TASFAA Community Blog!

  • 04 Mar 2013 10:42 AM | Anonymous
    Posted Date: February 21, 2013
    Author:    William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid
    Subject: 2013-2014 ISIR Guide (February 2013 Update)
     
    We are pleased to announce the posting of an update to the 2013-2014 ISIR Guide. The ISIR Guide assists financial aid administrators (FAAs) in interpreting student information on the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). ISIRs contain processed student information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as key processing results and National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) financial aid history information. ISIRs are sent electronically to institutions by the Central Processing System (CPS).
     
    The February 2013 update contains the following revisions:
     
    •    Minor revisions to the main section of the guide to correct the SSN Match Flag value of 'Blank' to '8' and update the SSA Citizenship       Code description.
    •    Revision of Appendix C to update several Federal Loan Servicers, ED Servicers, Selected Servicers, and Guaranty Agency values.
     
    For more information on the revisions, consult the tracking log of changes posted with the guide or in the Appendix.
     
    In addition to its current availability on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site, the guide will also be available in the next several days from the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site, located at https://www.fsadownload.ed.gov.
     
    If you have questions, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at CPSSAIG@ed.gov.
  • 04 Mar 2013 10:32 AM | Anonymous
    Great Lakes Free April Trainings for TASFAA Members
    Susie McCormick
    SMcCormick@glhec.org

    April 2013 SmartSessions

    Counseling Borrowers on Pay as You Earn and Income-Driven Plans
    Pay as You Earn and changes to IBR and ICR can help borrowers successfully manage repayment. Learn more about these plans so you can better counsel students. This session will help you understand how students qualify for the various income-driven plans as you prepare for upcoming exit counseling sessions.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • Borrower eligibility criteria
    • Plan comparisons and loan terms
    • Forgiveness provisions

    April 10th @ 11 AM, Central time
    Counseling Borrowers on Pay as You Earn and Income-Driven Plans


    Tax Filing Rules: What Financial Aid Administrators Need to Know
    Get a refresher on tax filing rules in advance of the 2013-14 verification cycle to better identify and resolve issues during the file review process. This webinar will take you through tax rules to ensure the data elements used to calculate the expected family contribution are correct.

    Specific topics covered include:
    • IRS filing guidelines and thresholds
    • Comparing filing status to FAFSA results
    • Tax filing status and verification processes
    April 22nd @ 11 AM, Central time
    Tax Filing Rules: What Financial Aid Administrators Need to Know


    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

    April 11th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Loans I: Understanding the Basics

    April 25th @ 2:00 PM, Central 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

    April 16th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Loans II: Helping Students Succeed in Repayment

    April 30th @ 11:00 PM, Central 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

    April 2nd   @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Financial Aid for Beginners

    April 17th @ 2:00 PM, Central 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

    April 10th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Understanding the Verification Process

    April 16th @ 11:00 AM, Central 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
    • Components
    • Manual EFC calculations
    • Special circumstances

    April 9th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Applying Federal Methodology

    April 23rd @ 2:00 PM, Central 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

    April 11th @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Database Matches: Resolving Common Comment Codes

    April 24th @ 11:00 AM, Central 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

    April 4th   @ 2:00 PM, Central time
    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here

    April 18th @ 11:00 AM, Central time
    Understanding the FAFSA: It All Starts Here

  • 25 Feb 2013 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    Brick and click: The promise of blended learning
    Doug Savage
    TG Senior Regional Account Executive

    Blended learning, sometimes called “brick and click,” is the practice of combining in-person and online educational approaches. Its popularity has risen, and its research results are promising. Still, attempts to combine approaches can bring risk as well as excitement. Is the combination going to be like a new recipe that brings together complementary flavors to create something delicious? Or will it include the worst of both elements? What one doesn’t want is something like John F. Kennedy’s famous characterization of Washington, D.C. undefined that it combines Northern charm and Southern efficiency.

    Respective strengths

    A list of the respective strengths of in-person and online learning might include the following:

    In-person

             In-person education offers the possibility of specific engagement in a way that online education does not. For example, reading an FAQ online is not the same as having a teacher answer your specific question in real time during a teachable moment when the question occurred to you, using examples that come from the class’s shared frame of reference.

             In-person education offers the possibility not only of spontaneous and specific teacher-student interaction, but also the possibility of generative student-student interaction. For example, hearing a student who “gets it” make a point in a class discussion may help a struggling student grasp a concept more securely. Similarly, a question asked by a student who fails to understand some part of a concept may trigger an explanation that helps the whole class better understand the material.

