FAME COVID-19 Response & Resources

Hotline, Information, and Support
CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY LOANS: Small Business Guide and Checklist

COVID-19 is a pandemic that has basically brought this country and others around the world to a halt.  Don’t panic if you have had to close your doors, there are things that you can do to survive.

On March 5, 2020, ED sent out an electronic notice, giving guidance regarding school interruptions related to the virus and under certain circumstances allowing accreditors and institutions an opportunity to provide education temporarily through distance education (DE).  Since then the President has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and restricted gatherings of more than 10 people. States have forced school facility closures to reduce the spread of the disease. For more information go to the March 5, Electronic Announcement and the dedicated web page on COVID-19. https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus?src=feature .

What is FAME doing to assist schools during this crisis:

  • FAME is offering a free hotline, maintained by trained staff to answer your questions based on the most current information available to us. Please call FAME customer support to get immediate assistance 800-327-5772 option 1
  • There is no charge for questions regarding COVID-19, we are here to support you.
  • We have partnered with Online Testing Group (OTG) who is offering free on-line testing services for your students through June.
  • We have also partnered with dialogEDU, an LMS application, providing expedited on-line platform and services for online training, grades and attendance.
  • Due to the need to cancel our annual conference, we will be offering important sessions online in the weeks ahead.
  • FAME understands the financial burden of the school closure and loss of revenue and will work with you during this period. If you have financial issues, please contact Kathy Cahill at AR@fameinc.com
  • If FAME is your Third Party Servicer, send us your approvals for temporary Distance Education (DE) programs, so that we can continue to draw down funds.  Send them to Nancy McCallum at nmccallum@fameinc.com 
  • Watch for email updates from FAME and postings on our website regarding regulatory changes, enhanced communication methods and Community Outreach COVID-19 webinars hosted by FAME.            

The state and federal government mandated that school facilities be closed until future notice. How do I get approval to temporarily offer my programs via Distance Education (DE)?

  • Notify the state approval agency that you have temporarily closed your school facilities because of a state mandate and wish to deliver your program(s) via DE temporarily. 
  • Once the state approval is in place, complete the request to provide temporary DE classes via the proper forms with your accrediting agency and also provide them with the state approval. (They all have posted something on their websites regarding temporary DE approval).
  • Notify your Eligibility contact at ED of TEMPORARY SCHOOL FACILITY CLOSURE, and intent to deliver program(s) via DE.

Note:

  • So far, some applications have been rejected or denied by the accrediting agency because the total number of hours/credits allowed per week or per program is limited, for example no more than 10-15 hours per week can be offered as DE.
  • When completing the request for temporarily providing the program via DE, make sure that the total hours or credits in the program and state requirements combined equal the total requirements for the program. Do not complete the form indicating that all of it will be taught as DE or it will reject and delay your process.

Do I need ED approval prior to offering a temporary DE program?

No, you may proceed as long as the state and accrediting agency approvals are in place. It doesn’t hurt to notify ED that you are offering the temporary DE program. 

Do I have to notify ED of the school facility closure?

You are required to notify ED of any change within 10 days. Although ED has given some flexibility, this crisis does not supersede regulatory requirements of notifications.

Important: Make sure that you notify ED that this is a mandated temporary facility closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that you plan to offer your programs by DE and will reopen your facilities as soon as it is safe for your staff and students to do so. It is important that ED has names and contact information, other than school numbers, so that they can stay in touch with them.

Can students still be paid Title IV funds during the time when school facilities are closed?

Yes, as long as they are taking approved eligible DE program(s) on line.

What happens if one or more of my students don’t want to attend an online program?

Any student that doesn’t want to attend an on-line program can be placed on an LOA until classrooms are available. If the student is well, and doesn’t resume the program when available, they will be dropped, based on LDA, and an R2T4 calculated.

What if my students are now attending less than full time?

The normal disbursement rules apply.

What type of delivery can be used for temporary DE programs?

ED is being very flexible, and so are most accrediting agencies. ED is even allowing email of materials, with chats, but remember the requirement for substantive communication between the instructor and the student is still a requirement and must be documented.

Make use of available web conferencing/webinar  facilities such as: Google Hangouts, Go to Meeting, WebEx, Ring Central, Zoom or any other method to deliver training.

Also make sure that you follow accrediting and state requirements.

Make sure you keep very good records of the date you closed, the date that you received approvals from your accrediting agency and the state, and exactly how the program was offered under DE, interaction with instructor, etc. The auditor and ED will need this information later.

Thursday, May 21 – FAME Community Outreach Forum X – Transitioning Back to the Classroom

Tom Netting, Sally Samuels, and a panel of national accrediting agency executives gathered on Thursday, May 21 to discuss the latest information on New ED guidance on the implementation of key provisions within the provisions of the CARES Act; how institutions are preparing to, or already have begun to, transition back to the brick and mortar classroom; what flexibility your accrediting agencies are providing to enable your institution to maintain the delivery of education to your students; and at what point they will require institutions to apply for either a hybrid or a full distance education approval.
View Webinar

Wednesday, May 13 – FAME Community Outreach Forum IX – ED’s Anticipated New Guidance on R2T4, SAP, LOAs, FSEOG and More

Join Tom Netting, attorney Chris DeLuca, and Sally Samuels for this timely webinar, covering anticipated new guidance from ED on R2T4, SAP, LOAs, FSEOG, plus the long awaited final Title IX regulations. The Electronic Announcement posted on May 6 clarifies HEERF grant funds reporting and includes additional unexpected requirements to post the information prominently on your main website.
View Webinar

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 – FAME Community Forum VIII

In this webinar, Tom Netting and Sally Samuels will shed some light as they discuss the latest update from ED, a new promissory note for DL loans, and challenges of returning to the campus once schools are allowed to reopen.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – FAME Community Forum VII – Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) – Application Process

In this special follow-up session, Ron Holt, Tom Netting, Joe Knutte and Sally Samuels provide an update on the financial impact of the COVID-19 Insurance Claims, PPP, Title IX and other topics of concern.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – FAME Community Forum VI – Title IX, 90/10, Audit Reports and More

In this special follow-up session, Ron Holt, Tom Netting, Joe Knutte and Sally Samuels provide an update on the financial impact of the COVID-19 Insurance Claims, PPP, Title IX and other topics of concern.
View Webinar

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 – FAME Community Forum V – Financial Impact of the CARES Act, TDE, R2T4’s and More

Together, Ron Holt, Tom Netting, Joe Knutte and Sally Samuels discussed the financial impact of the CARES Act, legal issues related to Temporary Distance Education, R2T4 reporting, Audits and other topics of concern.
View Webinar

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – FAME Community Forum IV – Financial Aid Update

Sally Samuels, FAME’s Director of Compliance, will address the financial aid issues related to ED’s guidance and the CARES Act. She will speak to the pandemic’s impact on educational institutions, followed by questions and answers from attendees.
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Friday, April 3, 2020 – FAME Community Forum III – COVID-19 Resources Online Marketing, Admissions, Curriculum and Testing

Jean Norris & Vince Norton from Norton|Norris will discuss new practices in marketing & admissions. Wendy Morales from dialogEDU will address setting up your curriculum online and monitoring student activities. George Sampsel from Online Testing Group will provide information to ensure that your online testing is accessible, validated and foolproof.
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Monday, March 30, 2020 – FAME Community Forum II – COVID-19 and the Stimulus Package

Together, Tom Netting, CEO of Ten Government Strategies and Sally Samuels, FAME’s Director of Compliance will review the COVID-19 stimulus package and how it will affect schools and their students.
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Monday, March 23, 2020 – FAME Community Forum – COVID-19

Panelists Tom Netting, CEO of Ten Government Strategies, Tony Mirando, Executive Director of NACCAS, Gregg Meiklejohn, Co-founder of Enrollment Resources, and Sally Samuels, Director of Compliance, discussed state and accreditation requirements to gain temporary approval for providing course work online, communication methods for keeping students engaged, and ongoing methods to continue to enroll new students online.
View Webinar

Additional Resources for Higher Education Institutions: