Fed-Updates Financial Aid Newsletter – December 17, 2019

Newsletter topics: FSA Website & System Outages, FSA Website Consolidation, Federal Office Holiday hours, Designation of Title III or Title V status, Direct Loan Program Notice of Reconciliation for TEACH Grant Program and Faith-based Entities, COD School Testing, and various Federal Register Notices

Note: Fed-Updates newsletter updates are excerpts from original announcements posted on the IFAP website. 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’ll find additional information on the IFAP website. Reminder: Deadlines and event dates are noted in our newsletters are subject to change as determined by the Department of Education.

OUTAGE ALERT – Federal Student Aid Website and System Outages December 21, 2019: On December 21, 2019, Federal Student Aid plans to complete important system work that will impact Federal Student Aid websites and systems. This work is related to the Next Gen FSA website consolidation described in the December 13, 2019 Electronic Announcement and is in addition to the regular weekly maintenance that occurs each weekend. Please review the December 16, 2019, electronic announcement for additional information.

Next Gen FSA Website Consolidation: During the weekend of December 21-22, 2019, Federal Student Aid plans to consolidate the current functionality of StudentAid.gov, StudentLoans.gov, FSAID.ed.gov, and some components of NSLDS Student Access (NSLDS.ed.gov) under one umbrella website which will be an enhanced version of StudentAid.gov. Please review the December 13, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

Christmas and New Year’s Day Federal Holiday Processing and Customer Service Hours: Department of Education federal offices as well as most of their Title IV processors and contact centers will be closed on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 to observe the Christmas Day federal holiday as well as on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 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 13, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

Designation as a Title III or Title V Institution and Waiver of the Non-Federal Share Requirement for FWS and FSEOG for the 2020–21 Award Year:  The information in this electronic announcement is provided 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 December 17, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program Reconciliation: In a November 19, 2019 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 (see Federal Register Volume 84, Number 212 (Friday, November 1, 2019) for the 2019–2020 deadlines).

In this announcement, FSA provides specific information to assist a school with reconciling the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. The information should be viewed by both the financial aid office and business office. Please review the December 17, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

Publication of the TEACH Grant Program and Faith-based Entities Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM): On December 11, 2019, the Department of Education published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking revising the current regulations regarding the eligibility of faith-based entities to participate in the Federal Student Aid programs authorized under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and the eligibility of students to obtain certain benefits under those programs. The Secretary is also proposing to simplify the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program requirements to minimize the number of TEACH Grants that are converted to Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and to update, strengthen, and clarify other areas of the TEACH Grant Program regulations. The public will have 30 days after the date of publication to provide comments through www.regulations.gov. Please review the December 11, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.

COD School Testing for the 2020–21 Award Year from January 2, 2020 through December 18, 2020: The purpose of COD School Testing is to provide organizations (schools, third-party servicers, and software providers) an opportunity 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 prior to the transmission and processing of actual production data using COD Common Record XML Schema Version 4.0d. It also allows schools, third-party servicers, and software providers the opportunity to make corrections or enhancements to software applications and processes prior to sending data to the “live” production environment.

All organizations that wish to participate in COD School Testing must submit the “COD School Testing 2020–21 Sign-Up Document” to the COD School Relations Center. The Center began accepting sign-up documents as of Monday, December 9, 2019. To ensure enough time to complete all testing before the established testing end dates, organizations must register no later than September 18, 2020. Please review the December 9, 2019 electronic announcement for additional information.


  • 2019-12-17 Comment Request: Foreign Gifts and Contracts Disclosures
  • 2019-12-16 Annual Designation of Title III and Title V Schools and Waiver Process
  • 2019-12-11 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – TEACH and Faith Based Institutions

The following are a few helpful links to information pages available on the IFAP website: Grant and Direct Loan (COD) Processing Information, Gainful Employment, Cash Management, Processing Resources, FAFSA and the IRS DRT, Training Resources, and iLibrary, which includes many resources, such as a consolidated list of Electronic AnnouncementsDear Colleague Letters, and Federal Registers. Please review the IFAP 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

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