Category Archives: ED Electronic Announcements

When Things Stay the Same…

August 11, 2017
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When Things Stay the Same… The Gainful Employment Reporting Deadline Has Not Changed  This year has been a bit of a roller coaster ride as it relates to postsecondary institutions’ Gainful Employment (GE) programs.  We have noticed more than once this year, that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has granted slight reprieves for the deadlines to meet some GE requirements.  As those impacted are aware, institutions with any GE program that is in the zone or that is a failing program are allowed by law to submit an alternate earnings appeal if the use of alternate earnings would: improve a zone program to passing, or a failing program to either passing or zone.

17/18 SEOG and FWS Important Announcement

July 6, 2017
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On July 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a temporary hold on 2017-2018 FWS and FSEOG drawdowns in G5.  This temporary hold began at 3:00 P.M. (ET) on July 5th due to a recently discovered error in the underlying calculations of tentative and final awards for some schools. As a result, FWS and FSEOG awards will be recalculated for all schools. The hold is expected to last no longer than 7 business days.  In most cases, this recalculation will have little or no impact on final award levels. ED has indicated the average change will be less than $3,500 for FSEOG and less than $2,500 for FWS. Pell Grant and Direct Loan funds are not impacted by this temporary G5 hold. ED will post a subsequent Electronic Announcement to inform schools when recalculated awards are available and G5 drawdown access is restored.

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

GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

July 17, 2015
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FSA             EA – Posted April 20, 2015 – (General).  150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit:  Electronic Announcement #17 – School Misreporting of Data to COD and NSLDS This EA is an important reminder to schools of the necessity for accuracy in transmitting data to COD and NSLDS.  Of special interest in this discussion is the data related to the academic year length and the program length for the applicable loan.  Specifically, ED details two issues it has observed in data 2015-07-17 08_37_04-IR_07-14-2015_Final.docx - Wordpertaining to acad

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP – GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE)

July 17, 2015
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IFAP         GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE) EA – Posted June 11, 2015 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #54 – Certification Requirements for Gainful Employment Programs ED reminds schools of two key points related to gainful employment (GE) programs.  First, the point is made that schools are required to ensure that their “Application for Approval to Participate in Federal Student Aid Programs” (E-App) is updated in a timely manner to make certain their Eligibility and Certification Approval Report (ECAR) is current. The other key reminder that ED brings to attention is the fact that schools that offer GE programs must submit a Transitional Certification to ED by no later than December 31, 2015.  The Transitional Certification is the school’s affirmation and assertion that each GE program is included in the institution’s accr

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP

April 24, 2015
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GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS EA – Posted January 12, 2015 – (General).  FSA ID Information – Communicating the Transition to Students ED updates the financial aid community on its major new initiative in the access to student- and borrower-based Websites related to Federal 2015-04-24 10_07_22-IR_04-01-2015_Proofed.docx [Compatibility Mode] - WordStudent Aid (FSA).  As previously announced in an October 1, 2014, Electronic Announcement, this modification will implement user-selected usernames and passwords as a replacement for the current FSA PIN.  The new FSA ID will offer enhanced functionality to allow for a single sign-on process for most of FSA’s systems.  This conversion will eliminate the need for users to enter individual personal identifiers, e.g., Social Security number, date of birth, etc.

ED’s Electronic Announcements: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

October 28, 2014
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ED's Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP_Q4-2014 EA – Posted August 4, 2014 – (Direct Loans).  Revised Master Promissory Notes for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct UnsubsidizedNEW MPN Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans (Paper Versions) The release of newly revised Master Promissory Notes (MPN) is announced in this EA.  As is obvious, these dlMPNs are for those schools and/or borrowers who wish to utilize a paper MPN versus the electronic options.  The new paper MPNs have an expiration date of February 29, 2016.  Between now and December 31, 2014, borrowers may use either the new MPN

ED’s Electronic Announcements: GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

October 28, 2014
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ED's Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP_Q4-2014 EA – Posted September 11, 2014 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #50 – Release of the Updated Disclosure Template for Gainful Employment (GE) Programs The financial aid community is made aware of the updated GE Disclosure Template (GEDT) with the release of this EA.  Per regulation, the GEDT is specified as the tool schools are to use for disclosing the required items of information.  Schools are required to use it as their means of providing the public the necessary information mandated by regulation.  All schools must have their GE disclosure information updated utilizing 2013-2014 data by January 31, 2015.  Schools are encouraged to review this announcement with great care.  For a more detailed discussion and additional background information about the GEDT, please refer to FAME’s Regulatory Bulletin dated January 7, 2014.  

ED’s Electronic Announcements: DEFAULT RATES

October 28, 2014
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ED's Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP _Q4-2014 DEFAULT RATE INFORMATION EA – September 22, 2014 – (Loans).  FY 2011 3-Year Official Cohort Default Rates Distributed September 22, 2014 Schools are informed of the release of the FY 2011 3-Year official cohort default rate (CDR) notification packages.  Schools had to deadliinehave been enrolled in eCDR in order to receive the notification packages.  If a school was not enrolled in eCDR at the time of distribution of the notification packages, the school will need to access the data via the NSLDS Professional Access Web site.  The deadline for appealing any information in this CDR package began September 30, 2014.  Depending upon the specific item being appea

ED’s 2014-2015 Federal Student Aid Handbook

October 28, 2014
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ED's 2014-2015 Federal Student Aid Handbook Over this past quarter ED has released numerous updates to the Federal Student Aid Handbook (FSA Handbook).  In fact, all of the remaining volumes of the 2014-2015 FSA Handbook not previously released prior to June 30, 2014, have now been published.  Specifically, the volumes distributed this past quarter to complete the 2014-2015 edition (shown with the date of the volume’s release) are: Volume 2 - School Eligibility and Operations – August 18, 2014 Volume 3 - Calculating Awards & Packaging – July 11, 2014 Volume 4 - Processing Aid and Managing Federal Student Aid Funds – July 3, 2014 Volume 5 - Withdrawals and the Return of Title IV Funds – July 9, 2014 Volume 6 - The

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

July 13, 2014
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EA – Posted May 6, 2014 – (Application Processing).  Launch of Student Aid History on StudentAid.gov The enhancement and expansion of the StudentAid.gov Web site is announced in the EA.  ED explains that the site will now allow for students to studentsaccess their federal student aid history directly in that one location.  The site will allow a student or other borrower to view all of their federal loan and grant information from the one site now, including information about loan defaults and grant overpayments.  Individuals accessing the site may do so via tablets and smartphones in addition to a typical personal computer or laptop, etc.  ED provided sample screenshots with the announcement so that aid administrators will have an understanding of what students will see on the site.  Note that the NSLDS Student Access Web site is still available to

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE)

July 13, 2014
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EA – Posted May 1, 2014 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #49 – Updated Gainful Employment Information Page ED provides an update on the status of the Gainful Employment (GE) Information page accessible via IFAP.  The page, originally implemented in 2011, has been updated to be renamed the “Gainful Employment Information Page 2014”.  With this renaming of the page, older GE information that is no longer valid or applicable has been removed from the newly renamed page.  ED’s stated goal is to ensure schools have easy access to the most current GE information related to regulatory requirements and ED’s plans.  Schools may still access the older GE information by selecting the “Resources” option on the page and then selecting “Archived Gainful Employment Information Page” option.  The public is reminded that ED is in the process of regulating all aspects of the GE provisions.  The March 25, 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) comment period ended the on May 27, 2014.  The community at large awaits the final regulations resulting from the NPRM and the comments ED re

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2014-2015

July 13, 2014
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EA – Posted April 17, 2014 – (General).  2014-2015 FAFSA Verification-IRS Tax Return Transcript Matrix With this announcement ED provides a matrix for use in verifying IRS income and tax information when an IRS Tax Return Transcript has been submitted by a student or parent.  ED specifies how the items on the IRS Tax Return Transcript relate to the items on the FAFSA and ISIR.  This is important due to the fact that the tax return transcript does not have line or item numbers and uses wording that may be different than what is used on the FAFSA and ISIR for some items.  Also, there are some items on the transcript that may have more than one value reported.  When only one value is reported for an item, that is the value that must be used for verification purposes.  However, when an item has more than one value reported on the transcript, the one that must be used for verification purposes is the one that says “Per Computer”.  This is true even if it is a value different than what the tax filer reported when submitting their tax return.  Financial Aid Administr

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: 150% DIRECT SUBSIDIZED LOAN LIMIT

April 24, 2014
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EA – Posted January 17, 2014 – (General).  150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit:  Electronic Announcement #8 – Final Regulations Published This announcement alerts the financial aid community of the publication of the final regulations related to the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit.  These final regulations published on January 17, 2014 replace the interim final regulations provided last May 16, 2013.  A number of important changes were made in these final regulations of which schools should be cognizant.  First, in the prior interim regulations a Direct Subsidized Loan borrower's calculated Subsidized Usage Period (SUP) was required to be rounded down to the nearest quarter of a year in all situations.  However, under these new final regulations a SUP will be rounded up or down, as appropriate, to the nearest tenth of a year. The second area in which changes were made in these final regulations pertained to the annual loan limit exception and the part-time enrollment status exception for determining the SUPs.  Under the interim regulations, if a student was considered to have met the exception based upon having bor

