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Celebrating Summer and Volunteering the Nelnet Way

July 22, 2016

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At Nelnet, we love summer not only because it combines baseball games and sunshine, but also because it allows us to pair one of our core values with being active outside. Giving back to the communities in which we live and work is even more rewarding when paired with sunny days.

Associates were able to revel in volunteerism and summer heat in May as they took part in the Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association. Nelnet was named a top walker for the third year in a row, with over 218 associates in attendance. Family members and favorite pets joined associates as they took one Saturday morning to come together and raise money for heart disease prevention.

Wellness Program Coordinator Rick Rautenberg said events like the Heart Walk are important for promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness and education for life-threatening issues, such as heart disease.

“Volunteering in the communities we live in is as equally important to our personal well-being as staying physically active and living a life full of balance,” Rautenberg said. “Citizens that get involved and show pride in their community help create a positive environment for those around us. It can be contagious and go a long way towards making positive change in our communities.”

Along with having top attendance, associates helped to raise funds to go toward research and tools to prevent heart disease. This summer, associates were also able to enjoy being active outside in June at Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

“Getting involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event helps to promote cancer awareness and education,” Casey Carl, a supervisor, said. “It’s encouraging when people from within our community come together to support these types of causes, it shows that there are still a lot of caring people in this world.”

Carl previously coordinated Nelnet’s involvement in the walk when he worked in Colorado. Upon moving to Lincoln, he became part of the team that helped Nelnet begin participating in the event in Nebraska for the first time this year.

Associates embodied the 2016 theme and helped “Paint Your World Purple” by walking, jumping in bounce houses, participating in silent auctions, and eating at food trucks, all to celebrate lives, remember loved ones, and fight back against cancer. Nelnet team captain Mary Hulbert said volunteering has been important all of her life because of the good it does in the community and also because of the connections one makes.

“With so many associates and departments within Nelnet, you get stuck in your own little world,” Hulbert said. “Spreading your passion for volunteering for Relay for Life let me meet new people within Nelnet and form bonds that I wouldn’t have if I had just sat in my chair.”

Over 100 associates joined the team and helped fundraise. Next year, Nelnet hopes to double the money raised and the number of associates who participate.

The reasons to volunteer are countless. Spreading good and helping build a more educated world not only helps the community, but is a key part of Nelnet’s mission. Whether it be attending Nelnet-sponsored sporting events, or teaming up for local giving challenges, summer is perfect for using quality time to stay happy, healthy, and give back.

Thanks for a Great NASFAA Conference

July 20, 2016

Thanks to our school partners and industry peers for making the 2016 NASFAA Conference fun and successful. Happy 50th Anniversary, NASFAA!

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Latest from FSA: Financial Aid Tips for Graduate Students

July 18, 2016

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Do you ever get questions from graduate students seeking advice on how they can cover grad school expenses after paying for four (or more) years of undergrad?

FSA recently tweeted a Department of Education blog post with four financial aid tips for graduate students. Please feel free to share this link with your students, whether they are already graduate students or currently considering graduate opportunities.

Ask a Fed: GE, Sequestration, Campus Safety, and more

July 6, 2016

Federal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently provided these updates:bartnicki

Gainful Employment

Please stay tuned to IFAP for GE updates. There is a lot of guidance to review and stay abreast on. Below are some of the more recent announcements:

  • GE EA #79 – completer list view and import tools
  • GE EA #80 – additional information and helpful hints related to the completer list
  • GE EA #81 – completer list correction deadline in NSLDS is July 28, 2016

In addition, we have recorded and posted the recent GE webinars on the completer list and the completer list correction process. Please see ANN-16-10 and ANN-16-11 for links to view the recorded sessions and download presentation materials.

Sequestration FY2017

ED recently posted GEN-16-11 which outlines all of the sequestration changes to the Direct Loan, TEACH and Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant programs for FY2017.

For Direct Loans where the first disbursement is made on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017:

  • The loan fee for Direct Subsidized Loans and for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 1.069%
  • The loan fee for Direct PLUS Loans (for both parent borrowers and graduate and professional student borrowers) is 4.276%.

A TEACH Grant where the first disbursement is on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017 requires a reduction of 6.9 percent from the award amount for which the student would otherwise have been eligible.

An Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant where the first disbursement is on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017 requires a reduction of 6.9 percent from the award amount for which the student would otherwise have been eligible.

For more detailed information about these changes, please see GEN-16-11.

College Lists on 2017-18 ISIRs for State Agencies

I have received lots of questions from state agencies around whether or not they will get to view all schools a student lists on the ISIR and whether or not the order will be random. 

On June 8, 2016, the Department published an electronic announcement indicating that we will be delaying implementation of the randomization of the colleges until the 2018-2019 FAFSA. Therefore, 2017-2018 ISIRs sent to state grant agencies will continue to present colleges in the order that they were listed by the student on the FAFSA.

Campus Safety and Security Reporting Handbook

The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting has been updated and is a great resource created by the Department to help institutions comply with the requirements of the Clery Act. The updated Campus Safety and Security Handbook contains information for institutions regarding compliance with the new Violence Against Women’s Act requirements. The new version of the Handbook can be found as an attachment to the June 23, 2016 electronic announcement or on the Office of Postsecondary Education’s website.

Questions regarding compliance with the Clery Act can be directed to the Campus Safety Help Desk at 800.435.5985 or by email at campussafetyhelp@westat.com.

Borrower Defense NPRM

On June 16, 2016, the Department published a notice of proposed rule-making containing regulations around a borrower’s defense to repay Federal Direct Loans. Specifically the NPRM addresses the following topics:

  • Establish a new Federal standard and a process for determining whether a borrower has a defense to repayment on a Direct Loan based on an act or omission of a school.
  • Prohibit participating schools from using certain contractual provisions regarding dispute resolution processes, such as mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements or class action waivers, and to require certain notifications and disclosures by schools regarding their use of arbitration.
  • Codify our current policy regarding the impact that discharges have on the 150 percent Direct Subsidized Loan Limit.
  • Revise the financial responsibility standards and add disclosure requirements for schools.
  • Amend discharge provisions in the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan), Direct Loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant programs.

Please remember that with an NPRM the public as the ability to comment on the proposed rule changes. All comments must be received by August 1, 2016 in order to be considered as we develop our final regulations on these topics. For a detailed discussion around borrower defense and to review the actual draft regulations, please see the June 16, 2016 federal register

Private Education Loan Self-Certification Form

Some schools have noted that the self-certification form attached to GEN-13-15 that is used by institutions and private education loan lenders expired as of 5/31/16. At this time, Federal Student Aid is reviewing the self-certification form but until we post a new or revised self-certification form, the form contained in GEN-13-15 can continue to be used.

Career Pathway Programs and ATB Students

I wanted to point out to any of my schools that currently offer TIV eligible career pathway programs or are thinking about offering eligible career pathway programs to a resource available to schools seeking more information about the nature of Career Pathways Programs, the Career Pathways Toolkit. The PDF Toolkit document is available at the Department of Labor website. It may also be accessed via the announcement of the Toolkit’s release. You may find additional resources of use to schools at this site. 

Cash Management

Don’t forget that most of the new cash management rules became effective today, July 1, 2016. 

In addition, since I have gotten a few questions around holding TIV credit balances, I wanted to stress that the new restriction that a school cannot obtain a student authorization to hold a TIV credit balance is ONLY for schools placed on reimbursement or heightened cash monitoring by the Department of Education. If you are not on reimbursement or heightened cash monitoring, then you may still obtain student/parent authorizations to hold TIV credit balances.

FSA Training Conference

Lodging and registration is NOW open at http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/

Please join us for a knowledge-packed TIV conference November 29-December 2, 2016 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Please note that hotel space fills up fast so please make your room reservations as soon as you can. Hope to see a good turn out from our SASFAA colleagues. 

Latest from FSA: FSA Training Conference Registration Now Open

July 6, 2016

Registration and lodging for the 2016 FSA Training Conference are now open.

The 2016 FSA Training Conference will take place from November 29 to December 2 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 2016 conference will focus on topics related to changes in FSA Title IV legislation, corresponding regulations affecting the FAFSA, Direct Loans, cash management, loan reconciliation, repayment options, verification and more. Specific program and session information will be posted in the coming months.

For more information about the 2016 FSA Training Conference, visit http://fsaconferences.ed.gov.

Find Nelnet at NASFAA

July 5, 2016

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Five days.

… Hold on, let’s try that again…

FIVE DAYS!

That’s better.

We’re just five days away from NASFAA – in Washington, D.C., from July 10-13 – and we hope to see you there.

Be sure to come by the Nelnet Booth to get resources for your students, grab some swag, or just to say hi.

See you in D.C.

New Spanish Handouts Available in Our Library

July 5, 2016

To better serve our borrowers, we have translated two popular borrower resources to Spanish. We hope that these two documents will assist Spanish-speaking students over the course of their student loan life cycle.

Our Avoiding Delinquency and Default handout provides borrowers with four simple ways to contact Nelnet to avoid delinquency and default.

The Student Loan Type Comparison PDF lays out different student loans options, along with their eligibility requirements, interest rates, loan limits, and more.

Both the Spanish and English versions of these documents can be found  in our library of resources at NelnetLoanServicing.com. Feel free to provide them to your students or make them available on your office’s website.