    Online

             Online education works well for teaching students at different levels. Most students have, at one time or another, been in a classroom where some students felt bored while others felt lost or left behind. There is something very attractive about being in control of the flow of information, and this may be one of online education’s biggest strengths. Teachers have long sought creative solutions to the problem of students in the same class whose different levels of understanding call for different paces. With online education, no solution is required (because the problem doesn’t arise).

             Online education scales easily. Problems of personnel, available space, and calendar constraints (which are all problems of budget, to some extent) can be solved easily when one high-quality course is available online for many students to log in and complete at a time and place of their own choosing.

     More respective strengths could be listed, but the idea should be clear: each approach has its own merits, while the challenge of blended learning is to create an educational experience that draws on these respective strengths. Given that goal, is blended learning getting good results?

    Overview of research

    Research suggests that the news is good. In 2009, the Department of Education released an Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. The analysis found that online education generated slightly better results than in-person education alone, but that the best student outcomes resulted from blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction. The analysis noted some complications with the results, two of which bear repeating: (1) the analysis resists generalizing to K–12 education because much of the data was drawn from adult learners, and (2) the online settings tended to have increased learning time.

    In a college context, the first “complication” undefined that these positive results occurred with adult learners undefined is obviously promising. The second complication raises the question of causation in an interesting way. If it’s true that online settings only got better results because of increased learning time, might there be something about online settings which facilitates increased learning times? We don’t need to know the answers to those questions to see the Department’s analysis as encouraging.

    Further, while academics have increasingly used online models for instruction, it is widely understood that some kinds of learning are better experienced in person. To elaborate, in Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States 2011, the Babson Survey Research Group noted that from 2003 to 2010, the percentage of college students taking at least one online course grew from around ten percent to 31 percent. That same report noted that in blended learning situations, the proportion of content that was delivered online can range from less than a third to more than three-fourths. A majority of academics surveyed felt that, while online chat and other features can offset the lack of direct student-student interaction in online education, student-student interactions were superior or somewhat superior in in-person settings.

    Flexibility

    These results suggest that part of the appeal of digital media and online education is the flexibility it allows an instructor. For example, Teresa Bobadilla, the product manager of the TG Learning Center, an online training resource (www.TG.org/TGLC), envisions how the resource could lend itself to a blended approach. She notes that, “In freshman orientation, or in a mandatory training class for students struggling with Satisfactory Academic Progress, our financial literacy content could work very well with a blended approach. For example, the student may be encountering a lot of material at once, and the online content could reinforce what they’ve learned. There’s also an assessment component, so they could attend an in-person session, then later go online to see what they’ve retained. The material could be used individually, or with a whole class at the same time, where you go through it together. There are a lot of ways an instructor could use the online resource along with in-person class time.”

    One key to successfully blending the two, according to a 2011 National Education Association (NEA) Policy Brief, is that classroom time should be used primarily for experiential learning (rather than, say, lecture), and that the online portion of the course should provide multimedia-rich content. This approach is sometimes referred to as “the flipped classroom.” In this model, students experience direct instruction through an online channel such as a video lecture (perhaps posted on YouTube or on a class website), and then use class time for deeper discussions and/or experiential group exercises. This effectively prioritizes the human element for in-person instruction, “flipping” the standard idea that “instruction” is what happens in class. Instead, class time becomes a more engaging experience that complements, enriches, applies, or even challenges the concepts the student has encountered.

    New roads and new destinations

    Many educators have encountered a long list of pedagogical developments that have lost their shine. Whether we’re talking about multiple learning styles, decentralization, or an integrated curriculum, some formerly trendy ideas have proven to be less world changing than proponents had first promised. Education reporter John Merrow was recently quoted in The Washington Post expressing his view that the “potential of blended learning is vast, perhaps unlimited,” but he worried that blended learning’s current buzz would ultimately have a negative effect. There are a lot of ways good ideas can be badly implemented. For example, if online materials aren’t challenging or relevant, or if the in-person instruction doesn’t enrich what students have learned online , then real learning is unlikely to take place. In that scenario, this exciting development will devolve into a tired catch phrase rather than a positive change.

    With the right approach, however, blending the strengths of two different educational approaches can create new and better educational experiences.

    Doug Savage is a senior regional account executive with TG serving schools in TASFAA. You can reach Doug at (800) 252-9743, ext. 6711, or by email at doug.savage@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.