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

April 24, 2014
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EA – Posted March 25, 2014 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #48 – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on DeadlineGainful Employment ED announces the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on gainful employment in the Federal Register.  This is the official copy for review and response versus the advance copy submitted on March 14, 2014 in GE Announcement #47.  The public has until May 27, 2014 to provide comments for consideration before the NPRM is finalized.  It is important that schools read and respond to this notice if there are concerns with the proposals.  A school may submit its response via the regulations.gov Web site per the instructions in the NPRM.   Click here for access to ED's Elect

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2014-2015

April 24, 2014
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EA – Posted January 16, 2014 – (Campus-Based).  Deadline Date Notice for 2014-2015 Campus-Based Programs ED notifies the financial aid community of the applicable deadline dates that occur during the 2014-2015 award year that relate to the Federal SEOG, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Perkins Loan programs (more commonly referred to as the Campus-Based aid programs).  It is important to note that the deadlines are applicable to more than one award year.  That is, although the deadline may occur in the 2014-2015 award year, the deadline may actually be applicable to a prior or future award year.  For example, the 2013-2014 Fiscal Operations Report and the 2015-2016 Application to Participate (together called the FISAP) have a deadline of October 1, 2014.  This particular Electronic Announcement actually refers the reader to the January 15, 2014 Federal Register where ED published the official notice of the deadlines.  That Federal Register contains a useful chart for being able to see at a quick glance all applicable deadline dates for the Campus-Based programs during the 2014-2015 award year.  The

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

April 23, 2014
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EA – Posted February 18, 2014 – (Loans).  FY 2011 3-Year Draft Cohort Default Rates Distributed February 18, 2014 The FY 2011 3-Year Draft Cohort Default Rates were distributed on February 18, 2014.  Under regulations published October 28, 2009, beginning with the FY 2009 cohort year, a school's Cohort Default Rate (CDR) is calculated as the percentage of borrowers in the cohort who default before the end of the second fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the borrowers entered repayment.  This, in essence, creates the 3-year CDR.  ED no longer calculates a 2-year CDR.  Beginning with 2014, only 3-year rates are published since three 3-year rates have now been calculated (FY 2009 published in 2012, FY 2010 published in 2013, and FY 2011 published in 2014). Schools should review this Electronic Announcement to be reminded of the impact that will be incurred if a school’s FY 2011 official 3-year CDR is equal to or greater than 40% when the official CDR is published in September 2014, or if the school’s 3-year CDR has been 30% or greater for three years. The time period for challenging a school's FY 2011 3

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 23, 2013 – (COD System).  COD Computer-Based Training – 2013 Updates Group 3 ED announces the availability of the updated Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Computer-Based Training (CBT) and provides a link to the CBT components in this EA.  These CBT components cover a multitude of simulations related to the various functions and activities schools utilize in working with the COD system.  This is the last update of the year for the CBT.  This particular release includes updates to COD System simulations on the topics of “Locating Grant Information”, “Working with Batches”, and “Requesting Data”, while the CBT modules updated include “Direct Loan Reports” and “Pell Grant Reports”. EA – Posted October 28, 2013 – (Loans).  Loan Servicing Information – Repayment Plan Preference Information Shared with Loan Servicers Beginning January 2014 In this announcement the financial aid community is reminded that effective January 1, 2014 ED began to share borrowers’ elected repayment plan preference with loan servicers.  T

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: 150% DIRECT SUBSIDIZED LOAN LIMIT

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 25, 2013 – (Loans).  150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit:  Electronic Announcement #4 – Tracking Teacher Certification Programs for the 2013-2014 Direct Loan Processing Year The information shared in this announcement provides the details necessary for schools to understand how the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan limit is to be handled for tracking the loan eligibility used for teacher certification programs vs. other undergraduate programs.  ED clarifies the process that will be necessary to track and report students’ usage of Direct Subsidized Loans in a teacher certification program in 2013-2014 until ED implements enhancements in the 2014-2015 COD System for tracking such distinction of loan usage by type of program.  Schools are informed of the type of data elements that they will have to report on loans processed for borrowers in teacher certification programs.  It is important that schools with teacher certification programs analyze this EA for the steps necessary for accurate reporting of their students’ Subsidized DL usage. EA – Posted November 12

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted November 13, 2013 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #45 – Posting of Session Two materials related to Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. In this posting ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) announced the availability of the draft regulatory language that will be used as the basis for the next meeting of the Negotiated Rulemaking (Neg Reg) Committee. The Committee’s next meeting held after this announcement was November 18-20, 2013.  This draft information may be found via the OPE’s Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking 2013-2014 – Gainful Employment Web page.  Along with the draft regulatory language, ED also provided a brief PowerPoint overview of the content of that draft language to be discussed in the second meeting.  The overview gives a quick visual representation of the basics of the draft language. EA – Posted November 22, 2013 – (Gainful Employment).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #46 – R

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: FSA CONFERENCE

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted November 19, 2013 – (General).  2013 Federal Student Aid Training Conference Presentations Posted and Registration Closing In preparation for the 2013 FSA Conference ED announced the posting of the PowerPoint presentations on its FSA Conferences Web site.  Those who did not attend the conference may find some benefit from a review of these handouts as well.  They are accessible at 2013 FSA Conference Web site.  The conference was held December 3-6, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.                 The information provided to you is FAME’s opinion based upon our interpretation of the issues and details provided, and our interpretation of the Title IV regulations, legislation, and U.S. Department of Education guidance, as applicable. FAME shall not be liable for any error contained herein or for any damages whatsoever arising out of or related to the use of this information.

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: VERIFICATION FOR 2014-2015

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted November 8, 2013 – (Verification).  2014-2015 Verification – Suggested Text In this announcement ED provides the financial aid community sample text to use for 2014-2015 when communicating with applicants regarding specific requirements for verification of data unique to individual students.  Schools are reminded that the change to “suggested text” rather than ED-developed verification worksheets is in concert with the Department’s move to a more customized and individualized verification process of student application data.  ED emphasizes that one of the goals of customized verification is to remove unnecessary burden in the application process.  In keeping with that goal, ED stresses that items that are not necessary to the verification process should not be an automatic requirement of all students.  That is, an institution should not develop one all-encompassing verification form that includes all possible items of verification since this may imply to applicants that they need to answer or provide all such information or data that is referenced.  Additionally, obtaining more data elements th

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: VERIFICATION FOR 2013-2014

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 23, 2013 – (Verification).  Acceptable Documentation Update for 2013-2014 Award Year Verification ED clarifies what is considered acceptable documentation for the remainder of the 2013-2014 processing cycle.  Specifically, the announcement states what is considered acceptable alternative documentation when the tax filer has attempted to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript via the IRS online or paper request process, but was unsuccessful in obtaining the tax transcript.  It is important to note that the tax filer must have used either the IRS online request or the paper request in order to be able to document the unsuccessful attempt to obtain the IRS Tax Return Transcript.  This eliminates the telephone request option as a choice since the IRS has no documentation alternative for that method of request.  Additionally, tax filers that submit a copy of the documentation of their unsuccessful attempt to get the tax transcript must also provide a copy of the IRS Form 4506T-EZ or IRS Form 4506-T with the school listed on line 5 as the third party to whom the IRS will mail the 2012 IRS Tax

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 18, 2013 – (COD System).  Additional COD System Implementation for 2013-2014 Award Year In this announcement ED provides information on the enhancements made to the COD System capabilities effective October 27, 2013.  The areas affected by these changes in the COD System impact Direct Loan processing.  Specifically, an expansion of all of the counseling modules at StudentLoans.gov now provides for the availability of the modules in Spanish.  Additionally, now all of the counseling modules on StudentLoans.gov include the required information about the 150% limit on Subsidized Direct Loans.  Finally, the enhancements in this update modified the required data elements and implements a new CPS data-matching for COD Web Quick Credit Checks. As a result of these developments, all authorized users conducting a PLUS credit check via the COD Web site must include student identifier information as well as borrower identifier information and school information to be able to match CPS data across all active CPS award years on file.           THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2014-2015

