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Latest from FSA: FSA ID Enhancements Implemented

May 17, 2017


FSA recently announced that FSA ID enhancements – including the ability to add SMS/text messaging to FSA ID accounts – were successfully implemented over the weekend.

According to FSA’s announcement, “After registering a mobile phone number on the FSA ID website, a user who has forgotten his or her username or password, or who has an FSA ID account that is locked, may request that a secure code be texted to the verified mobile phone. The user enters the secure code on the FSA ID website and may then continue with the process to reset the password, retrieve the username, or unlock the account.”

To help users with new processes, FSA has published a new fact sheet and plans to release new video tutorials in the near future.

For more details on new FSA ID features, check out FSA’s announcement.

Exit Counseling is Here. Are You Ready?

May 8, 2017

As graduation nears, students face an overwhelming number of questions. Where will I work? Where will I live? What happens next with my federal student loans?

While we can’t predict answers for the first two questions, we’re here today to help with the third. More specifically, with exit counseling. Students who graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, and have received a subsidized, unsubsidized, or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or FFEL Program must complete exit counseling. The exit counseling process helps ensure that students understand their responsibilities as a student loan borrower as well as what to expect upon entering repayment.

For schools, FSA offers a helpful guide that details exit counseling requirements. This downloadable, 40-page brochure explains loan types, interest rates, repayment plans, and more. Financial aid offices may review this guide with their students in order to help them complete their exit counseling responsibilities.

If your school allows, your students may complete online exit counseling through the FSA website. Online exit counseling provides students with important information to help prepare them for federal student loan repayment. The online exit counseling process typically takes 20-30 minutes and must be completed in a single session.

While the future holds exiting opportunities for graduating students, it also presents a new responsibility with student loan repayment. The exit counseling process helps students start off on the right foot.

If you have any questions about exit counseling, contact us. We’re always glad to help.


Latest from FSA: Status of FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool

May 3, 2017

FSA recently posted an update on the status of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT), which was removed in March due to privacy and security concerns.

The update notes that changes are being implemented in order to reinstate the use of the IRS DRT for the 2018-19 FAFSA cycle. To enhance the security and privacy of sensitive personal data transferred from the IRS to the FAFSA, the updated solution will limit the information that displays to the applicant. Per the announcement, the updated IRS DRT will launch on October 1, 2017, meaning it will remain unavailable to 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSA filers. That said, students and parents can still apply for financial aid by manually entering their tax return information into the FAFSA.

For more details on the latest IRS DRT update, see FSA’s announcement.

Latest from FSA: Summer Term Enrollment Reporting to NSLDS

April 26, 2017

FSA recently provided guidance regarding how schools should report enrollment to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) during the summer for students enrolled in the preceding spring term and expected to enroll for the upcoming fall term.

In summation, students are considered to be continuously enrolled at least half time during the summer as long as:

  • There is no reason for the school to believe that the student will not enroll at least half time for the fall term
  • The student was enrolled at least half time at the end of the spring term

FSA’s announcement also includes the following table, which provides examples of how schools should report students for the summer term based on the student’s enrollment in the preceding spring term.

If the student is enrolled at the end of the spring term – And during the summer term is – The school should report during the summer –
Full time Not enrolled Full time
Full time Full time Full time
Full time Half time Half time (with an effective date of the beginning of the summer)
Full time Less than half time Full time
Half time Not enrolled Half time
Half time Full time Full time (with an effective date of the beginning of the summer)
Half time Half time Half time
Half time Less than half time Half time
Less than half time Not enrolled Less than half time
Less than half time Full time Full time (with an effective date of the beginning of the summer)
Less than half time Half time Half time (with an effective date of the beginning of the summer)
Less than half time Less than half time Less than half time

For full details, including information on when a student should be reported as “Withdrawn,” please refer to FSA’s original announcement.

Latest from FSA: Upcoming FSA ID Enhancements

April 20, 2017

FSA recently announced a variety of enhancements to the FSA ID experience, which will be implemented based on feedback from users and financial aid professionals. These changes will allow more effective account management, strengthened security, and updated training resources.

These enhancements, which will be implemented on May 14, 2017, include:

  • Text messaging as an option for account recovery
  • Improved navigation on User Account Management pages
  • Removal of the option to link FSA PINs to FSA IDs
  • New video tutorials
  • New fact sheet
  • And more

For more information on these enhancements, check out FSA’s original release.


Latest from FSA: FSA Posts Updated Reports to FSA Data Center

April 17, 2017


In March, FSA posted several updates to the FSA Data Center, refreshing quarterly application, disbursement, and portfolio reports to include data through year-end 2016.

FSA’s updates included several key findings in areas that include:

  • Application Volume and Aid Disbursements
  • Shifts in the Outstanding Loan Portfolio
  • Increased Enrollment in Income-Driven Repayment Plans
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Defaults and Delinquency Rates
  • Default Recoveries

For full details on these findings, check out FSA’s original release.

Reminder: Protect PII when Submitting Documents to the Nelnet School Service Center

April 11, 2017

Recently, Nelnet’s School Service Center has encountered an increase in the number of schools and third parties submitting documents without proper protection of personally identifiable information (PII). We would like to take this opportunity to remind all schools and third parties that PII must be protected when submitted to a servicer. We recommend following the guidelines outlined below.

  1. When emailing documents containing PII, save them as new files and password-protect or encrypt them. Send the encrypted documents as email attachments and provide the password (if applicable) in a separate email or by phone.
    1. Note: If you use email-encryption software, the encrypting and attaching process will be handled by the software.
  2. Never email PII to a personal email account. Nelnet employees will never ask you to do so.

As a reminder, PII is any information about an individual that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. Examples include name, social security number, date of birth, and place of birth. Loss of PII can lead to identity theft and/or other fraudulent use of the information.

If you have any questions on this process, please contact the Nelnet School Service Center at 866.463.5638.