be collected from an applicant who was selected for verification if the applicant and/or spouse, or parent(s) filed an amended tax return with the IRS?

DOC-A2. The Department’s objective is to ensure that Title IV aid eligibility determinations are made based on the most accurate information possible. However, the FAFSA on the Web IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) will only transfer certain, but not all, tax information from an original tax return and none of the tax information from an amended tax return. Therefore, when an institution is aware that an amended tax return was filed, the institution will need to use information from the documents below to complete and satisfy the verification requirements–

·         an IRS Tax Return Transcript (that will only include information from the original tax return and does not have to be signed), or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that include all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and

·         a signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS.

Individuals who originally utilized the IRS DRT to complete their FAFSA may not rely on that tax information to complete and satisfy the verification requirements if an amended tax return was filed. In this case, the documentation listed earlier must also be obtained in order to complete and satisfy the verification requirements. [Guidance issued 01/26/2012; revised 08/13/2015]

Please note that we are no longer asking for the original signed copy of the tax return.

SAP

Policy recently provided guidance dealing with altering SAP policies that I thought I would share in case other schools had similar questions.

Question:

Can we have an SAP policy just for veterans that allow us to only factor in the credit that counts towards their degree program on their transcripts, while for everyone else we will count all credit on their transcript?

Answer:

No, there are no separate standards for subsets of students.  Though you can have different SAP policies for different categories/groups of students (i.e. by program, enrollment status, grade level, etc.) you must apply the same standards to all students within those categories.  You cannot have separate standards for subsets of students.  You, of course, may adjust your overall policy on how you handle transfer credits, but then that policy must be applied consistently to all students.

FSA Handbook

Our final volume for the 15/16 FSA HDBK, Volume 2, should be posted within the week to IFAP.  Please stay tuned to IFAP.

Training

For those of you lucky enough to be working on your school’s FISAP reports I want to remind you that we recently posted an online, self-paced training module that focuses on the Fiscal Operations Report for 2014-2015 and Application to Participate for 2016-2017 (FISAP). This FISAP is available on the eCampus-Based (eCB) Web site and must be submitted no later than October 1, 2015 by schools that participate in the Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program, and Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. We will review the sections of the FISAP, identify changes made to the current FISAP, and discuss the most commonly made errors when completing the FISAP.

The “Completing the 2016-2017 FISAP” training module is available on the Federal Student Aid E-Training Web site, located at http://fsatraining.info.

Also, for those that were not able to attend the NASFAA conference this past July, all of the ED NASFAA sessions have been posted to IFAP under the conferences link – http://fsaconferences.ed.gov.  Just scroll down and click the 2015 NASFAA presentations link.

Remembrance

In case you were not aware, Marilyn LeBlanc, former director over the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and the Central Processing System, recently passed away on Thursday, August 6, 2015, after a valiant battle with cancer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Jeff Baker, and all of her family and friends.  She will truly be missed.

Now back to your regularly scheduled student, parent, administrator, or ED issue.

Flags Offer New Way for Schools to Track NSLDS Reaffirmation

August 21, 2015

In late 2014, Nelnet began tracking reaffirmation receipts from our borrowers. As we have done in the past, when we receive a signed reaffirmation letter from one of our borrowers, we send a confirmation letter to the borrower. With our students’ hectic lifestyles, these letters do not always make their way to our school partners who need them for their files. With NSLDS updates, schools have a new way to track whom has sent a signed reaffirmation letter and when Nelnet received it.

In March, after new programming went live on NSLDS, Nelnet began uploading receipts dating back to late 2014 so they flag on the student’s NSLDS account. School partners can now see all the reaffirmation data right on NSLDS. The flag and information will only show on NSLDS if Nelnet has received a signed letter from the student.

NSLDS will be flagged in two different places to indicate the reaffirmation.

First on the top of the page in the regular flag field.

flag1

Second on the individual loan.

flag2

If you click on the flag on the individual loan it will give you details on the overage amount and what kind of overage was found when Nelnet researched the account.

flag3

In this case, the student had an undergrad sub overage of $1,800. The reaffirmation date will be the date Nelnet processed the letter.

Depending on the amount and types of overages, there may be multiple loans showing the reaffirmation flag.

As always, if you have any questions on the reporting process or on an individual report/flag you can call the Nelnet School Service Center for assistance.

Reaching Out to Those Around Us: The Nelnet Way

August 20, 2015

Nelnet supports people and communities in need every day. We lend our hand to community programs such as the Ronald McDonald House of Aurora and the Lincoln City Impact’s Gifts of Love holiday store. By reaching out to those around us, we can help improve the communities in which we live and work.

Our Colorado associates support the Ronald McDonald House of Aurora, a charity that offers a loving place to stay for families who need to be near their seriously ill or injured children while they are being treated at a hospital far from home. We support this program in three ways: by buying, cooking, and serving dinners, donating household supplies, and sponsoring the Light the House campaign. Typically, our associates serve 75 houseguests and volunteers at each meal we provide, and often donate paper plates, garbage bags, and cleaning supplies to the house.

Associates also volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House of Aurora’s annual Light the House radio-thon campaign, of which Nelnet is a corporate sponsor. Last year, this event raised over $207,000, allowing the House to host 45 families each night, year-round. These families are then able to receive nutritious meals and a comfortable living space while their loved ones receive medical care.

Associates show off their love for volunteering with Ronald McDonald himself.

Associates show off their love for volunteering with Ronald McDonald himself.

In Nebraska, because roughly 18% of children live in poverty, our Lincoln office partakes in City Impact’s Gifts of Love holiday store. Last December, our associates donated 248 toys, 18 bikes with seven helmets, $2,906 and $190 in gift cards to the holiday store, where low-income families were able to purchase holiday gifts at 70% off retail value. By offering gifts at discounted prices, families in need may shop for their loved ones with dignity.

“I’ve volunteered at Gifts of Love for the past three years and absolutely love being part of such an amazing event,” says Claudia Hernandez, Bilingual Assistant Account Manager at Nelnet. “Helping people is one of the things I love most and being able to do it through work is even better.”

Nelnet also helps fund Lincoln City Impact’s Impact Reading Center, a program designed to help every student in the Lincoln Public School system read at or above grade level. By increasing reading skills at a young age, we believe we can lower drop-out rates, as well as help create a more educated world. Watch this video to see the impact this program has made on children.

Day by day, dollar by dollar, Nelnet aims to improve the lives of those in our communities. For more information about the organizations Nelnet supports, you may visit their websites at CityImpact.org, RonaldHouse.org/Aurora, or Nelnet.com/GiveBack.