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 23, 2013 – (Application Processing).  2014-2015 ISIR Guide The 2014-2015 ISIR Guide was released with this announcement.  The Guide is an extremely useful tool for financial aid administrators.  It provides all the details needed to interpret data contained on the ISIR, to include student application data, results of the NSLDS data matches, reject codes and reasons, etc.  If you have a question about the ISIR, you will get the answer in the ISIR Guide. EA – Posted October 30, 2013 – (Application Processing).  Reminder:  Submit 2013-2014 SAR and ISIR Corrections by January 13, 2014 in Preparation for 2014-2015 Renewal Reminder Distribution ED reminds schools that students' SARs/ISIRs must be updated with correct e-mail addresses by January 13, 2014 in order to be sent the Renewal FAFSA reminder for the coming school year.  Students who meet the 2014-2015 FAFSA renewal eligibility requirements will be sent a reminder by e-mail between January 16, 2014 and January 22, 2014.  Schools sho

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 18, 2013 – (COD System).  Additional COD System Implementation for 2013-2014 Award Year In this announcement ED provides information on the enhancements made to the COD System capabilities effective October 27, 2013.  The areas affected by these changes in the COD System impact Direct Loan processing.  Specifically, an expansion of all of the counseling modules at StudentLoans.gov now provides for the availability of the modules in Spanish.  Additionally, now all of the counseling modules on StudentLoans.gov include the required information about the 150% limit on Subsidized Direct Loans.  Finally, the enhancements in this update modified the required data elements and implements a new CPS data-matching for COD Web Quick Credit Checks. As a result of these developments, all authorized users conducting a PLUS credit check via the COD Web site must include student identifier information as well as borrower identifier information and school information to be able to match CPS data across all active CPS award years on file.     THE INFORMATION PRO

ED’s Federal Student Aid Handbook 2013-2014 EDITION

January 23, 2014
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EA – Posted October 23, 2013 – 2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook with Index Linked to Entries ED has posted a complete version of the 2013-2014 FSA Handbook with live links.  This is the fourth year that this feature has been available for the Handbook.  Once more this year ED has superseded its prior publication records in that this edition is yet again the earliest that an index with live links has been provided for a processing year.  The link capability allows you to look up a topic in the index and click on the page number to be taken directly to the subject of interest.  It can be used to expedite your search in the Handbook.  The link to this edition is accessible from IFAP’s iLibrary page for the Federal Student Aid Handbook, or directly at 2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook with Active Index Linked to Entries EA – Posted October 24, 2013 – Errata and Updates – Volume 1 – Student Eligibility and

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: DEFAULT RATE INFORMATION

October 14, 2013
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DEFAULT RATE INFORMATION EA – August 20, 2013 – (Loans).  Default Rates for Cohort Years 2006-2010 The release of the four types of student loan default rates for the 2006-2010 five-year period is disclosed with this EA.  This information is useful for aid administrators to be aware of and more fully appreciate the impact of student loan defaults over time.  In addition to the familiar 2-year and 3-year cohort default rates (CDR), the budget lifetime default rate (BLDR) and the cumulative lifetime default rate (CLDR) are also described.  The BLDR is the projected percentage of loans (FFEL and DL Stafford Loans) originated in a given federal fiscal year that will default during a projected 20-year life of the loan cohort.  This percentage is what is used when the president makes annual federal budget projections.  The CLDR is the percentage of all FFEL/DL loan types (i.e., Stafford, PLUS, Grad PLUS, and consolidation loans) that enter repayment in a given federal fiscal year and that now have defaulted as of the end of the most recent fiscal year for which data is available.  This rate provides a performance tool to analyze the risk of defaults over

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

October 14, 2013
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GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS EA – Posted July 9, 2013 – (General).  Volume 8 – The Direct Loan Program [2013 Blue Book] In this announcement ED has released the last portion of the 2013 Blue Book.  This volume consists of a thorough overview of the Direct Loan program.  It comprises much of the same information as is in the Federal Student Aid Handbook, but it also includes more comprehensive information that was previously contained in the former publication, The Direct Loan School Guide.  As such, it includes chapters on such operational aspects of awards and loan periods, and the Master Promissory Note (MPN), but also there are chapters on reconciliation and borrower care.  The Blue Book is somewhat to the Fiscal Office/Bursar’s Office what the Federal Student Aid Handbook is to Financial Aid Administrators.  However, because this Volume 8 of the Blue Book is a comprehensive resource on Direct Loans, financial aid administrators will likely find this to be a very useful resource for information related to Direct Loans.  Schools will do well

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE)

October 14, 2013
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GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE) EA – August 30, 2013 – (OPE Announcements).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #44 – Posting of Session One materials related to Negotiated Rulemaking Committee In this announcement ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) highlights the information provided to the Negotiated Rulemaking (Neg Reg) Committee in preparation for the meeting held September 9-11, 2013.  This information may be found via the OPE’s Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking 2013-2014 – Gainful Employment Web page.  It includes the link to draft regulations on the topic of Gainful Employment (GE).  With the information is provided a comparison of the prior GE regulations and the proposed regulations and a high-level analysis of GE data.  The Neg Reg Committee is scheduled to meet again October 21-23, 2013.  

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: FSA CONFERENCE

October 14, 2013
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FSA CONFERENCE EA – Posted July 9, 2013 – (General).  2013 FSA Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals [Note:  Subsequent Updates to the 2013 FSA Training Conference were provided in EAs posted August 1, 2013 and September 30, 2013.] The dates and location of the 2013 FSA Conference are given with the statement that this event provides premiere financial aid training for the financial aid community.  The conference is December 3-6, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.  A draft agenda and session descriptions are available on the 2013 FSA Conference Web site.  

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2014-2015

October 14, 2013
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EA – Posted September 19, 2013 – (Application Processing).  2014-2015 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Formula Guide The annual update to the EFC Formula Guide is provided in this announcement.  The EFC Formula Guide gives all of the details of how a student’s EFC is calculated, including the charts that detail the allowances and taxation rates used in the formula.  It also contains worksheets so that schools may calculate an estimated EFC.  This EFC Formula Guide with its included worksheets can be used as an excellent training tool to help staff become aware of what goes in to the calculation of an EFC and what items may affect the its calculation.  

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014

October 14, 2013
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EA – Posted July 22, 2013 – (Application Processing).  2013-2014 ISIR Guide (July 2013 Update) An update to the 2013-2014 ISIR Guide was released with this announcement.  This particular update provides minor revisions to information in Appendices C and D.  The Guide is an extremely useful tool for financial aid administrators.  It provides all the details needed to interpret data contained on the ISIR, to include student application data, results of the NSLDS data match, reject codes and reasons, etc.  If you have a question about the ISIR, you will get the answer in the ISIR Guide. EA – Posted July 22, 2013 – (Application Processing).  2013-2014 SAR Comment Codes and Text Guide (July 2013 Update) In this update to the 2013-2014 SAR Comment Codes and Text Guide a correction to a deadline date was provided, and the addition of two new comment codes with defaulted loan contact information were provided.  This Guide is another extremely useful tool of which schools should be cognizant.   It includes a descr

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: VERIFICATION FOR 2013-2014

October 14, 2013
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EA – Posted July 16, 2013 – (Verification).  Program Integrity Questions and Answers (Q&A) Website Update The Financial Aid community is alerted to the most recent update to the Program Integrity Q&As Web site.  This resource covers all of the main topics of the Program Integrity regulations published on October 29, 2010.  This particular update provides answers related to verification and clarifies some of the requirements related to verification Tracking Group V.  Schools are encouraged to review this Web site regularly for updated Q&As. EA – Posted July 16, 2013 – (Verification).  Spanish Statement of Educational Purpose for 2013-2014 In the announcement, ED provides the Statement of Educational Purpose in Spanish.  This version of the required text for the Statement was developed to address the concerns of schools that serve Spanish-speaking students.  Schools that choose to provide a Spanish version of the Statement of Educational Purpose mu

ED’s Federal Student Aid Handbook: 2013-2014 EDITION

October 14, 2013
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EA – Posted July 12, 2013 – (General).  2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 2 – School Eligibility and Operations With this announcement, ED posted Volume 2 of the 2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook.  As can be seen, the volumes are not always released in numerical order, as this issuance is the fifth of the total of six volumes in this year’s FSA Handbook to be released (plus the Application and Verification Guide which is distributed as an unnumbered volume within the Handbook).  Some of the new items added or items that were updated in this year’s edition of Volume 2 are information about Executive Order 13607 which applies to schools that have students receiving federal military and veterans’ education benefits, clarified information about Net Price Calculators, a note about the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, and updated information related to the effect of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on the Clery Act.  Finally, of particular interest is the clarification given about schools making available the results of their biennial re

ED’s Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014 (FIR-Q3-2013)

August 7, 2013
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PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014 EA – Posted April 5, 2013 – (Campus-Based).  Notification of Campus-Based Funding for the 2013-2014 Award Year ED provides notice of the availability of the reports that list approved Campus-Based Funding levels by school in each State.  The announcement provides a link to the letter that has the reports as an attachment. EA – Posted April 11, 2013 – (Application Processing).  Overview of April 2013 Enhancements to Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web If you have been in financial aid for a number of years, you may have always thought that once processing began for a year, that is the way things would be until the next processing year.  Well, you may be pleased to learn that ED does make enhancements after a processing year has begun.  Specifically, in this EA, ED provides the most recent enhancements made to FAFSA on the Web (FOTW).  One such enhancement made in April, 2013 is the implementation of the “MyStudentData” download functionality.  This feature allows students to download their F

ED’s Federal Student Aid Handbook: 2013-2014 EDITION

August 7, 2013
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2013-2014 EDITION EA – Posted April 4, 2013 – (General).  2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 4 – Processing Aid and Managing FSA Funds With this announcement, ED has posted the second of the numerous volumes to be released for the 2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook.  Some of the new items contained in this year’s edition of Volume 4 are a reminder that schools may not use Title IV funds to pay “overtime charges” for a student who fails to complete his or her academic program within the normal time frame, as well as an additional reminder that although schools do not have to return Direct Loan proceeds if a student who received a Direct Loan disbursement begins attendance for the loan period, but does so on a less than half-time basis, the school must not make any subsequent disbursements of the loan, unless the student resumes enrollment on at least a half-time basis.  Finally, a whole new chapter on “Reconciliation” is provided in this year’s edition (which also happens to be included in the recently released new Blue Book).

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

August 6, 2013
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GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS EA – Posted April 2, 2013– (Direct Loans). Updated Guidance on Making Direct Loan Refunds of Cash In its annual reminder, ED points out that Direct Loan funds are not student-specific, but are program and award year-specific. This means that when one student will not use the funds or returns them to the school, they can be disbursed to other eligible students who will be receiving Direct Loans for the same Direct Loan award year. If the funds cannot be disbursed within the regulatory timeframes, they must be returned. Schools are also reminded of the methods for returning funds, with the use of G5 strongly encouraged. (Use of G5 is required when the amount of cash being refunded exceeds $100,000.) ED further reminds schools that DL disbursements, adjustments, and refunds of cash should be reported in whole dollars only. Failure to do so will negatively impact a school’s ability to complete its monthly reconciliation. EA – Posted April 5, 2013– (General). Update: Impact of Sequestration on the Title IV Student Aid Prog

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2014-2015

August 6, 2013
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PROCESSING FOR 2014-2015 EA – Posted May 20, 2013 – (Application Processing).  Notice of the Draft 2014-2015 Federal Student Aid Application Materials This EA informs the community of the Notice in the Federal Register on May 6, 2013 that contains the draft versions of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Student Aid Report (SAR).  More information related to the changes in the FAFSA and SAR for 2014-2015 may be found under the information related to Dear Colleague Letter GEN-13-12 later in this Inside Report.    

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2012-2013

April 30, 2013
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ED's Electronic Announcements (EAs) on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2012-2013 EA – Posted March 12, 2013 – (Grants).  First Pell Grant Administrative Cost Allowance Payments for 2012-2013 ED announces the imminent disbursement of the first Pell Grant Administrative Cost Allowance (ACA) payments for the current award year.  The payments were initiated on March 11, 2013 and will occur over the following several weeks.  Thus, schools will begin to see the additional cash showing up in their bank accounts.  It is not an amount that affects the Current Funding Level (CFL).  Rather, it is an amount of $5 per Pell Grant recipient that is paid to the school to offset the costs of administering the Title IV programs. EA – Posted March 14, 2013 – (Campus-Based).  Draft 2014-2015 FISAP, Instructions, and Technical Reference Do not let the heading of this EA fool you.  The draft 2014-2015 FISAP alluded to in the heading is actually the draft of the Fiscal Operations Report for 2012-2013 and Application to Participate for 2014-20

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014

April 30, 2013
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PROCESSING FOR 2013-2014 EA – Posted January 25, 2013 – (Campus-Based).  Tentative 2013-2014 Funding Levels for the Campus-Based Programs ED announced that the tentative funding levels for Campus-Based programs for the upcoming award year were available as of February 1, 2013.  It is helpful for schools to review the attachment to the announcement that gives an explanation of the calculation of each tentative funding level contained in the worksheet for each program.  Important to note is that the tentative funding levels are based upon the 2012-2013 award year appropriations until the outcome of the appropriations for 2013-2014 is known.  Institutions were notified by e-mail to the school’s Financial Aid Administrator when the tentative funding levels and worksheets were available on the eCB Web site. EA – Posted February 1, 2013 – (Application Processing).  2013-2014 Federal School Code List of Participating Schools (February 2013) The 2013-2014 Federal School Code List of Participating Schools is provided for schools to be able to review

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: VERIFICATION for 2013-2014

April 30, 2013
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VERIFICATION for 2013-2014 EA – Posted January 18, 2013 – (General).  2013-2014 Verification – Suggested Text In this posting, ED provides suggested text that may be used in the verification of selected applicants in 2013-2014.  Financial Aid Administrators should review this EA thoroughly.  Beyond providing suggested text to use in developing verification documents, this EA gives additional guidance and instruction related to the changes in the verification process for 2013-2014.  Specific focus is given to encourage schools to remove any unnecessary burdens in the process.  For example, ED urges institutions to use a targeted approach to request only required verification information from students and families rather than using one combined verification document for all selected students that includes all or most of the possible 2013-2014 items in the various verification groups. It is important to note that the attached suggested verification text is just that, suggested.  ED does not require the use of the particular text provided as long as the institution collects the required information and certifications, etc., that a

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

April 30, 2013
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GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT (GE) EA – Posted January 11, 2013 – (General).  Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement #43 – NSLDS Gainful Employment Spreadsheet Submittal Format ED announces the release of the newest version of the NSLDS Gainful Employment Spreadsheet Submittal Format.   This tool, available on the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site, is designed to assist schools who wish to voluntarily update or correct their previously reported GE data through NSLDS.  The previous version of this tool, then called the NSLDS Gainful Employment Submittal Template, may still be used; however, it limits the number of records that may be submitted per transmittal to 50 records.  This new format will allow for up to 2500 records per submittal.  Schools may use the NSLDS Professional Access Web site to submit corrections when using this new submittal format.

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: ED SECURITY INITIATIVES

April 30, 2013
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ED SECURITY INITIATIVES  EA – Posted February 6, 2013 – (General).  Change to Login Process for All Federal Student Aid Systems Behind AIMS The Financial Aid community is reminded of the change in the login process for FSA systems behind AIMS that began March 11, 2013.  This change simplifies the login process for such systems as eCampus-Based (eCB), eCDR Appeals, FAA Access to CPS Online, NSLDS Professional Access, and SAIG.  A further reminder is given regarding the changes that are also forthcoming in May 2013 in the COD system login process.  Those changes will allow for an updated AIMS access to COD similar to the changes made for the other FSA systems referenced above.  More information on this change will be provided in future announcements. EA – Posted March 8, 2013 – (General).  COD WEB SITE ACCESS – March 2013 Enrollment Changes for COD Web Site Users ED describes the enhanced enrollment process for users of the COD Web site effective March 11, 2013.  Users will be required to log in to the COD site using their FSA User ID and password in addition to the password generated by the Two-Factor A

ED’s Electronic Announcements on IFAP: GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS

April 30, 2013
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GENERAL AND VARIED ANNOUNCEMENTS EA – Posted January 11, 2013 – (General).  Availability of Updated NSLDS Enrollment Reporting Guide ED announces the availability of the updated NSLDS Enrollment Reporting Guide.  The Guide provides detailed instruction for reporting enrollment, whether the method of reporting is online or by batch.  Of note, among several changes, is the relabeling of the fields ‘Term Begin Date”, “Term End Date”, and “Credential Level”.  ED states that while these fields are not mandated currently (although they were incorrectly labeled as mandated in the last version of the Guide), providing the credential level of the academic program of the student reported with an enrollment status of “G” (graduated) assists ED in tracking the success of Title IV fund usage. EA – Posted January 18, 2013 – (General).  Helpful Social Media Tools to Promote FAFSA Completion In this announcement, ED makes Financial Aid Administrators aware of the new social media tools t

ED’s Federal Student Aid Handbook: 2013-2014 Edition

April 30, 2013
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2013-2014 EDITION EA – Posted January 31, 2013 – (General). 2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook, Application and Verification Guide With this announcement, ED has posted the first portion of the 2013-2014 Federal Student Aid Handbook. This Application and Verification Guide (AVG) section is the key document that assists financial aid administrators begin their processing for the upcoming award year. It is critical that all FAAs are familiar with the content of this new AVG. Some of the notable changes in the AVG for 2013-2014 are the elimination of the homebuyer tax credit information as that credit is no longer available to taxpayers; guidance that Social Security disability benefits are not to be counted as untaxed income which is in accord with how other disability benefits are treated; and, an update to the chart that indicates signature requirements for when a student or parent must document tax-related information on the FAFSA. Additionally, this AVG provides a thorough discussion of the new verification tracking groups and includes a description of acceptable documentation of high school completion status and the identity/statem