December 13, 2019
FinAid – Ever changing and ALWAYS challenging.
If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please reach out to us directly or fill in your information at the bottom of the homepage of our FA Solutions website. Thank you!

Rob Wright,
Pam Notemyer Rogers,

Please note that deadlines and event dates noted in all of our newsletters are always subject to change as determined by the Department of Education.

Important Note:  FA Solutions‘ Fed-Updates Newsletter updates are excerpts from original announcements posted on the IFAP website so please review the entire update by clicking the link included with each posting. We’re not able to include all Federal updates and deadlines, but you will find additional information on the IFAP website

Christmas and New Year’s Day Federal Holiday Processing and Customer Service Hours: Department of Education federal offices — including Federal Student Aid, Title IV processors, and contact centers — will be closed on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 to observe the Christmas Day federal holiday as well as on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 to observe the New Year’s Day federal holiday. In addition, some of the Title IV processors and contact centers will have additional closures on the days surrounding the holidays. Please see the December 14, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.

Dates FA Solutions, LLC Will Be Closed for the Holiday:

  • Christmas Eve – Monday, December 24, 2018
  • Christmas Day – Tuesday, December 25, 2018
  • New Year’s Eve – Monday, December 31, 2018

COD School Testing for the 2019–20 Award Year Sign-up: The Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) School Relations Center will allow schools, third party servicers, and software vendors to test Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) business processes and system software with the COD System for the 2019-20 Award Year prior to the transmission and processing of actual production data using COD Common Record XML Schema Version 4.0c. Schools and the other aforementioned entities will also have the opportunity to make corrections or enhancements to software applications and processes prior to sending data to the “live” production environment. The testing period will be from January 2, 2019 through December 20, 2019. Please review the December 11, 2018 electronic announcement for additional details, including the process for signing up to participate in the testing.

2019 TEACH Grant Program Changes – Standardized Annual Certification Date and Reconsideration Process: Federal Student Aid (FSA) has announced two changes to the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that will begin in 2019 as follows:

  • Standardized Annual Certification Date – FSA has adopted a standardized annual certification date for all TEACH Grant recipients. This change simplifies the annual certification requirement by having only one certification date—Oct. 31—for all TEACH Grant recipients.
  • Reconsideration Process – FSA is finalizing a process for certain TEACH Grant recipients whose TEACH Grants were converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans to request reconsideration of the conversions. Recipients will be able to request a reconsideration if they met or are meeting the TEACH Grant service requirements within the eight-year service obligation period, but had their grants converted to loans because they did not comply with the annual certification requirement. By Jan. 31, 2019, we plan to complete our process work and provide instructions on how TEACH Grant recipients may apply for reconsideration of their converted TEACH Grants.

For additional information regarding these changes, including the next deadline for all TEACH Grant recipients to submit documentation of completed teaching service, please review the December 10, 2018 electronic announcement.

Title IV Aid Disbursement Reporting, Excess Cash, and Reconciliation Requirements: Federal Student Aid issued a December 10, 2018 electronic announcement to remind schools of the general disbursement reporting, excess cash, and reconciliation requirements for all Title IV programs. Because these requirements apply to disbursement and financial data, both the Financial Aid Office and Business Office should review announcement. Please review the announcement for additional information.

Information about Designation as a Title III or Title V Institution and Waiver Requests of the Non-Federal Share Requirement for the Campus-Based Programs for the 2019-20 Award Year:  Federal Student Aid issued a December 4, 2018, electronic announcement to provide information regarding the designation of Title III or Title V status for institutions and the resulting waiver of the non-Federal share requirements for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) programs. Please review the announcement for additional information.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool Now Available – The PSLF Help Tool is will help borrowers with:

  • Understanding more about the PSLF Program and what is needed to participate and possibly have their loans forgiven,
  • Assessing whether their employer qualifies for PSLF,
  • Assessing whether their loans qualify for PSLF, and
  • Deciding which PSLF form to submit.

The PSLF Help Tool will also use the information we have about borrowers’ federal student loans to explain other actions borrowers should or must take if they want to receive PSLF. Please review the December 12, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.

NOTE: Due to limited space in FA Solutions’ Fed-Updates Newsletter, only the titles and links to the updates below are provided here.


  • 2018-12-04 Subject: 2018-2019 Award Year Deadline Dates
  • 2018-11-30 Subject: Waiver of Certain Consumer Information Requirements for Foreign Institutions of Higher Education

DHS-SAVE, Eligible Noncitizen:

  • 2018-12-06 Subject: SAVE Instructions for U.S. Department of Education (School) Users Version 2.0 Available

Federal Student Aid Handbook:

  • 2018-12-06 Volume 5 – Withdrawals and the Return of Title IV Funds
  • 2018-12-06 Volume 6- The Campus-Based Programs [2018-2019 Federal Student Aid Handbook]
  • 2018-12-04 Volume 3 – Calculating Awards and Packaging [2018-2019 Federal Student Aid Handbook]
  • 2018-12-03 Volume 4 – Processing Aid and Managing FSA Funds [2018-2019 Federal Student Aid Handbook]

NSLDS Reference Materials

  • 2018-12-07 (NSLDS Guaranty Agency (GA) Technical Updates) Subject: GA-2018-01: Fiscal Year 2016 Cohort Default Rate Calculations

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.

Thank you for taking the time to review our newsletter!
Rob Wright
Disclaimer of Liability: Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in FA Solutions’ newsletters. However, FA Solutions makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy 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 contained in these sites.