Skip to content

Nelnet Helps Employees Give Back

July 24, 2015

One of Nelnet’s core values is giving back to our communities. On top of organizing numerous corporate charitable initiatives and programs, the company has a generous matching program for associates who want to make donations to their own favorite charities.

BlekPic1In January, I made a donation to the Vested Interest in K9s. This non-profit supplies ballistic- and stab-proof vests to law enforcement dogs across the United States through sponsorships and individual donations. Most law enforcement agencies don’t have the budget to provide their dogs with these vests, so the charity plays a role in protecting dogs while they’re on duty protecting us. My donation provided Max from the Aurora Police Department (in Colorado, where I live and Nelnet has offices) with a protective vest.

As part of the matching gift program, Nelnet made a donation in April, which provided Blek (pictured right) with a protective vest. Blek is a 20-month-old German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois cross born in Slovakia. He has been a member of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland since July 2014. Blek enjoys chew toys, playing ball, and laying out on the deck.

Blek’s protective vest would not have been possible without Nelnet’s matching program. Because I work for a company that encourages associates to give to the causes that matter most to them, Blek will be safe as he protects the people of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.

 

Dawn Knight, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Dawn Knight, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Ask a FED

July 24, 2015

bartnickiFederal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently shared these updates:

New Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) Requirements

I spoke with you in the last bulletin about the new DCL GEN-15-09 that the Department released on May 22, 2015. I continue to receive many questions around the new ATB rules, especially if a school has eligible career pathway programs.

First, I want to stress to FAAs that you need to make it clear to your administrators that the new ATB process is VERY different than the old ATB process. Unless a student meets the old ATB rules under the grandfather clause (GEN-12-09), they must be enrolled in an eligible career pathway program to be eligible for TIV under the new ATB criteria. Most schools do NOT have any current eligible career pathway programs or only have a few eligible programs.

Most of your students that do not have HS diplomas or an equivalent will not qualify for TIV aid under ATB because they are not enrolled in an eligible career pathway program. Again, this is a very different ATB process than what was allowed several years ago.

Second, in order to have an eligible career pathway program ALL of the requirements outlined in GEN-15-09 must be met for the program to be an eligible career pathway program. A career pathway program, as defined in section 484(d)(2) of the HEA, is a stand-alone program that contains two specific components within it – connected adult education and an eligible postsecondary program. And remember that it is only the eligible postsecondary program piece that is eligible for TIV aid. Since an eligible career pathway program contains an ineligible piece of adult education coursework, it will never be a TIV approved stand-alone program on your ECAR. This is a very unique and special program developed and designed to assist adult students without HS diplomas progress towards high school completion, postsecondary success and obtain or enhance employment.

Finally, ED updated the approved current ATB tests in a recent electronic announcement dated June 24, 2015, that can be used to support student eligibility for TIV aid. This list is different than what was listed in GEN-15-09. There are currently 2 ATB tests that can be used to support TIV eligibility – CELSA Forms 1 & 2 and ACCUPLACER. As of July 1, 2015, there will be 4 more approved ATB tests – Wonderlic Basic Skills Tests Verbal Forms VS-1/VS-2, Quantitative Forms QS-1/QS-2 both online and paper versions in both English and Spanish. In fact, as of November 1, 2015 only the Spanish Wonderlic tests can be used for Spanish speaking students for ATB purposes. For more test information, including passing scores, publisher contact information and a list of ATB tests no longer approved, please see the 6/24/15 EA.

State Authorization

ED recently posted GEN-15-10, which clearly indicates that the state authorization extensions will end as of June 30, 2015. As of July 1, 2015, all schools that participate in Title IV aid must be properly authorized by a state entity to provide education at a postsecondary level and, where appropriate, the state must have a proper complaint process. If a school’s state authorizing body does not meet ED’s state authorization regulations, a school may be deemed to not be properly authorized and could lose TIV eligibility.

Please note that GEN-15-10 is dealing with a school’s physical location(s) state authorization, not distance education program state authorization. Distance education state authorization at the federal level was vacated in court and it has not been formally updated as of yet. Of course, a school still remains responsible for meeting any and all state requirements.

If state officials have concerns, they should contact Sophia McArdle – (202) 219-7078; stateauthorization@ed.gov. If school officials have concerns, they should contact their school participation division (Atlanta, Kansas City or Philadelphia).

GE Programs

If you have not begun submitting your GE program, school and student data to NSLDS, please consider doing so soon. All initial data for the last 6 or 7 years must be received in NSLDS by July 31, 2015. This is extremely important since the data must be received by ED in order for us to properly calculate your GE debt to earning rates for program eligibility. If you still have questions or concerns, please contact GE-Questions@ed.gov or go to the GE website – http://www.ifap.ed.gov/GainfulEmploymentInfo/indexV2.html

Verification

On June 26, 2015, ED posted a federal register notice outlining the verification items and required documentation for 2016-2017. Please note that there were not any major changes. There may, however, be a couple of processing changes which will be explained in an upcoming DCL. Stay tuned.

As far as verification items and documentation, there were just a few minor changes to identity theft and amended tax returns. The federal register points out that for identity theft a student must now provide a TRDBV transcript and a signed and dated statement outlining that they were a victim of IRS identity theft. In addition, if a TRDBV is not available, the tax filer can provide a different IRS document or transcript, as long as it contains all of the required data in order to complete verification.

For tax filers that filed an amended return they must now provide the following 3 items: a copy of the original, signed tax return; a copy of an IRS transcript that lists all account information; and a signed 1040X.

In addition, the federal register indicates that, where applicable, a school can accept tax transcripts (or equivalent documents) from foreign countries, U.S. territories, or U.S. commonwealths to complete verification.

Perkins Loans

Please note that ED has posted a series of Q & As dealing with the upcoming wind-down of the Perkins Loan program in the upper right-hand corner of IFAP under “Hot Topics.” If you participate in the Perkins Loan program, please remember to periodically check the Q & As for any updates or new information.

Since I have been getting a lot of questions around the eligibility of grandfathered students who have undeclared majors, I did want to provide the following Q & A –

AWD-Q2: Are students who received their first Perkins Loan when they were enrolled in an “undeclared”, “undecided” or general education major eligible for the grandfather provision when they enroll in a major/program that has a different CIP code?

AWD-A2: Yes, an otherwise eligible Perkins Loan recipient who was enrolled in an undeclared, undecided or general education major in a Title IV eligible program would be eligible to receive a Perkins Loan in subsequent years as a “grandfathered student” when the student has a specific declared major. Of course, once the student is enrolled in a specific academic program, that program becomes the one the student must continue to be enrolled in to receive subsequent Perkins Loans as a grandfathered student.

A New Approach to Reaching Your Students, Part IV: Late Stage Delinquency

July 23, 2015

What You Know: Nsight Plus Letter Merge

As you may already know, Nsight Plus, Nelnet’s free reporting tool for schools, offers the ability to generate student-specific letters about their current student loan status. Administrators are able to easily pull borrower data from Nsight Plus, merge the data with the appropriate letter, place letters on your institution’s letterhead, and send by email or physical mail. Letter options include:

  • Deferment Ending – For borrowers within 60 days of their deferment end date
  • Forbearance Ending – For borrowers within 60 days of their forbearance end date
  • X-Days Past DueFor borrowers between 60 and 240 days delinquent
  • Late Stage Delinquency – For borrowers between 241 and 360 days delinquent

You are able to create either letters for a group of students or just individual letters. These letters are available for any borrower serviced by Nelnet, along with those serviced by EdFinancial, Granite State, OSLA, and VSAC. Click here for a step-by-step guide to creating these letters.

A New Approach: Combining Communication with Education

On their own, Nsight Plus’ letters are valuable default prevention and management tools. However, combined with the appropriate Nelnet resources, we think these letters could be an especially powerful tool for your institution. By using our letters in tandem with our resources, borrowers will not only be informed of their loan status, but they will also receive a brief, to-the-point education on topics critical to them in their current status. This is the fourth and final article in our series that looks at how to effectively package letters from Nsight Plus with Nelnet’s resources. In previous articles, we have addressed how to use the Deferment EndingForbearance Ending, and X-Days Past Due letters.

The Late Stage Delinquency letter is sent to borrowers who are 241 to 360 days delinquent. It warns borrowers that if no action is taken, their loan(s) will default in 30 days. The letter lets the borrower know how many days past due their payment is includes ways to contact Nelnet and make that payment. Here is an example of the Late Stage Delinquency letter:

 

late stage delinquency

 

Educating borrowers about their situation can help them make wise, educated decisions about student loan repayment. Include our resource on How to Avoid Delinquency and Default on Your Student Loan to help borrowers in late stage delinquency understand the consequences of not making payments. In addition, you could send these borrowers Understanding Deferment and Forbearance, which lays out various options available to borrowers who are struggling to make payments. By pairing these materials with the Late Stage Delinquency letter, borrowers will understand not only that their payment is due, but also why responsible repayment is important to their financial wellbeing.

htadeferment and forb

 

 

To sign up for Nsight Plus and start integrating our letters into your school’s default prevention plan, click here. For a look at more useful resources, visit our library.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Latest from FSA: Reaffirmation Data on NSLDS

July 23, 2015

FSA recently made enhancements to NSLDS to allow for reporting of reaffirmation agreements from lenders, lender servicers, and federal loan servicers and for reporting on the ISIR. Reporting reaffirmation data to NSLDS is required for federal loan servicers and optional for FFELP lenders and lender servicers.

For more information, please see the original Electronic Announcement.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Latest from FSA: Training Conference Registration Now Open

July 20, 2015

fsa

Registration for the 2015 FSA Training Conference is now open. You can complete your registration and book lodging at FSAConferences.ed.gov.

As a reminder, the conference will be held December 1-4, 2015, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Program and session information will be posted in the coming months.

For more details, please see FSA’s recent Electronic Announcement or visit the conference website.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

How Does Nelnet Communicate with Borrowers?

July 17, 2015

In school

Nelnet establishes a relationship with borrowers by communicating regularly throughout every stage of the student loan life cycle. To make sure borrowers have the information they need to get the most out of their student loan experience, we regularly send them emails, mailers, letters, and phone message blasts. Nelnet continuously researches how to best reach borrowers, and our ability to keep up with their needs has helped us receive the highest borrower satisfaction score amongst the TIVAS servicers on FSA’s most recent survey.

To help our school partners better understand how Nelnet communicates with borrowers, we’ve created our Borrower Communication Summary. This timeline details the communication pieces we send to students and when they are sent.

Download the Borrower Communication Summary so you and your students know what to expect from Nelnet at every stage of the student loan life cycle.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

ICYMI: 2015-2016 Interest Rate Chart

July 16, 2015

interest rate chart

 

On July 1, FSA’s 2015-2016 Direct Loan interest rates went into effect. The new rates apply to Direct Loans first disbursed between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. We’ve updated our interest rate chart so that you can keep the new rates handy or share them with your students.

Click here to download the 2015-2016 interest rate chart. 

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet