TASFAA Community Blog

  • 25 Nov 2013 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    How Analytics Can Help Schools Prepare for Student Success

    By Ted Lannan, Inceptia Director of Market Research

    This month the Department of Education will conduct public forums on college campuses across the country to discuss a possible federal college rating system that will determine student aid awards.

    Many states today have already reconsidered the enrollment-based funding model and instead are allocating money to colleges and universities based on the number of students who complete courses and degrees.

    According to a report released last month by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) and Complete College America, 16 states have a funding formula in place

    The funding formulas are based on performance indicators like course completion, time to degree, transfer rates, the number of degrees awarded, or the number of low-income and minority graduates. This illustration [see map] shows states that are already transitioning to some type of performance funding or are considering it.

    Ten additional states are transitioning to some type of performance funding and more states have started the process with formal hearings held at the Legislature or meetings conducted by governing boards.

    Based on these changes, higher education institutions must focus on student success and retention to generate an acceptable rate of return and maintain financial viability.

    The starting point is analytics. My favorite business quote from Peter Drucker is: "What gets measured gets managed.

    Today, higher education institutions are collecting more data than ever before. However, much of the data is being used to satisfy credentialing or reporting requirements rather than to address strategic planning questions. Much of the data collected are not used at all. The problem is not the amount of data, but the challenge of integrating it, and the time and expertise to analyze it.

    That's where professional analysis can help. Analytics:

    • provides evaluation of data to determine patterns unique to each school
    • helps mine and integrate vast amounts of information not normally connected
    • offers a predictive view of upcoming challenges
    • makes available a means to efficiently use resources available


    Data should be used to identify the variables in student success. It

    At a time when our government will require more justification when credentialing and ranking an institution, the objective must be to use data analysis to promote retention, improve graduation rates and enhance loan repayment.

    Ted Lannan is the Director of Market Research for Inceptia. More information can be found at Inceptia.org.


  • 31 Oct 2013 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    Seats are filling up for the TASFAA training next week. Don't miss out on multiple valuable sessions, time with colleagues, and the updated R2T4 training handout from NASFAA. The cost is only $65 and the commute will be minimal. Looking forward to seeing you! Click here to register.

  • 31 Oct 2013 9:45 AM | Anonymous

    4 Ways to Lower Your Cohort Default Rate

    Stephanie Mackeprang, Inceptia



    The headlines are everywhere: “Cohort Default Rates Rise for Sixth Year.” Although it comes as no surprise to administrators and industry experts, the rising default rate adds another burden to already taxed financial aid offices.

    Now that the rates are out and published, what can schools do now to curb future rates? No matter if your school’s rate is rising or maintaining, these four tactics will make a positive impact on your future default rate.

    Track Your Rate Year Round

    Upload your School Portfolio report to the Cohort Activity Report system, a free service provided by Inceptia, to receive current data on open cohort default years and monitor borrowers in repayment and default. This report will also show the impact one default borrower has on your rate and the number of borrowers needing rescue to impact your rate by one percent.

    Conduct Analytics

    Gathering data on student population trends can help schools understand the default characteristics of students. Trend analysis identifies borrowers in jeopardy so schools can focus on meeting the financial education needs of the students that need it the most.

    Promote Financial Education

    Financial education is the best way to impact future default rates. The more students know about budgeting, borrowing and credit cards the less likely they will default on their loans. Whether your school hires an outside vendor or uses internal staff, be sure your students are being taught by a certified personal financial manager (CPFM) and have access to online resources.

    Contact Student Borrowers

    One-on-one counseling will help delinquent borrowers get back on track. Through grace counseling or default prevention outreach, a direct connection can make a huge impact on students’ lives. Before you reach out to borrowers, you will need a contact strategyundefinedletters, emails, phone calls or a combination of all three. Once the contact method has been determined, you will want to ensure you are complying with the Fair Debt Practices Collection Act (FDPCA) for your own protection. Read Contacting Student Borrowers for more tips.

    Although not much can be done about the FY 2010 3-year and FY 2011 2-year cohort default rates now, there are steps you can take today that will impact future rates. Inceptia offers a free Cohort Activity Report. For more information on how analytics, financial education and default prevention outreach can lower your cohort default rate, contact Inceptia at 888.529.2028 or inceptiacs@inceptia.org.

  • 31 Oct 2013 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    November Schedule: Great Lakes’ Free SmartSessions Trainings

    Dependency Status Dilemmas

    Are your students confused about how to answer dependency questions on the FAFSA? When should you consider a dependency override? We'll review ways to help your students while maintaining compliance.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • Does a student's self-sufficiency make them independent?
    • How does the IRS definition of a "dependent" differ from the FAFSA?
    • Who is considered to be a "Homeless Unaccompanied Youth?"

    November 6th @ 3 pm, Eastern time

    Dependency Status Dilemmas

    November 18th @ 12 pm, Eastern time
    Dependency Status Dilemmas

    A Guide to Great Lakes Default Prevention Tools

    This session provides an overview of the Great Lakes tools available to help you reach out to delinquent borrowers and manage your cohort default rate. Learn how to use our Borrowers at Risk report and delinquency letter tool to connect with former students and steer them away from default on FFELP, put, and Direct loans. The training will fully explain report access, settings and options, and subscriptions. You'll also learn how different schools use the tools to tackle different prevention challenges.

    November 7th @ 12 pm, Eastern time
    A Guide to Great Lakes Default Prevention Tools

    How to Create a Social Media Site for your Financial Aid Office

    Your students use social media to connect with other campus offices. Do you know how to set up and maintain a Facebook or Twitter account for the aid office to improve customer service and outreach? Before getting started with posting content or designing a strategy, you first need to know how to set up a Facebook or Twitter account. There are guidelines that you need to follow and decisions to be made regarding pages, profiles, and use of visuals before you launch. This webinar will provide a step by step guide to setting up your Facebook and Twitter accounts for maximum effectiveness.

    Specific topics include:

    • ·         The ten steps to setting up a Facebook or Twitter account
    • ·         Understanding administrator rights and platform rules
    • ·         Suggestions for interaction: fans, friends, and followers
    • ·         Designing the visuals and managing content flow

    November 12th @ 12 pm, Eastern time
    How to Create a Social Media Site for your Financial Aid Office

    FERPA: Interpreting the Intricacies

    Protecting student privacy is paramount. Understand what needs to be included in your school’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) policy and gain a working knowledge of how to ensure FERPA privacy requirements are met in real-world scenarios. Consider this course not just an introduction to the basics of FERPA, but also an in-depth guide to understanding the rights of students and their parents regarding student education records. The materials presented have been vetted by our privacy specialists to ensure that you get the most accurate and comprehensive assistance available.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • Review of final rules
    • Student and parent rights and FERPA
    • Right to access, review, and amend an education record
    • Compliance, complaints, and enforcement

    November 13th @ 12 pm, Eastern time
    FERPA: Interpreting the Intricacies

    Consumer Information Requirements

    Increased attention being paid to transparency in higher education has resulted in recent changes to consumer information regulations. This session will help you maintain compliance with a review of existing and new consumer information requirements.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Overview of basic consumer information requirements

              Loan counseling


              Campus security

    November 20th @ 12 pm, Eastern time
    Consumer Information Requirements

  • 27 Sep 2013 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations! The end of September is upon us and you have survived the completion of the fall recruitment and report season. Now is the time to consider investing in yourself with some valuable training. TASFAA will be partnering with TSAC for the Fall Training Series and it will be a well-rounded day providing sessions to develop your technical, technological, and transferrable skills.


    The day will include the following sessions:


    á         Two-Part Federal Update – presented by Michael Roberts, Title IV Training Officer

    á         150% Subsidized Loan Limit – presented by Michael Roberts, Title IV Training Officer

    á         Cloud Computing Within the Education Sector  - presented by either Bill Piper, Technology Consultant of Master-IT, or Dave Sagraves, Executive Vice President of Claris Networks, depending on the location

    á         State Grant Update – presented by TSAC’s Robert Biggers, Lottery Scholarship Program Director, and Naomi Derryberry, Director of Grant Programs

    á         Effective Communication Utilizing Rhetorical Techniques – presented by Larry Rector, Associate Dean of Enrollment Services of Johnson University


    Pick a location near you from the following:


    á         Union University in Jackson on 11/5

    á         Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville on 11/6

    á         Johnson University in Knoxville on 11/7


    COST: $65 for members and $100 for non-members (includes TASFAA membership for 2013-2014). Registration will be available on the TASFAA website.

    Parking information and directions will be provided to all registered participants according to the location that they've chosen to attend.

  • 25 Sep 2013 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    October 2013 SmartSessions

    Perfecting Your Policies and Procedures Manual

    Are you meeting administrative capability requirements? Are you ready for an audit or program review? Does your staff know the policies and procedures necessary to ensure proper compliance? Your Policies and Procedures Manual is the first thing ED will want to see. This session makes sure your office has well-defined policies and procedures are in place. A thorough manual can also serve as a step-by-step guide for staff members.

