Federal Update from David Bartnicki

05 Feb 2014 11:04 AM | Anonymous
FSA guidance:

Pell Grants

As noted in our recently posted Dear Colleague Letter GEN-14-01, the maximum Pell Grant amount for 2014-2015 is $5,730 with a maximum Pell eligible EFC being 5157. For a listing of all of our Pell payment and disbursement schedules for 2014-2015, please see GEN-14-01 - http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1401.html.

Verification

As mentioned in the November 8, 2013 electronic announcement that discussed ED’s suggested text for the verification process in 2014-2015, beginning with the 2013 tax year, a tax filer who is not able to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript because of identity theft, will be able to call a special IRS toll-free number (1-800-908-4490) for assistance. Upon verification of identity, the tax filer can request the IRS provide a paper copy of an alternative document unique to identity theft issues (a Tax Return Data Base View form - TRDBV).

Another change beginning with tax year 2013 is with regards to requesting tax return transcripts online. Once an online transcript request is validated, the IRS will return in real-time, a transcript in a portable document format (pdf). Tax filers can then print, save and/or forward the pdf transcript as instructed by the school.

One important point to keep in mind when discussing transcripts is that regardless of the request method, the IRS cannot produce a transcript if it has not yet processed the filed tax return.

These updates and other guidance related to transcripts will be provided in an upcoming electronic announcement – stay tuned to IFAP.

And finally, please remember that all schools are required to update the verification identity and high school completion status results for students selected in 2014-2015 under verification tracking groups V4 and V5 in FAA Access to CPS Online. The updates are required for students for whom the school received an ISIR with a Verification Tracking Group of V4 or V5 AND for whom the school requested verification documentation. Please do NOT include students the school selected for verification of identity or high school completion status. For more information, including potential time frames, instructional steps, and system guidance, please see the November 13, 2013 electronic announcement.


150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations
I continue to receive a high volume of calls and emails around the new 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations. I am glad to announce that ED recently created a webpage dedicated to the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limitations which can be found on the right-hand side of the IFAP.ed.gov homepage (http://ifap.ed.gov/150PercentDirectSubsidizedLoanLimitInfo/index.html). This webpage contains federal registers, Dear Colleague Letters, Electronic Announcements, over 50 Q & As, and various training and reference materials. We are providing information on this topic on a regular basis and it is very important to monitor IFAP for any updates and new information.

One of the newest pieces of information related to the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan limitations is the release of the final federal register dated January 17, 2014. The major changes to the regulations include –

•- Usage period calculations will now be rounded to the nearest 10.0 percent and not to the lowest 25.0 percent.
•- Both exceptions to the standard subsidized usage period calculations will now apply to borrowers who are enrolled part-time and receive the annual loan limit for a period of enrollment less than an academic year. First the annual loan limit exception will be applied and then the part-time exception will be applied.
•- There are two new adjustments to the Maximum Eligibility Period (MEP) Calculations for 2-year bachelor’s degree completion programs and special admission associate degree programs.
•o Two-year bachelor’s degree completion programs that require an associate degree or 2 years of postsecondary coursework for admission is considered to be 4 years long (MEP = 6 years).
•o Special admission associate degree programs that require an associate degree or at least two years of coursework for admission is considered to be four years long (MEP = 6 years). In addition, to be considered a special admission associate degree program, the program must have a selective admissions process and the coursework must be necessary for licensure or certification by the State for the student’s profession.
For more information on the recently published final federal register please see our electronic announcement dated January 17, 2014 - http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/011714RevisedFinalRegulationsPublished150PercentEANum8.html.

High School Diplomas

Policy recently created a new category under the program integrity Q & A website entitled “high school diploma.” This category covers common questions dealing with when to verify high school diplomas, high school diploma equivalents, foreign high school diplomas, certificates of completion and many other key questions. For more information, please review the new high school diploma category on the program integrity website which can be found on the right-hand side of the IFAP homepage or at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/integrity-qa.html.

Gainful Employment Disclosures

The long awaited ED disclosure template for GE programs was released back in November 2013. To access the disclosure template application, the institution must go to the following website: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/negreg-summerfall.html. All institutions must update their GE Program disclosures with the 2012-2013 award year information no later than January 31, 2014 using the released template process.

In addition, institutions must prominently provide a direct link from the home page of the GE Program website to the program’s disclosure page that was generated by the disclosure template application. Any technical questions regarding the template can be directed to (855) 359-3697 or gedt@inovas.net.

For more information regarding the GE disclosure template, please see our GE electronic announcement #46 dated November 22, 2013.

Final Federal Register – 11/1/13 – Loans II

One specific item I wanted to highlight from our final federal register dated November 1, 2013 that dealt with loans was our regulation regarding minimum loan periods for transfer students in non-term credit and clock hour programs. The new regulation under 34 CFR 685.301(a) (10) states –

•- (ii) For a student who transfers into a school from another school and the prior school originated a loan for a period of enrollment that overlaps the period of enrollment at the new school, the new school may originate a loan for the remaining portion of the program or academic year. In this case the school may originate a loan for an amount that does not exceed the remaining balance of the student’s annual loan limit.

Under this new regulation it does not matter if hours transfer in or not. This regulation can be implemented early as of November 1, 2013.

In addition, below are some basic principles tied to the overlapping of Academic Years and loan periods in non-term settings –

1. The abbreviated loan period starts when the student starts at school B.
2. The abbreviated loan period ends when the AY would have ended at School A and it does not matter how many hours or weeks of instructional time the student has completed.
3. The amount that can be borrowed in the abbreviated loan period is any remaining amount of the annual loan limit that was not disbursed at School A.
4. The first disbursement of the remaining balance loan borrowed for attendance at School B would be disbursed at the beginning of the loan period. The loan must be multiply disbursed in at least two disbursements over the abbreviated loan period unless School B is subject to the low CDR rule, with the second disbursement of the loan disbursed at the calendar midpoint of the abbreviated loan period regardless of how many clock/credit hours or weeks of instructional time have been completed.
5. The next loan period at School B would begin the day after the last day of the abbreviated loan period.
6. The next loan period would be subject to the normal BBAY3 rules in that the student must complete hours and weeks of instructional time before qualifying for the second disbursement and to progress to the next academic year for annual loan limit purposes.

Net Price Calculator

In our electronic announcement dated January 27, 2014, we indicated that the latest version of the Department's Net Price Calculator template, which reflects data from the 2012-2013 award year, is now available at the Department's Net Price Calculator Information Center (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/net_price_calculator.asp). Please ensure your NPC has been properly updated with your 2012-2013 award year information.

REACH FSA Phone Number

And in case you sometimes forget the phone number of your favorite FSA Customer Service Center or System representative, don’t forget about Reach FSA. REACH FSA is a new phone line designed to provide the financial aid community with simplified access to FSA School Contact Centers. Schools now have the option of calling one number, 1-855-FSA-4-FAA (1-855-372-4322), to connect immediately to any of the following FSA School Contact Centers:

•· Campus-Based Call Center

•· Central Processing System (CPS)/ Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) Technical Support

•· Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) School Relations Center

•· eZ-Audit Help Desk

•· FSA Research and Customer Care Center (RCCC)

•· Foreign Schools Participation Division

•· G5 Hotline

•· National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Customer Support Center

•· Nelnet Total and Permanent Disability Servicer

•· School Eligibility Service Group

For more information about REACH FSA, please see our electronic announcement dated November 15, 2013.

Your neighborhood FED,

DAVE

David Bartnicki

Federal Training Officer

ED/FSA/Atlanta

david.bartnicki@ed.gov
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