Federal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently shared these updates:
Title IV Updates:
We recently posted an electronic announcement on January 20, 2016 indicating that ED adjusted the criteria used to flag a FAFSA for UEH. Beginning January 1, 2016, we began monitoring FAFSA applicants’ enrollment history separately for their undergraduate and graduate receipt of Title IV aid. This will prevent a student from being selected for UEH monitoring simply because of enrollment at other institutions prior to becoming a graduate student.
Please note that graduate students can still receive a UEH flag, but it will be based on their enrollment history as a graduate student.
To minimize the graduate student issue for the remainder of the 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle, this change will be applied to both the new 2016-2017 FAFSA cycle and to the ongoing 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle. Some institutions will receive system-generated 2015-2016 ISIRs for students as a result of this postscreening where the UEH value changed from ‘2’ or ‘3’ to ‘blank’. Institutions may choose whether or not to review these ISIRs. In some instances a review might result in the elimination of the need for the institution to resolve a UEH status from an earlier ISIR transaction.
To make it as easy as possible for institutions to manage these ISIRs, they will:
- Be produced on one specific date – January 22, 2016 – and no other ISIRs produced as a result of NSLDS postscreening will be produced on that date.
- Be sent in SAIG Message Class ‘IGSG16OP’
- Have a Transaction Data Source value of ‘5N’
- Have a Postscreening Reason Code value of ’24’
Many schools have had questions in response to the changes in the law surrounding the Perkins program. The Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 (signed into law December 18, 2015) replaced all former guidance on the wind-down of the Perkins Loan Program. ED is finalizing a new Dear Colleague Letter that will address the changes in the program and how it impacts your students’ ability to borrow Perkins loans in the future. Please note that though the old grandfather restrictions are no longer applicable, there are new restrictions associated with the new legislation for undergraduate and graduate students and I recommend waiting to award any new Perkins loans until the Department issues official guidance. Please stay tuned to IFAP.
FYI – if you are looking for the prior Perkins Q&A’s on IFAP they have been removed and will be updated accordingly with any new questions associated with the new Perkins law.
ATB and Career Pathway Programs
Just when you thought you had a handle on the new Career Pathway Program rules, Congress recently modified the law surrounding Career Pathway Programs. The Appropriations Act of 2016 modified the definition of a Career Pathway Program pretty significantly and modified other aspects of awarding TIV aid within Career Pathway Programs, including the prior Pell restrictions. ED is currently working on a Dear Colleague Letter that will fully outline the new requirements and changes, along with any timeframes and how the new law can be implemented for current ATB students. Please stay tuned to IFAP.
Electronic announcement dated January 19, 2016 provides updates, HTML specifications, and the Institutional Metric Data file for the 2016-2017 Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. It also includes attachments such as the new 16-17 shopping sheet template, FAQs, school data files and specific file layouts. Please see the January 19, 2016 electronic announcement for more information – http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/011916FinancialAidShoppingSheet20162017.html.
Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program for Lenders and Lender Servicers
Several schools have contacted me looking for information regarding prior HEAL loans receive by current students. On July 1, 2014, the HEAL Program was transferred from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the U.S. Department of Education. For questions related to the HEAL Program, use the contact information listed below.
HEAL – General
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.
HEAL – Claims
U.S. Department of Education
50 Beale Street #8629
San Francisco, CA 94105
Additional information can be found on ED’s HEAL webpage – http://ifap.ed.gov/HEALInfo/HEALInfo.html.
ED recently updated the FSA COACH website to now include sections geared toward more experienced financial aid administrators. FSA COACH is no longer just for beginners. The new sections provide updated information on UEH, Pell LEU, Subsidized DL interest issues, awarding Title IV aid in the summer and modules and dealing with R2T4 and modules. For more information please see ANN-16-01 (http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/ANN1601.html).
Start packing because ED has already announced we are having the 2016 FSA Training Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2016 FSA Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals will be held from Tuesday, November 29 to Friday, December 2, 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center (where it was held in 2014). This is great news for SASFAA since the location allows a lot of our colleagues the chance to attend, learn and interact with ED and school staff from around the country. For conference information, please see our website at – fsaconferences.ed.gov.
For those in FL, GA, AL, MS, NC or SC there is a new Institutional Improvement Specialist (IIS) on the Atlanta School Participation Team. Arva Thomas recently joined the IIS ranks replacing Laura Hall who retired last year. Arva has been a program reviewer and eligibility specialist on the Atlanta Team for many years and is looking forward to her new duties as an IIS. She joins Cassandra Weems as the other IIS on the Atlanta Team. IISs work one-on-one with schools providing technical assistance, policy reviews and new school visits to schools throughout the SE. Arva can be reached at email@example.com; 404.974.9412.
In addition, we have hired several new program reviewers, eligibility specialists and audit specialists on the Atlanta School Participation Team so don’t be surprised if a new FED ends up working with you as you continue to administer the Title IV programs. It might be a good idea to renew or begin a relationship with your Point-of-Contact on the Atlanta Team – 404.974.9303.
Hope to see many folks at the SASFAA Conference and I might just answer a question or two.
As a direct loan servicer, Nelnet’s Partner Solutions team receives questions from the school financial aid and borrower community on a regular basis. To share the information and educate our school partners, Partner Solutions enjoys sharing some of the more relevant and well-timed questions that we receive.
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Setting up a new user in Nsight Plus is as easy as completing a short eForm. Once you click Submit, your information will head to our School Service Center. After processing your information (which typically occurs within two business days), the School Service Center will email you your login credentials, along with general instructions on getting started.
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FSA recently announced the approval of revised loan deferment and mandatory forbearance request forms for the Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins Loan programs.
These revised forms have an expiration date of September 30, 2018, and include:
- In-School Deferment Request (SCH) – Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins
- Graduate Fellowship Deferment Request (GFL) – Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins
- Rehabilitation Training Program Deferment Request (RHT) – Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins
- Unemployment Deferment Request (UNEM) – Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins
- Economic Hardship Deferment Request (HRD) – Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins
- Parent PLUS Borrower Deferment Request (PLUS) – Direct Loan and FFEL
- Temporary Total Disability Deferment Request (TDIS) – Direct Loan and FFEL
These updated forms, along with FSA’s original announcement, are available at http://www.ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1602.html.
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FSA recently announced a new module for FSA Coach: the Intermediate Training course. This course offers a self-paced, interactive training opportunity, designed for experienced financial aid administrators.
The Intermediate Training course covers a variety of topics, including:
- Beyond the Basics of Packaging: Awarding for Summer Sessions and Modules
- Beyond the Basics of R2T4, Including R2T4 for Modules
- Limits to Direct Subsidized Loan Interest Benefits
- Monitoring for Pell Grant LEU and Resolving Unusual Enrollment History Flags
The FSA Coach Intermediate Training course is available at http://fsatraining.info/.
Check out the original Dear Colleague Letter, for more details and instructions for accessing the module.
FSA recently announced dates for the 2016 FSA Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals. The conference will take place from Tuesday, November 29 to Friday, December 2, 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The conference is designed for financial aid professionals across the financial aid community, and offers hands-on, face-to-face training.
Conference registration will open this summer.
FSA recently announced a new Loan Servicing and Collection Information page on the IFAP website. This page consolidates servicing and collection information, and includes links to important resources, including:
- Servicing Overview
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Borrower Resources
- National Student Loan Data System
Each time FSA updates this page, they will post a notice on the IFAP “What’s New” page, as well as through the IFAP subscription email.