    Specific topics include:

    • Key components of a manual
    • Regulatory guidance
    • Tools for schools

    October 1 @ 3 PM, Eastern time
    Perfecting Your Policies and Procedures Manual

    New Professionals

    Loans I: Understanding the Basics

    Learn the basic details of the different federal loan programs so you can better understand, process, and encourage your students to make good borrowing decisions.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Guidelines for educating students on the impact of borrowing loans

              Types of federal loans and how they compare

              Using NSLDS

              The consequences of delinquency and default and what you can do to help borrowers avoid them

    October 23rd @ 12 PM, Eastern time

    Loans I: Understanding the Basics

    Loans II: Helping Students Succeed in Repayment

    Gain a deeper understanding of preparing students for repayment. This session will cover borrower options for repayment and the consequences of default. You’ll come away with a thorough knowledge of loan basics that will help you educate your students on the impact of borrowing student loans.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Repayment options available to students

              How to prepare your students for repayment

              The consequences of delinquency and default and what you can do to help borrowers avoid them

    October 29th @ 12 PM, Eastern time
    Loans II: Helping Students Succeed in Repayment

    Financial Aid for Beginners

    Learn the basics of financial aid and gain an understanding of how different programs work and how financial need is determined. This session will review how students apply for financial aid and how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) fits into the application process to help you better respond to the needs of your students and help them see that a college education is possible.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Deciphering the language of Financial Aid

              Student eligibility requirements

              Types of financial aid programs

              Importance of FERPA privacy provisions

    October 15 @ 12 PM, Eastern time
    Financial Aid for Beginners

    Understanding the Verification Process

    Baffled by the complexities of verification? This session will give you the information you need to simplify the verification process into three easy steps. We’ll also define some common issues found during the review process and how you can resolve them.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Understanding verification requirements

              Step-by-step instructions for reviewing documentation and completing the verification process

              How to resolve verification findings

    October 22nd @ 3 PM, Eastern time
    Understanding the Verification Process

    Applying Federal Methodology

    How is a student’s financial need determined? Learn how Federal Methodology is used to calculate a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC)undefinedand be able to calculate an EFC. You’ll be better prepared when making financial aid awards.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Purpose of Federal Methodology

              Guiding principles of Need Analysis


              Manual EFC calculations

              Special circumstances

    October 17th @ 12 PM, Eastern time
    Applying Federal Methodology

    Database Matches: Resolving Common Comment Codes

    This session reviews how the database matches following FAFSA completion impact student aid eligibility and what you can do to help resolve any issues that arise. Leave feeling confident about resolving C-codes and conflicting information.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Review of the Central Processing System database matches

              Guidance on resolving database mismatches

              Types of conflicting information and how to resolve them

    October 24th @ 3 PM, Eastern time
    Database Matches: Resolving Common Comment Codes

    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here

    Get a comprehensive overview of the FAFSA. This session steps you through the FAFSA line by line. We’ll help you feel comfortable assisting your students so they can correctly complete this crucial first step to receiving federal financial aid.

    Specific topics covered include:

              Applying for financial aid

              Answering dependency questions

              Processing the FAFSA

    October 16th @ 3 PM, Eastern time
    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here

  • 25 Sep 2013 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    Monitor Cohort Default Rates Year Round
    InceptiaFree Cohort Default Rate Reporting Tool Provides Real-Time Data
    Sue Downing, Public Relations

    As financial aid administrators process the impact of their newly released 2- and 3-year cohort default rates from the U.S. Department of Education, Inceptia is making its proprietary Cohort Activity Report freely available to any school that wants to monitor their default rate.

    Administrators can use this report to receive updated data on open cohort default years and monitor borrowers so that they can actively help student borrowers while lowering their default rate.

    "The Cohort Activity Report gives schools the power to see what’s happening right now with their borrowers," said Dave Macoubrie, Inceptia vice president of repayment solutions. "By proactively addressing the cohort of student defaulters, they can take steps to remove them from the list and make a positive impact on the trajectory of their school’s cohort default rate helping to save those student borrowers from default."

    Sign up for the Cohort Activity Report by visiting www.Inceptia.org/CDR-tracking.

    Once registered, upload your School Portfolio report to the Cohort Activity Report system. The data from the School Portfolio report will be analyzed and organized into a simplified report for you to gain updated insights in real time.

    This report can be used to monitor:

    • number of borrowers in repayment
    • number of borrowers in default
    • impact one default borrower has on their rate
    • number of rescued borrowers needed to reduce the rate by one percent
    • open and closed cohort year comparison data

    You may also download a list of loan details on each defaulted borrower.

    With cohort default rates on the rise, schools need to proactively monitor cohort default rates year round in order to gain the knowledge required to lower their rate and help student borrowers. The details in this report can help you closely monitor default borrowers so that you can proactively work to correct defaulted loans prior to closing years.

    ons, that may be as few as five borrowers. But lowering the rate over time can have a significant impact on a school and is good for student borrowers.

    "We want to show every school the impact they can have on their rate, simply by lowering it by even one percentage point," Macoubrie said. "For some institutions, that may be as few as five borrowers. But lowering the rate over time can have a significant impact on a school and is good for student borrowers."

    Inceptia’s goal is to help students borrow wisely, resolve their delinquency issues and guide them to successfully repay their student loan obligations; while also helping schools reduce their cohort default rates. Find out more about Inceptia’s default prevention services by contacting Inceptia at 888.529.2028.


    Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), is a non-profit organization providing premier expertise in default prevention and financial education. Since 1986, we have helped more than two million students achieve their higher education dreams at 5,500 schools nationwide. Annually, Inceptia assists more than 150,000 delinquent borrowers in repaying their student loans. By using practical tools of cohort analysis, financial education and repayment outreach, Inceptia educates students on responsible personal finances and loan repayment counseling and provides default prevention strategies and services to schools. More information at Inceptia.org.

  • 23 Sep 2013 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the loss of one of our colleagues.  Clyde Walker, a long time TAFSAA member and friend to many, passed away suddenly today, September 23, 2013.  Please keep his wife, Joanie, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.  We will provide details of the arrangements as soon as they are available. 

    A Memorial Service for Clyde Walker will be held at 5PM, Saturday, September 28th at Gateway Community Church, 584 Franklin Rd. Franklin, TN 37069.  A reception will follow at the church.

    Please continue to keep Joanie and the rest of the family in your thoughts and prayers.

    Jeff Gerkin

  • 17 Sep 2013 1:53 PM | Anonymous

    IRS Sending Penalty Notices for 1098-Ts Without Taxpayer Identification Numbers

    If they do not already have students' TINs, the regulations require institutions to annually solicit TINs from enrolled students for whom they need to generate Forms 1098-T. (Institutions do not need to report on continuing education students or nonresident aliens, unless specifically requested to do so.)


    á        Below is a very helpful update that NACUBO shared with its members via listserve following a conversation with the IRS.


    á        NAICU will work closely with NACUBO to explore other efforts to provide additional guidance to campuses on this matter. 



    For those of you who have received 972CG notices from the IRS about proposed penalties for missing or incorrect SSNs on 1098-Ts, I've reviewed publications and had an informative conversation with someone at the IRS about what they are looking for in responses in order to waive penalties. What they are looking for is that the failure was due to a "reasonable cause" and that the institution acted in a "responsible manner" (and will going forward).


    Here are some helpful hints:
 You must respond within 45 days of the date of the notice or ask for an extension.

    Think two-page letter describing your practices and procedures for collecting or correcting SSNs/TINs, not a spreadsheet providing information on each individual. It might be good to characterize it by how many fall into certain categories (x are nonresident aliens, y were inadvertent errors in transcribing numbers) if you can but I wouldn't spend an inordinate amount of time on this if you have lots of them.

    You do not need to go back and file corrected returns for mismatched names/TINs or incorrect numbers or provide this information to the IRS – just show that you have a process in place to solicit the correct information and update your records so that you won't have the same mismatch data next year. I'm not entirely clear on exactly how they are matching the names, one publication said just first four letters of the last name but the woman I spoke to said full legal name that is on file with social security. You need to ask for the information from the individual in the proper manner, warning that they are required to give it to you (using W9S meets the requirements), but I don't think that you need to coerce them to respond.

    Explain how you solicit SSNs/TINs from students at least annually (following the requirements that have been explained in previous posts). If you haven't done this correctly in the past, use the future tense and promise to do so in the future.

    I got the sense that they are trying to get people's attention as much as they are trying to collect fines. Proposed fine notices are going to a random sample of institutions, so not everyone will get one this year but it might be your turn next year.

    The most helpful publication is IRS Pub 1586.http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1586.pdf

  • 17 Sep 2013 1:51 PM | Anonymous

    Perfecting your Policies and Procedures Manual

    Your Policies and Procedures Manual is crucial to being in compliance with Title IV regulations. A well-crafted manual can ensure you are meeting administrative capability requirements, help you prepare for an audit, and assist in staff training. This session makes sure your office has well-defined policies and procedures in place.

    Register now for September 18 at 11 a.m. Central or October 1 at 2 p.m. Central.

    Student Loans and Credit Reports

    The choices borrowers make with their student loansundefinedboth positive and negativeundefinedare reflected on their credit reports. This session will help you counsel borrowers, whatever their statusundefinedin school, in repayment, or in default.

    Register now for October 3 at 11 a.m. Central.

    Trends in Student Aid and College Pricing 2013

    This webinar, presented by the College Board and their Trends research team, will help you understand the most recent data available on aid and college pricing by region and sector. Attend this webinar to learn critical updates to aid and pricing data during the past year and how your institutional aid and pricing policies compare to other schools.

    Register now for October 30 at 11 a.m. Central.

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