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Latest from FSA: Ask a FED

February 12, 2014

bartnickiFederal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently released these updates on Pell Grants, verification, the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations, and high school diplomas.

Pell Grants

As noted in our recently posted Dear Colleague Letter GEN-14-01, the maximum Pell Grant amount for 2014-2015 is $5,730 with a maximum Pell eligible EFC being 5157.  For a listing of all of our Pell payment and disbursement schedules for 2014-2015, please see GEN-14-01 – http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1401.html.

Verification

As mentioned in the November 8, 2013 electronic announcement that discussed ED’s suggested text for the verification process in 2014-2015, beginning with the 2013 tax year, a tax filer who is not able to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript because of identity theft, will be able to call a special IRS toll-free number (1-800-908-4490) for assistance.  Upon verification of identity, the tax filer can request the IRS provide a paper copy of an alternative document unique to identity theft issues (a Tax Return Data Base View form – TRDBV).

Another change beginning with tax year 2013 is with regards to requesting tax return transcripts online.  Once an online transcript request is validated, the IRS will return in real-time, a transcript in a portable document format (pdf).  Tax filers can then print, save and/or forward the pdf transcript as instructed by the school.

One important point to keep in mind when discussing transcripts is that regardless of the request method, the IRS cannot produce a transcript if it has not yet processed the filed tax return.

These updates and other guidance related to transcripts will be provided in an upcoming electronic announcement – stay tuned to IFAP.

And finally, please remember that all schools are required to update the verification identity and high school completion status results for students selected in 2014-2015 under verification tracking groups V4 and V5 in FAA Access to CPS Online.  The updates are required for students for whom the school received an ISIR with a Verification Tracking Group of V4 or V5 AND for whom the school requested verification documentation.  Please do NOT include students the school selected for verification of identity or high school completion status.  For more information, including potential time frames, instructional steps, and system guidance, please see the November 13, 2013 electronic announcement.

150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations

I continue to receive a high volume of calls and emails around the new 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations.  I am glad to announce that ED recently created a webpage dedicated to the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations which can be found on the right-hand side of the IFAP.ed.gov homepage (http://ifap.ed.gov/150PercentDirectSubsidizedLoanLimitInfo/index.html).  This webpage contains federal registers, Dear Colleague Letters, Electronic Announcements, over 50 Q & As, and various training and reference materials.  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.

One of the newest pieces of information related to the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan limitations is the release of the final federal register dated January 17, 2014.  The major changes to the regulations include –

  • Usage period calculations will now be rounded to the nearest 10.0 percent and not to the lowest 25.0 percent.
  • Both exceptions to the standard subsidized usage period calculations will now apply to borrowers who are enrolled part-time and receive the annual loan limit for a period of enrollment less than an academic year.  First the annual loan limit exception will be applied and then the part-time exception will be applied.
  • There are two new adjustments to the Maximum Eligibility Period (MEP) Calculations for 2-year bachelor’s degree completion programs and special admission associate degree programs.
    • Two-year bachelor’s degree completion programs that require an associate degree or 2 years of postsecondary coursework for admission is considered to be 4 years long (MEP = 6 years).
    • Special admission associate degree programs that require an associate degree or at least two years of coursework for admission is considered to be four years long (MEP = 6 years).  In addition, to be considered a special admission associate degree program, the program must have a selective admissions process and the coursework must be necessary for licensure or certification by the State for the student’s profession.

For more information on the recently published final federal register please see our electronic announcement dated January 17, 2014 – http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/011714RevisedFinalRegulationsPublished150PercentEANum8.html.

High School Diplomas

Policy recently created a new category under the program integrity Q & A website entitled “high school diploma.”  This category covers common questions dealing with when to verify high school diplomas, high school diploma equivalents, foreign high school diplomas, certificates of completion and many other key questions.  For more information, please review the new high school diploma category on the program integrity website which can be found on the right-hand side of the IFAP homepage or at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/integrity-qa.html.

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Kristi Jones, Southern Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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