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Note: Fed-Updates newsletter updates are excerpts from original announcements posted on the Knowledge Center webpage on the FSAPartners.ed.gov website. The Knowledge Center has replaced the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. Please review the entire update by clicking the link included with each posting. We are not able to include all Federal updates and deadlines, but you’ll find additional information at the Knowledge Center – including earlier Electronic Announcements and Dear Colleague Letters. Important Reminder: Deadlines and event dates noted in our newsletters are subject to change as determined by the Department of Education.
Memorial Day Federal Holiday Processing and Customer Service Hours (EA ID: GENERAL-21-33): Our federal offices as well as our Title IV processors and contact centers will be closed on Monday, May 31, 2021 to observe the Memorial Day federal holiday. Please review the May 24, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information. FA Solutions will also be closed for the holiday.
Record Submission Due Date for 2019–20 Direct Loan Program Year Closeout (EA ID: DL-21-03): We previously informed schools in a Feb. 5, 2021 Electronic Announcement that the closeout deadline for the 2019–20 Direct Loan Program Year is Friday, July 30, 2021. This is the last processing day before the end of the program year. 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. Please review the May 4, 2021, electronic announcement for guidance on how to be considered successfully closed out and for additional information about the closeout deadline.
Summary-Level Return of Title IV (R2T4) Reporting Functionality Now Available on the COD Website (EA ID: GENERAL-21-26): Following a system update completed on April 25, 2021, we are pleased to announce that the R2T4 Lump Sum Reporting page is now available on the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) website. Schools can now use this page to report summary-level totals of Title IV funds that were not returned due to the CARES Act. For more details about the functionality, refer to the March 10th announcement.
As a reminder, the deadline for reporting funds not returned under R2T4 requirements due to CARES Act relief, for all award years through 2020–21, is Sept. 30, 2021. Schools can report these funds using the R2T4 calculator or now through the R2T4 Lump Sum Reporting page. Please review the April 28, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
Implementation of updated clock-to-credit conversion regulations (EA ID: GENERAL-21-34): On September 2, 2020, the Department of Education published a final rule amending various institutional and program eligibility regulations issued under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).
This electronic announcement specifically addresses the changes to 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l) that eliminated the requirement for institutions to consider out of class work time when determining the number of Title IV credit hours in an eligible program.
The Secretary permitted institutions to early-implement the regulatory changes published in the September 2, 2020 final rule, including the changes to the clock-to-credit conversion requirements. Otherwise, the final regulations are effective July 1, 2021. Please review the May 25, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
FY 22 Sequester-Required Changes to the Title IV Student Aid Programs (EA ID: GENERAL-21-31): Because the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the sequester law) remains in effect, this announcement provides information regarding sequester-required increases to Direct Loan fees and sequester-required reductions in Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant and TEACH Grant award amounts that apply to loans and grant awards where the first disbursement is on or after Oct. 1, 2021, and before Oct. 1, 2022 (FY 22 Sequester). For FY 22, the sequester-required changes are the same as the FY 21 sequester-required changes that apply to loans and grants where the first disbursement is on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2021. Please review the May 4, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
Expansion of Collections Pause to Defaulted FFEL Program Loans Managed by Guaranty Agencies (DCL ID GEN-21-03): On March 30, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced an expansion of the pause on federal student loan interest and collections on all defaulted loans in the FFEL Program that are managed by GAs. These flexibilities will be in place for the same period of time as the pause for loans held by the Department, which is currently slated to run through September 30, 2021. Please review the May 12, 2021, Dear Colleague Letter for additional information.
Next Gen FSA – April 2021 Updates to FSA Partner Connect Website Implemented (EA ID: GENERAL-21-27): On March 28, 2021, we launched FSA Partner Connect with the overarching goals of providing improved experiences for customers in accessing data pertinent to their school or organization, information contained in the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Handbook, and guidance published and maintained in the Knowledge Center. At this time, we are pleased to announce the implementation of three customer-focused updates to the FSA Partner Connect website. Please review the April 28, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
REMINDER – Annual DUNS Number Registration Renewal with System for Award Management Database (EA ID: GENERAL-21-28): The G5 website verifies the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in the General Services Administration (GSA) System for Award Management (SAM.gov) website before carrying out administrative actions that involve a DUNS number. These actions could include making an award and performing DUNS number changes or reassignments. To ensure that administrative actions can be completed for Title IV recipients, schools must have “active” DUNS numbers by registering their grantee and payee DUNS numbers in the SAM website (https://www.sam.gov). This announcement is a reminder that all schools must complete the registration confirmation of their DUNS number annually. Please review the April 29, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
Additional Designations of Entities under Section 483(a)(3)(E) of the Higher Education Act and Institution of Higher Education (IHE) Guidance (EA ID: GENERAL-21-30): The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has designated the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under section 483(a)(3)(E) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), as entities that may use Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) data. Under Section 483(a)(3)(E) of the HEA, data collected through the FAFSA may only be used for the application, award, and administration of HEA, Title IV program aid, State aid, or aid awarded by eligible institutions or entities designated by ED. Please review the May 12, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
StudentAid.gov Website Enhancements Starting May 2021(EA ID: GENERAL-21-32): Forward progress continues on StudentAid.gov, our single front door on the web for students, parents, and borrowers. On May 16, 2021, we made additional updates to features designed to improve the information and self-service tools available to our customers. These updates continue to provide students, parents, and borrowers with clear, actionable information about the aid they have received and personalized guidance on the loan repayment process. Please review the May 19, 2021, electronic announcement for additional information.
- April 21, 2021 – Volume 1 – Student Eligibility [2021-2022 Federal Student Aid Handbook]
- April 27, 2021 – 2021–22 Federal School Code List of Participating Schools (May 2021)
- May 20, 2021 – Small Business Compliance Guide for Distance and Innovation Regulations
- April 23, 2021 – Maximum HEAL Program Interest Rates for Quarter Ending June 30, 2021
- May 19, 2021 – Interest Rates for Direct Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022
- April 30, 2021 – Mandatory SAIG Software Upgrade – Schedule Change for EDconnect 8.5 Availability and Deadline to Upgrade
- April 22, 2021 – Latest Ed Express Updates
- May 5, 2021 – Latest Central Processing System Updates
Department of Education:
- Press Releases
- COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources
- CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
The Knowledge Center on the FSAPartners.ed.gov website provides guidance, resources, deadlines, and information related to the administration and processing of Title IV federal student aid. Here is a sampling of some helpful Knowledge Center information pages: Grant and Direct Loan (COD) Processing Information, Training Resources, Library, Federal Registers, Software and Other Tools, and NSLDS Resources.
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