January 3, 2019
FinAid – Ever changing and ALWAYS challenging.
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Rob Wright,  rwright@getfasolutions.com
Pam Notemyer Rogers, pnotemyer@getfasolutions.com

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

OUTAGE ALERT – IRS DRT Outages on January 12, 2019: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) will be unavailable on Saturday, January 12, 2019, from 6 a.m. to Noon ET, as the IRS completes critical system upgrades. During these outage periods, users may access fafsa.gov, the myStudentAid mobile app, and StudentLoans.gov. However, if an action requires entry of federal tax information, the tax information will need to be provided manually. Applicants may wish to complete the application after the outage is over. Please review the January 3, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

Impact of Partial Government Shutdown on FSA: Federal Student Aid (FSA) is not directly impacted by the current lapse in appropriations and the resulting partial government shutdown. However, some of FSA’s systems and processes depend on information from—and actions taken by—other federal agencies, several of which are currently closed. FSA is evaluating what impact these closures may have and are working to limit the impact on its partners. FSA will issue guidance to the community as soon as possible, as needed. Please review the January 3, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

Reminder – Deadline for 2019-20 Underuse Penalty Waiver for the Campus-Based Programs is February 4, 2019: The deadline to request a waiver of the 2019–20 Award Year penalty of Federal Work Study and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant for the underuse of 2017–18 Award Year funds is February 4, 2019. This deadline was announced in the “2018–2019 Award Year Deadline Dates for Campus-Based Programs,” published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018 (83 FR 356). Please review the January 7, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

2019-20 myFAFSA Preview Presentation:  Federal Student Aid has made a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation available that contains information and screen shots pertaining to myFAFSA. The purpose of the presentation is to provide financial aid administrators (FAAs), mentors and counselors with screen shots that can be used as a reference tool for the 2019-20 myFAFSA component of the myStudentAid mobile app. Schools are encouraged to use the information for internal staff training or other outreach activities. For additional information, please review the December 19, 2018 electronic announcement.

2018–19 COD System Peak Processing Reminders: In January 2019, Federal Student Aid (FSA) will begin a peak processing period for the 2018–19 Award Year. To assist schools with planning and processing, FSA has issued an electronic announcement with some important reminders. Please review the December 17, 2018 electronic announcement.
Loan Servicing Information – Performance Metrics and Allocation Information Now Available on the FSA Data Center: Customer service performance results for each of the Department of Education’s federal loan servicers recently became available on the FSA Data Center for the following periods:  January 1, 2018 through March 31, 2018 and April 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018. The allocations in effect from September 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019 are also available. Please review the December 14, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.
Closed School Discharge Changes: The 2016 borrower defense regulations at 81 Federal Register 75926 amended the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan), Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), and Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) program regulations to provide for the automatic discharge of loans if, among other things, a borrower could not complete his or her program of study because the borrower’s school closed. The 2016 borrower defense regulations also added new closed school discharge requirements for loan holders, guaranty agencies, and schools. New regulations provide for an automatic discharge of some or all of the Direct Loan, FFEL, or Perkins Loan program loans an eligible borrower (or, if applicable, the dependent child on whose behalf a parent took out a PLUS loan) obtained to attend a school that closed on or after November 1, 2013. To date, the Department has identified approximately 15,000 borrowers who are eligible for an automatic closed school discharge based on their (or in the case of a PLUS loan, their child’s) attendance at a school that closed between November 1, 2013, and December 4, 2015. For additional information, please review the December 13, 2018 electronic announcement.
Access Removed for Unconfirmed TG Numbers (SAIG Mailboxes) and Electronic Services User Accounts: In October 2018 Federal Student Aid (FSA) initiated the active confirmation process that required every organization enrolled for a Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) account to review and validate its assigned TG numbers by December 14, 2018. FSA has now removed access to enrolled services for accounts that have not been actively confirmed. To restore access to these accounts your organization’s Primary Destination Point Administrator (Primary DPA) must perform the account validation process as outlined in FSA’s previous communications. Refer to the October 22, 2018 Electronic Announcement for step-by-step instructions, as well as important reminders. Please review the December 21, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program Reconciliation: In a December 10, 2018 Electronic Announcement Federal Student Aid (FSA) published general information regarding Title IV aid disbursement reporting, excess cash, and reconciliation requirements. In addition, updated disbursement reporting and data submission timelines for all programs were published in a recent Federal Register Notice. FSA has issued another electronic announcement to provide specific information to assist a school with reconciling the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Please review the December 21, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information. The information provided should be viewed by both the financial aid office and business office.

Federal Student Aid Posts New Reports to FSA Data Center: Today, Federal Student Aid (FSA) released a series of updates to the quarterly application, disbursement, and portfolio reports on the FSA Data Center to include data through Sept. 30, 2018. FSA proactively posts these reports in support of open government initiatives to help ensure consistency, increase transparency, and establish self-service opportunities for stakeholders. The reports cover the following topics:

  • Outstanding Loan Portfolio Overview 
    Application Volume .
  • Income-Driven Repayment Enrollment 
  • New Defaults and Delinquencies 
  • Borrower Defense to Repayment Report 
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Report 

Please review the December 20, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.

Perkins Loans Awarded or Disbursed After the Expiration of the Perkins Loan Program: In Dear Colleague Letter GEN-16-05 and Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-10, Federal Student Aid provided information about the expiration of the authority to make new Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loans and the deadline for making Perkins Loan disbursements. The Department of Education has identified a large number of Perkins Loans reported by schools or third-party servicers on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) that are in error. Note: It is critical for every school to review all of its Perkins Loan data currently reported in NSLDS and make updates as necessary. Some schools have informed us that previously correct information in NSLDS is currently incorrect. This occurs when a subsequent reporting update is submitted by a school or its servicer and the previously correct information is overwritten in NSLDS. The school—even if it uses a third-party servicer—is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of its Perkins Loan data in NSLDS at all times. Please review the December 20, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.

R2T4 Transition #1 Preliminary Information –  R2T4 Functions to Move to COD System in 2019: As part of Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) ongoing effort to improve efficiency and simplify our Title IV systems and processes, FSA has identified an opportunity to remove Return of Title IV (R2T4) on the Web from FAA Access to CPS Online and implement a new solution within the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System. The transition will begin in spring 2019. FSA has issued another announcement to provide the community with information about its high-level implementation plans for the R2T4 transition.  Schools will experience no change in R2T4 processing until 2019. Schools will continue to use the current R2T4 on the Web application until the new solution is implemented in the COD System. Note: R2T4 on the Web will eventually be removed from FAA Access to CPS Online in a future release. Accordingly, schools should begin using the R2T4 module in the COD System once it is implemented. As the transition occurs, FSA will provide operational guidance and updates through Electronic Announcements posted to the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. Please review the December 20, 2018 electronic announcement for additional information.


Enhancements to NSLDS MyStudentData Download Functionality: The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) “MyStudentData Download” functionality was enhanced on the NSLDS Student Accesswebsite on December 23, 2018. MyStudentData Download allows students to download their loan, grant, enrollment, overpayment, and program enrollment information from NSLDS into a machine-readable, plain text file. For additional information, please review the December 19, 2018 electronic announcement.

NSLDS MyStudentData Download File Layout: To access the file layout, please review the December 19, 2018 electronic announcement.

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


  • 2018-12-27 Subject: Negotiated Rulemaking Committee; Location of Negotiations and Subcommittee Meetings–Accreditation and Innovation
  • 2018-12-27 Subject: National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity

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.