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Latest from FSA: Ask a FED

August 24, 2015

Federal Training Officer David Bartnicki recently shared these updates:bartnicki

Gainful Employment

If you have not sent in all of your GE data to NSLDS yet, please keep working on it.  Pretty soon ED will be sending out communications to schools who have not sent in all of their GE data reminding them of their responsibility and possible future compliance actions for schools that fail to report GE data properly.

On August 20, 2015 we issued an electronic announcement discussing the new Gainful Employment Program Tracking webpage in NSLDS under the ORG Tab. This page provides a listing of the GE programs E
records show the institution offers. It also shows whether the institution has reported to NSLDS the GE information for the program that is required.  In addition,  a new online report is being created – GE Program Detail Response Status Report (GEDRS1) – which will provide users with the GE data that their institution has reported to NSLDS. This on-demand report is available under the Report Tab.

Verification

Yes, we changed the policy guidance surrounding amended tax returns yet again.  However, I can honestly say that your thoughtful comments and concerns helped shape our guidance.  Below is the updated amended tax return information that is effective as of the issuing of the guidance (8/13/15) and is for the 15/16 award year and beyond.  The below Q & A can be found on the program integrity Q & A website:

DOC-Q2. What documentation must be collected from an applicant who was selected for verification if the applicant and/or spouse, or parent(s) filed an amended tax return with the IRS?

DOC-A2. The Department’s objective is to ensure that Title IV aid eligibility determinations are made based on the most accurate information possible. However, the FAFSA on the Web IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) will only transfer certain, but not all, tax information from an original tax return and none of the tax information from an amended tax return. Therefore, when an institution is aware that an amended tax return was filed, the institution will need to use information from the documents below to complete and satisfy the verification requirements–

·         an IRS Tax Return Transcript (that will only include information from the original tax return and does not have to be signed), or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that include all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and

·         a signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS.

Individuals who originally utilized the IRS DRT to complete their FAFSA may not rely on that tax information to complete and satisfy the verification requirements if an amended tax return was filed. In this case, the documentation listed earlier must also be obtained in order to complete and satisfy the verification requirements. [Guidance issued 01/26/2012; revised 08/13/2015]

Please note that we are no longer asking for the original signed copy of the tax return.

SAP

Policy recently provided guidance dealing with altering SAP policies that I thought I would share in case other schools had similar questions.

Question:

Can we have an SAP policy just for veterans that allow us to only factor in the credit that counts towards their degree program on their transcripts, while for everyone else we will count all credit on their transcript?

Answer:

No, there are no separate standards for subsets of students.  Though you can have different SAP policies for different categories/groups of students (i.e. by program, enrollment status, grade level, etc.) you must apply the same standards to all students within those categories.  You cannot have separate standards for subsets of students.  You, of course, may adjust your overall policy on how you handle transfer credits, but then that policy must be applied consistently to all students.

FSA Handbook

Our final volume for the 15/16 FSA HDBK, Volume 2, should be posted within the week to IFAP.  Please stay tuned to IFAP.

Training

For those of you lucky enough to be working on your school’s FISAP reports I want to remind you that we recently posted an online, self-paced training module that focuses on the Fiscal Operations Report for 2014-2015 and Application to Participate for 2016-2017 (FISAP). This FISAP is available on the eCampus-Based (eCB) Web site and must be submitted no later than October 1, 2015 by schools that participate in the Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program, and Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. We will review the sections of the FISAP, identify changes made to the current FISAP, and discuss the most commonly made errors when completing the FISAP.

The “Completing the 2016-2017 FISAP” training module is available on the Federal Student Aid E-Training Web site, located at http://fsatraining.info.

Also, for those that were not able to attend the NASFAA conference this past July, all of the ED NASFAA sessions have been posted to IFAP under the conferences link – http://fsaconferences.ed.gov.  Just scroll down and click the 2015 NASFAA presentations link.

Remembrance

In case you were not aware, Marilyn LeBlanc, former director over the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and the Central Processing System, recently passed away on Thursday, August 6, 2015, after a valiant battle with cancer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Jeff Baker, and all of her family and friends.  She will truly be missed.

Now back to your regularly scheduled student, parent, administrator, or ED issue.

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