Category Archives: ED Dear Colleague Letters

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP

October 9, 2015
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IFAP2           GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE) EA – Posted September 4, 2015 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #60 – GE Reporting and Resolving Incorrect Credential Level Data in NSLDS and in COD Schools are alerted to the fact that ED has sent out warning letters to schools that reported at least one loan origination record for 2014-2015 in COD where the record indicated the student was enrolled in a GE program, but the school did not submit GE data to NSLDS by the July 31, 2015, reporting deadline.  This announcement gives schools who received such a warning letter instructions on how to utilize the NSLDS GE Program Tracking List to resolve any errors in the COD System.  (For information on the GE Program Tracking functionality, see also Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #59, dated August 20, 2015.)  If a school received one of these warning letters about errors, they must not delay in making the

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

July 17, 2015
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GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE) DCL – GEN-15-12: June 30, 2015 – Regulatory Requirements Related to Gainful Employment Programs ED has published a synopsis of all of the regulatory requirements that pertain to GE programs.  This DCL summarizes what constitutes a GE program, the disclosure and reporting requirements, the calculation of the D/E ratios and how to challenge draft D/E rates or appeal final D/E rates, as well as the requirement for transitional certification of existing programs by December 31, 2015.  Those who are new to financial aid and the world of GE responsibilities will find this an extensive introductory “summary” of the obligations applicable to the GE regulations.  It can also serve as an excellent executive summary for school leadership (presidents, CEOs, owners, etc.). GENERAL AND VARIED DCL TOPICS DCL – GEN-15-06: April 06, 2015 – Loan Counseling Requirements and Flexibilities ED presents this DCL with a hope that it helps schools remember what their loan counseling responsibilities are, and encourages schools to

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

April 24, 2015
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DCL – GEN-15-03: January 30, 2015 – Wind-down of the Federal Perkins Loan Program The approaching end of an era is discussed in this DCL.  The Federal Perkins Loan Program, as modified over the years, is the first modern Federal Student Aid program.  Having originally been named the National Defense Student Loan (NDSL) program in the National Defense Education Act of 1958, it began in the era of the space race after the Russian Sputnik was launched in 1957.  It was the first student aid program geared specifically for low income students.  The program was later redesignated as the National Direct Student Loan (NDSL) program as a result of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972.  Subsequently it was again renamed in the 1986 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in honor of U.S. Representative Carl Perkins (KY) who was an early proponent of the program as well as other student aid programs. Unless Congress intervenes before then, no Perkins Loans may be made to new borrowers after September 30, 2015.  If a loan for the 2015-2016 award year has had a disbursement made prior to September 30, 2015, the school

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

October 28, 2014
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ED's Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP - (listed by DCL category by date) DCL – GEN-14-11: June 30, 2014 – 2015-2016 Award Year:  FAFSA® Information to be Verified and Acceptable Documentation This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) offers additional information to that provided in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014 regarding 2015-2016 verification requirements and processes, etc.  Specifically, the letter highlights the required verification items for 2015-2016 and acceptable documentation for verification purposes.  Additionally, the DCL provides clarification and additional guidance on certain verification items and related acceptable documentation.  Also of note is that the DCL highlights areas where ED’s guidance has changed or expanded, e.g., dealing with non-tax filers and untaxed income, reporting parental information, guidance on State-approved tests that are considered the equivalent of a high school diploma, changes in the verification tracking groups,

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

July 13, 2014
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(listed by DCL category by date) DCL – GEN-14-06: April 11, 2014 – Recognized Equivalent of a High School Diploma With this letter, ED provides important information about changes in what is considered a recognized equivalent of a high school diploma.  Effective January 1, 2014, a number of States have either replaced the General Educational Development Certificate (GED) with a different State-authorized examination, or they now offer a choice of several different State-authorized examinations.  Two such tests that may be acceptable in some States are the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).  A State may have established yet a different official State-authorized examination for determining equivalency of a high school diploma than any of the ones specified here.  Schools that have questions about what is acceptable in a particular State should contact that State’s education authority.  Contact information for such State education authorities may be found at

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

April 24, 2014
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Listed by DCL category by date     DCL – GEN-14-01: January 31, 2014 – 2014-2015 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules With this letter, ED provides the necessary Payment and Disbursement Schedules for the coming Award Year of 2014-2015.  The schedules are provided for varying enrollment statuses (i.e., full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, and less than half-time). It will be noted that these schedules indicate that the maximum Pell Grant for 2014-2015 is $5,730, which is an $85 increase from 2013-2014.  Also, the actual 2014-2015 Award Year minimum award amount for a full-time student is $587.  The maximum Pell Grant eligible expected family contribution (EFC) for 2014-2015 is 5157 whereas in the 2013-2014 Award Year it was 5081.  Thus, schools may see some additional Pell eligible students in 2014-2015. DCL – GEN-14-03: February 27, 2014 – Impact of Cohort Default Rates on Institutional Title IV Program Eligibility In this DCL ED gives a summary of how an institution’s cohort default rate (CDR) is calculated and what regu

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

January 23, 2014
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ED's Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP - (listed by DCL category by date) DCL – GEN-13-22: October 17, 2013 – FY 2014 Sequestration Changes to the Title IV Student Aid Programs (Updated October 25, 2013)Reminder Of interest to the financial aid community is this fourth update on the across the board budget cuts to the Federal Student Aid programs.  This round of adjustments, known as sequestration, further impact a number of the Title IV programs, specifically the Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grants, the TEACH Grants, and the origination fees on the Direct Loan programs.  For a detailed review of this round of sequestration effects, as well as a chart outlining the required changes resulting from sequestration, please see

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

October 14, 2013
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ED's Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP - (listed by DCL category by date) DCL – GEN-13-17: July 1, 2013 – Requirement for distribution of voter registration forms Schools are reminded of the requirement to make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to their students.  This requirement is applicable to schools in most states and the District of Columbia which are covered under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993.  That is, schools in states that require voter registration prior to Election Day or that do not allow for voter registration at the time of voting must comply with this requirement that is delineated in your Title IV Program Participation Agreement.  Currently, the only states exempt from this requirement are Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Likewise, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa are not covered by the NVRA and thus are not required to distribute the voter registration forms.  

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP (FIR-Q3-2013)

August 7, 2013
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ED's Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP - (listed by DCL category by date) DCL – GEN-13-11: April 17, 2013 – Contact Information for the FSA Student Loan Ombudsman Schools are updated with the latest contact information for the Department’s Student Loan Ombudsman.  This information is important for schools to use in their student loan entrance and exit counseling, as well as other general student consumer information. DCL – GEN-13-12: April 29, 2013 – 2014-2015 FAFSA – Parental Information Collection In this Dear Colleague Letter ED provides notice of significant changes in the collection of parental data on the FAFSA.  Historically, the FAFSA has requested parental information by indicating income earned, etc., of the father/step-father and mother/step-mother.  For 2014-2015, ED is implementing a change to collect parental FAFSA data based upon the dependent student’s legal parents (biological or adoptive) regardless of the parent’s mari

ED’s Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP

April 30, 2013
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ED's Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) on IFAP - (listed by DCL category by date) DCL – GEN-13-01: January 14, 2013 – Dear Colleague Letters Issued Under GEN and ANN Types Beginning January 2013 ED alerts the community to the change being made in how Dear Colleague Letters are classified.  Effective with January, 2013, all DCLs will be categorized as either “GEN” or “ANN”.  This is a reduction from the prior five categories of DCL types.  The GEN type will encompass what in the past may have been categorized as GEN (General Distribution), CB (Campus-Based), FP (Financial Partners), and P (Pell Grant).  The ANN type DCLs are unchanged in the purpose and content in that they will continue to contain information related to announcements about training opportunities. DCL – GEN-13-02: January 17, 2013 – Regaining Title IV Eligibility After Exceeding Loan Limits and Treatment of Loan Funds When a Student Fails to Begin Attendance This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) provides ED’s curre