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Important Dates:

  • 07-31-17 Direct Loan closeout deadline for the 2015-2016 Program Year
  • 04-24-17 Deadline for electronic submission of a school’s 2017-2018 Federal Work Study Community Service waiver request (see update below)

Reminder from FA Solutions: At the end of each issue of the Fed-Updates Newsletter are links to a few informational pages on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. Since we are unable to post all Federal updates and deadlines in this newsletter, schools/organizations are encouraged to review the IFAP website weekly to stay current on various financial aid topics — especially deadlines.

2017-2018 Federal Work-Study Program Community Service Waiver Requests: Section 443(b)(2)(A) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) and the implementing regulations at 34 CFR 675.18(g) set forth the community service expenditure requirements under the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program that a school must meet unless the school is granted a waiver of the community service requirement from the Secretary. The Department of Education has issued an announcement that explains how a school requests a waiver of the community service expenditure requirements under the FWS Program for the 2017-2018 Award Year. The deadline for electronic submission of a school’s 2017-2018 FWS Community Service waiver request is 11:59 P.M. (ET) on Monday, April 24, 2017. Transmissions must be completed and accepted by 12:00 midnight. A waiver request received after April 24, 2017 will not be considered. Please see the March 27, 2017 electronic announcement for additional information.

Guidance on COD Processing of Pell Grant Restoration for Students who Attended Closed Schools: In a December 21, 2016 electronic announcement, the Department of Education (DOE) provided initial information about their plans to restore Federal Pell Grant eligibility for students who received a Pell Grant at a now-closed school and also noted that they were modifying certain systems to implement the restoration of Pell Grant eligibility. Earlier this month, the DOE issued another electronic announcement that provides information about the changes made to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System related to restoration of Pell Grant eligibility. The COD System implemented those changes during the period March 24-26, 2017. Please see the April 3, 2017 announcement for additional information.

Reminder – Direct Loan Closeout Deadline for 2015-2016: The Direct Loan closeout deadline for the 2015-2016 Program Year is Monday, July 31, 2017. All school data must be received and accepted by this date to be included in a school’s final Ending Cash Balance for the year. Exceptions to the last processing day of the program year may be made on a case-by-case basis if the school’s processing period extends beyond the closeout deadline. Please review the February 7, 2017 announcement for additional information.

Reminder – Schools Required to be in Compliance with 150 Percent Direct Subsidized Loan Limit: On May 16, 2013, the Department of Education published interim final regulations in the Federal Register implementing the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act that added a new provision to the Direct Loan statutory requirements that limits a first-time borrower’s eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans to a period not to exceed 150 percent of the length of the borrower’s educational program (“the 150% limit”). Under certain conditions, the provision also causes first-time borrowers who have exceeded the 150 percent limit to lose the interest subsidy on their Direct Subsidized Loans. Schools are encouraged to review the FAQ’s in the IFAP website for implementing the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan limit.  The FAQs provide information and operational guidance on implementing the limit. Schools must review the interim regulations as published in the Federal Register and the associated guidance to ensure that they are in compliance with all of the 150% limit requirements. The FAQs will be updated periodically and include the date of the update. New and/or updated questions and answers will be marked NEW and appear in red font. Please go to the 150 Percent Direct Subsidized Loan Limit information page for additional information.

Reminder – Keep School Contact Information Current in the COD System:  The Department of Education (DOE) reminds schools and third party servicers that contact information in the COD System must be kept current. Contact information is extremely important for the DOE to be able to reach the right people at the school, particularly about program-specific issues. The e-mail addresses for the President, Financial Aid Administrator, Pell Grant Financial Aid Officer, and Direct Loan Financial Aid Officer are used to deliver time-sensitive materials and critical COD processing information to the school. Having current contact information for the Pell Grant Financial Aid Officer and Direct Loan Financial Aid Officer is most critical for a school that is an additional location to a main campus. The information allows the DOE to contact those officers directly at the additional location rather than needing to contact the main campus. For more information on updating School Contact Information, please review the December 20, 2012 electronic announcement.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool Offline Until Start of Next FAFSA Season, in Fall 2017: In the Fed-Updates Newsletter issued on March 28, 2017, we shared a March 10, 2017 electronic announcement made by the Department of Education about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool being offline and that an effort was being made to make it available as soon as possible. On March 30, 2017, the IRS posted an announcement on its website that the DRT will not be back online until Fall 2017 when the next Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) season begins. The DRT was turned off following concerns that data from the tool could be used by identity thieves to file fraudulent tax returns. Once enhancements are made to encrypt or mask the sensitive data, the IRS DRT will be reactivated. The Federal Student Aid has also posted information about this matter on its studentaid.gov website.

Resource – Privacy Technical Assistance Center: The Department of Education established the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems and other uses of student data. The primary audience for PTAC are those involved with building, sharing data with, and/or using data from Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS). This includes State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs; also referred to by ED as school “districts”), postsecondary institutions, early childhood agencies, and other groups, such as researchers. Here is a list of some of the topics addressed on PTAC:

  • Guidance on the Use of Financial Aid Information for Program Evaluation and Research (NSLDS, FAFSA, Education Records)
  • Response to Assistance Request from University of North Carolina re: use of FAFSA/ISIR data by an educational institution
  • Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Education Services:  Model Terms of Service
  • Transparency Best Practices
  • Best Practices for Data Destruction

Resources on the PTAC website:

Questions about the PTAC guidance or other privacy or security matters related to student financial aid information can be directed to the PTAC Help Desk by email at PrivacyTA@ed.gov or by phone at  855-249-3072.

INFORMATION PAGES FOR SCHOOLS TO MONITOR  WEEKLY: The list below represents just a few of the information pages available on the IFAP website. Please review the organization’s website for additional guidance, resources, deadlines, and information related to the administration and processing of Title IV federal student aid.

  • The “What’s New” page lists all of the latest postings within the past 14 days
  • Operational communications and guidance, technical documents, and related information specific to the COD System are provided on the COD System page — including a COD Processing Update and COD Peak Processing Reminders
  • The Gainful Employment (GE) page is dedicated to deadlines and updates relevant to GE regulations — including the most updated information pertaining to requirements for Title IV eligible educational programs that are required to lead to gainful employment in a recognized occupation (GE programs). The page also includes postings of recent and older Dear Colleague Letters and Electronic Announcements that include critical updates and guidance on GE requirements and reporting
  • The Cash Management page provides links to relevant Dear Colleague Letters, Electronic Announcements, webinars, and other cash management resources relevant to the cash management regulations published on October 30, 2015
  • The Perkins Loan FAQs page provides information and operational guidance on the Perkins Loan Program

Thank you for taking the time to review our newsletter!

Rob Wright
email: rwright@getfasolutions.com
(P) (813) 435-6227
www.getfasolutions.com —–> We can instant chat here
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Disclaimer of Liability: Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in FA Solutions’ newsletters. However, FA Solutions makes not claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or inadequacy of the contents of the newsletters and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of its newsletters. Although FA Solutions may include links providing direct access to other Internet resources, including Websites, FA Solutions is not responsible for the accuracy or content of information in these sites.





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