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Latest from FSA: 5 Questions to Ask Before Postponing Federal Student Loan Payments

June 19, 2017

latestfromfsa

FSA recently posted a blog with helpful tips for anyone considering postponing their federal student loan payments. The blog post, found at HOMEROOM, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education, offers five questions that borrowers should ask themselves before deciding to postpone their student loan payments.

Check out the helpful tips and feel free to share this post with your students.

New FSA Quick Takes Videos

June 19, 2017

FSA E-Training has two new Quick Takes Videos:

Each video lasts less than 10 minutes, meaning you may spend more time waiting for a cup of coffee than you need to learn valuable information from FSA. Fit them in whenever you can over the course of your busy day.

For more FSA training opportunities, log in to http://fsatraining.info/.

Latest from FSA: Fundamentals of FSA Administration Training Workshops

June 5, 2017

FSA recently announced details for its upcoming Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration training workshops. Each instructor-led, in-person workshop will last 4 1/2 days and will be conducted at on of the Department of Education’s regional training facilities.

As noted in the announcement, all participants wishing to attend one of these workshops “must first successfully complete an online course titled Introduction to Federal Student Aid. The online course may take up to 20 hours to complete, so please plan accordingly.”

The online course and the in-person workshop will address the following topics:

  • What are the Title IV federal student aid programs?
  • How does a school obtain and maintain institutional eligibility?
  • What must a school do to request and receive funds from the Department of Education?
  • What policies and procedures does a school need to have in place?
  • How does a school process aid for its students by determining eligibility, calculating financial need, packaging aid, adjusting aid, and recalculating aid?
  • What are the requirements for disbursing aid to students?
  • What must a school do in regard to exit interviews and calculating a return of Title IV aid (R2T4)?
  • What are the reporting requirements for a school?

Workshop hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday. Owners/Presidents/CEOs will have additional, early classes Tuesday through Thursday that begin at 8 a.m. The workshop schedule follows.

July 17–21, 2017 Boston, MA
August 21–25, 2017 Atlanta, GA
September 11–15, 2017 Chicago, IL
September 25–29, 2017 New York, NY
October 30–November 3, 2017 Dallas, TX
(for clock-hour schools only)
November 13–17, 2017 Philadelphia, PA
January 22–26, 2018 San Francisco, CA
February 26–March 2, 2018 Chicago, IL
March 19–23, 2018 Kansas City, MO
April 9–13, 2018 New York, NY
May 7–11, 2018 Washington, DC
June 18–22, 2018 Denver, CO

 

For more details on these workshops, including mandatory attendees and registration information, see FSA’s original announcement.

Latest from FSA: FSA ID Enhancements Implemented

May 17, 2017

latestfromfsa

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.