     

  • 18 Feb 2013 10:47 AM | Anonymous
    Jeff Gerkin
    TASFAA President

    I am pleased to announce that Governor Bill Haslam has signed a proclamation to designate February 2013 as “Financial Aid Awareness Month” in the State of Tennessee. A special thanks goes to Dick Smelser, Chair of the Financial Aid Awareness Committee, for his efforts to secure this proclamation on behalf of TASFAA earlier this month. View a copy of the proclamation by clicking the following link : 2013 Financial Aid Awareness Month Proclamation.pdf

  • 13 Feb 2013 10:24 AM | Anonymous

    Jeff Gerkin
    TASFAA President

    I am pleased to announce the results of the 2013-14 TASFAA Election.  On behalf of the Association membership, I would like to express my appreciation to all of the candidates who were willing to run for elected office this year.  

    The elected officers and sector representatives of the 2013-14 TASFAA Executive Board are:

    President - Ashley Bianchi, Rhodes College 

    President-Elect - Celena Tulloss, University of Tennessee Knoxville

    Secretary - Gwendolyn Fleming, Tennessee Technology Center Memphis

    Treasurer - Leah Louallen, Nashville State Community College

    Member at Large - Melissa Smith, Vanderbilt University

    Private 4 Year Sector Representative -Janie Burns, Bethel University

    Proprietary Sector Representative - Debra Stratman, Miller-Motte Technical College

    Public 2 Year Sector Representative - Dick Smelser, Pellissippi State Community College

    Public 4 Year Sector Representative - Robbie Snapp, Middle Tennessee State University

    Tennessee Technology Center Representative - Joe Paul Bryant, Tennessee Technology Center Crump

  • 13 Feb 2013 10:17 AM | Anonymous
    IFAP Updates
    David Bartnicki
    Federal Training Officer
    ED/FSA/Atlanta

    2013-2014 FSA Handbook

    The new AVG section was posted at the end of January. This is a great resource for verification, EFC calculations and assistance with FAFSA completion. Chapter 4 (Verification) specifically contains information discussing the new verification items and documentation for 2013-2014. For highlights of changes and updates to the AVG section, please review the Introduction section (2 pages).


    Verification

    On January 18, 2013 the Department of Education posted the long awaited electronic announcement that provides suggested text that schools may use when requesting verification information. It contains 4 appendices – Appendix A (suggested text), Appendix B (informational chart highlighting key verification items associated with specific verification tracking groups), Appendix C (list of verification items by verification tracking group) and Appendix D (example of a possible school verification document).

    Please note:

    •- The Statement of Educational Purpose is the one item that a school cannot change or modify (this applies to the one sentence Statement and signature block). Your school may insert your school name in the Statement where indicated.

    •- The example document (Appendix D) is for a dependent student selected in group V4 and provides a sample introductory paragraph, possible headers and only includes a request for those items needed to complete verification (requests child support paid data but no SNAP benefits data).

    •- As the announcement stresses, we strongly encourage schools to only request the required information needed for each student to complete verification in an attempt to reduce any unnecessary burden on families and schools.

    http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/011813VerificationSuggestedText1314.html

    2013 Blue Book

    Raise your voices and let your business officers, bursars and CFOs know that the newest Blue Book is available on IFAP (under Publications). It has been many years since the Blue Book has been updated. The Blue Book provides guidance on accounting, recordkeeping, managing, and reporting by postsecondary educational institutions that participate in federal student aid programs. For more information please see IFAP -

    http://ifap.ed.gov/ifap/BlueBook.jsp?year=2013.

    2013-2014 Pell Payment and Disbursement Schedule

    Gen-13-06 provides the Pell payment and disbursement charts for 2013-2014 for full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, and less-than-half-time students. The maximum Pell for 2013-2014 is $5,645, while the maximum Pell eligible EFC for 13/14 is 5081. For more information and to review the specific Pell payment and disbursement schedules please see GEN-13-06 (http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1306.html).

    Shopping Sheet

    Two recent documents were posted to IFAP to assist schools using the Shopping Sheet.

    An electronic announcement was posted on January 18, 2013 which contains the data and information necessary to populate the institutional metrics section of the Shopping Sheet - the graduation rate, the loan default rate, and the median borrowing figures. In addition, this announcement includes the image files necessary for when there is no graduation rate data or cohort default rate data available for a particular institution.


    On January 30, 2013, the Department posted GEN-13-05 which contains a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the implementation of the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet for the 2013-2014 school year. The FAQs clarify the intent of the Shopping Sheet and how it can be used in an institution’s financial aid award process, identifies additional tools the Department will supply to aid implementation efforts, and explains the information available to the general public on the Department’s Web site.

