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Latest from FSA: Ask a FED

November 21, 2013

bartnickiFederal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently published this article, sharing updates on verification, 150% loan limitations, default management, and more. Take special note of the last paragraph, which provides information about the FSA Ask a FED desk, where you can schedule a 30 minute meeting with a FED.

A few topics to discuss:

 Verification

I am proud to say that the suggested text to complete verification for the 2014-2015 FAFSAs was posted in an electronic announcement dated November 8, 2013.  This was a full 2 months earlier than when we were able to provide the suggested text for 13/14.  We truly are working to provide you the most helpful information in as timely a manner as possible.

Like last year’s electronic announcement, aside from the suggested text, the November 8th announcement also contains appendices outlining the various verification items, key considerations for each item, and an example of how schools may use the suggested text to develop an institutional verification document.

Please remember that, except for the Statement of Education Purpose used for V4 and V5, schools are not required to use the suggested text when developing their own verification forms.   In addition, we have provided suggested text for the new V6 verification tracking group both when first obtaining other untaxed income information and when the school has to go back to the student/parent for additional financial information to help explain how the family was financially supported during the 2013 calendar year.

Another big electronic announcement that came out related to verification was the October 23, 2013 announcement that outlined the alternative documentation tax filers could use to complete verification when they were unable to obtain an IRS tax return transcript.  The alternative documentation is the same as what was allowed last year and includes – a signed 2012 tax return, signed documentation supporting that transcripts were unavailable (screen shots from the IRS web page or written IRS responses) and a 4506T-EZ or 4506-T on file with the school listed as the third party to receive a transcript if necessary.  Please note that this announcement provides guidance only for the remainder of the 2013-2014 award year.   This does NOT pertain to the 2014-2015 award year.  For specific details please review the 10/23/13 electronic announcement. 

Preparatory Coursework and Teacher Certification Coursework

I have gotten several questions lately about how loan amounts received for preparatory coursework or teacher certification coursework impact a student’s loan eligibility.  I wanted to remind schools that loan amounts received for either preparatory coursework or for teacher certification coursework during the same academic year period in which a student receives loans for a degree or certificate program count against the regular annual loan limits. In addition, loan amounts received for preparatory coursework or teacher certification coursework also count against the regular aggregate loan limits.

150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations

I continue to receive a high volume of calls and emails around the new 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations.  We recently held another round of webinars on this topic last week, which if you missed, should be posted to IFAP in the near future.  We are providing information on this topic on a regular basis and it is very important to monitor IFAP for any updates and new information.  Below are a couple of recent announcements –

    • EA dated 11/12/13 – limited situations where a school has to calculate remaining subsidized loan eligibility for 2013-2014.  Provided an Excel spreadsheet to assist schools determine if they have to perform the calculation and the actual calculation itself.
    • EA dated 10/25/13 – to account for Direct Subsidized Loans made to first-time borrowers for enrollment in a qualifying teacher certification program for 2013-2014, schools must submit to the COD System a special Teacher Certification Program Ad-Hoc Reporting File with information for loans that were originated using a COD System release prior to the 2014-2015 release.  Once available, ED will post any report specifications and report deadlines.

 Default Management

As many of you know, starting next year, schools will only receive a 3-year cohort default rate.  And since many schools have seen their rates increase with the 3-year rates, I often get calls about ways to help manage their cohort default rates.  So, I am very pleased to announce instructor-led, online training that will discuss what schools need to know about the cohort default rate process and default management.  Institutions with rates of 30% or more for three consecutive years are required to take specific corrective action to manage and prevent future defaults, and ultimately may lose their eligibility to participate in the Title IV programs should these efforts fail.

This upcoming webinar will provide valuable information on the cohort default rate calculation, the challenges and appeals process, and required corrective action resulting from high cohort default rates. How to implement an effective default prevention strategy will also be discussed.

We will present this information in a one-hour session offered on four separate occasions: November 19th at 11:00 A.M. (ET), November 21st at 3:00 P.M. (ET), December 10th at 4:00 P.M. (ET), and again on December 12th at 12:00 P.M. (ET).

For information about how to register for this important and timely webinar, please review the Dear Colleague Letter – ANN-13-17 (http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/ANN1317.html)

Training

And for all those attending the FSA Training Conference in Las Vegas December 3-6, 2013 I wanted to point out a new feature this year for the Ask A FED desk.  Like last year it will be possible for you to set-up a 30 minute appointment with a FED so you do not have to wait in any long lines, but new for this year you can actually set-up your Ask A FED appointment NOW.  Yes, I said now.  To ensure that you get a good time slot that fits in with your busy conference schedule, simply send an email to AskAFed@ed.gov outlining your 2 or 3 top appointment times between 8:30-6:00 Tuesday-Thursday and 8:30-3:00 Friday and an ED representative will get back with you either confirming your appointment or asking for additional information.   Why stand in line, when you can be saving time!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving break.  Safe travels with lots of good food and good times.

Your neighborhood FED,

DAVE

David Bartnicki

Federal Training Officer

ED/FSA/Atlanta

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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