  • 13 Feb 2013 10:14 AM | Anonymous
    Please visit our website with the following link to see the latest edition of the TSAC Update.

    http://www.tn.gov/tsac/About_Us/newsletter/February%202013%20TSAC%20Update.pdf

    IN THIS ISSUE

    ⇒ Update on TSAA Notices and Increased Funding Proposal
    ⇒ New Aid Officers Training Workshop
    ⇒ TSAC Continues to Support Borrowers
    ⇒ TSAC Expands Program to Assist Defaulted Borrowers

    You can view current and previous issues in the “Newsroom” section of our website.

    Thanks,
    TSAC Staff

    Comments may be shared with Bill Heath (Bill.Heath@tn.gov).
  • 13 Feb 2013 10:13 AM | Anonymous
    Tim Phelps
    State Programs Chair

    The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) has suspended awarding for the Tennessee Student Assistance Award (TSAA) program for the 2013-14 academic year. Funds will be awarded to students who have a completion date no later than February 3, 2013.

    The Governor presented his budget to the legislature on January 28th which included an additional $5 million in funding for the TSAA program. If the funding request is approved, we will make additional awards to students. TASFAA members will be notified through the listserv if this occurs.

    If you have questions about the awarding process or the TSAA program, please contact Naomi Derryberry at (615) 253-7478 or Naomi.derryberry@tn.gov.
  • 31 Jan 2013 1:00 PM | Anonymous
    Subject: 2013-2014 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules

    Summary: The attachments to this letter contain the 2013-2014 Award Year Federal Pell Grant Program Payment and Disbursement Schedules.

    Jeff Baker, Director
    Policy Liaison and Implementation
    Federal Student Aid
    U.S. Department of Education

    The Payment and Disbursement Schedules for determining Federal Pell Grant awards for the 2013-14 Award Year (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014) for full-time, three-quarter time, half-time and less-than-half time students are now available for download at the bottom of this message and from the Department of Education (http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1306.html).

    Section 401(b)(7)(B) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), provides for an automatic increase to the appropriated Federal Pell Grant maximum award, resulting in a 2013-2014 maximum award of $5,645. This maximum Pell Grant award for the 2013-2014 Award Year is an increase of $95 from the $5,550 maximum Pell Grant award for the 2012-2013 Award Year. The corresponding maximum Pell Grant eligible expected family contribution (EFC) for 2013-2014 is 5081 as compared to 4995 for the 2012-2013 Award Year.

    The HEA establishes the minimum Pell Grant award for a student to be at least ten percent of the maximum award amount for the award year. Thus, for the 2013-2014 Award Year the statutory minimum Pell Grant Scheduled Award amount is $564. However, while the statutory minimum award is $564, because mid-points are used for both the EFC columns and the cost of attendance (COA) rows in constructing the schedules, the actual 2013-2014 Award Year minimum award amount for a full-time student is $582.

    When using the attached schedules for awarding a Federal Pell Grant to a student, the full nine-month EFC must always be used regardless of the actual enrollment status or actual period of attendance of the student. Also, the COA to be used is always based on the costs for a full-time student for a full academic year, regardless of the actual enrollment status or actual time the student will be enrolled during the award year. It is important to note, however, that the statutory restrictions of using only certain cost components in constructing a COA in some circumstances still apply.
    For example, for a less-than-half-time student, the COA includes only cost components for tuition and fees, books, supplies, transportation, room and board for a limited time period, and dependent care expenses.

    As a reminder, a student's eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant award may be limited by the recent statutory change that sets a lifetime eligibility limit of 12 semesters or the equivalent – operationalized by the use of Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentages. Institutions should review previously posted information regarding the LEU limit including Dear Colleague Letter GEN-12-01 and Electronic Announcements posted to IFAP on February 17, 2012, March 2, 2012, April 6, 2012, May 10, 2012, June 14, 2012, and June 29, 2012.



  • 23 Jan 2013 10:59 AM | Anonymous
    2013 SASFAA Conference Registration Atlanta, Georgia
    Date: February 10 - 13, 2013

    Happy New Year! Kick of 2013 by attending the SASFAA Conference! Here is the link for registration. See you in Atlanta!




    Join us at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia in Atlanta, GA for SASFAA's Annual Conference.

    February 10-13, 2013

    More information and online registration: 2013 SASFAA Conference Registration
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