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TASFAA Community Blog

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

    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).


    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.

    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 -

    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 (

    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.


    ⇒ 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.

    TSAC Staff

    Comments may be shared with Bill Heath (
  • 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
  • 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 (

    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
  • 23 Jan 2013 10:33 AM | Anonymous

    Doug Savage, TG Senior Regional Account Executive

    In many organizations, when the topic of hiring an external service provider comes up, there are usually two schools of thought. From one perspective, getting help from the outside is perceived as less than ideal; decision makers may cite cost, expertise limitations, and a lack of understanding of organizational culture as factors that discourage outsourcing. On the other hand, outsourcing may provide many advantages, including relief for overtaxed staff, reduced training and maintenance needs, and a resource to augment internal expertise.

    The following steps help to determine where to head when making this decision.

    1.     Define the need

    The most important factor in making the decision to outsource is the business objective. What specific need is trying to be met? Surprisingly, many organizations make outsourcing decisions without clearly defining their objective. This results in frustration, as those in the office will have differing perspectives on the challenge that needs to be addressed leading to different solutions. Once the objective has been clearly defined, it becomes easier to address.

    2.     Quantify the risk

    Next, determine the risk that will be faced if the objective is not met. This is a consideration that is often disregarded.  Is the objective attempting to address an issue that is critical in nature? Will financial loss, revocation of licenses or privileges, or experience a loss of business opportunities be incurred if the business objective is not met? What is the impact? Determine this in advance; this will provide an understanding of the importance of an effective solution. It may open other opportunities that are less costly or labor-intensive options.

    3.     Identify needs versus wants

    After determining the business objective and identifying the risks involved in not meeting the objective, the next step is to outline all of the functions, features, and expectations for the solution. Once these have been identified, categorize them as “essential” versus “nice to have,” and rank them within these specific categories.  The completed list should prioritize all elements.

    4.     Evaluate existing capabilities

    Once the business need has been defined, the business risk evaluated, and the needs versus the wants identified, examine existing resources to determine feasibility in addressing the business challenge internally. Some issues to consider include:

    • Is support available from the highest levels of management to support addressing the business objective with existing resources?
    • Are existing staff able to address the objective and do they have the necessary expertise and time?
    • If not, is it possible to hire staff and provide a budget for them to address the need?
    • Will workflow need to be adjusted? Is there capability to adjust them with existing personnel?
    • If the function or activity has not been performed before, have best practices been outlined or can they be acquired?
    • Is the organization able to assume the risk associated with performing the function or activity, if there are errors or failures? This may include financial, market share, and reputation loss incurred due to errors or failures.
    • Has demand growth for this function, product, or service been projected?  Has preparation been made to address growth?
    5.     Determine the approach

    After taking each of the steps above, it should be asked whether enough information is available to make a decision. Determine what will be needed to address challenges using existing resources or when considering outsourcing. Even if the “wrong” decision is made, going through these steps will provide a way to identify where failures might have occurred. Ultimately, if the decision is made to hire a service provider, the answers to many of the above questions can help evaluate options in the marketplace helping to meet business objectives.

    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 Additional information about TG can be found online at

  • 17 Jan 2013 9:43 AM | Anonymous

    There are two upcoming leadership events sponsored by the NASFAA Leadership Development and Professional Advancement Committee. Mark your calendars now or visit the NASFAA website for additional details as they become available.

    NASFAA Leadership Conference

    The Leadership & Legislative Conference is an annual three-day event, held in the Washington, D.C. area, providing intensive preparation for NASFAA members in association leadership positions, about to assume such positions, or who aspire to association leadership roles. This year, the event will be held March 10-12, 2013 at the LEnfant Plaza Hotel, Washington, DC. Learn more about this unique event online now at

    NASFAA Pre-Conference Leadership Seminar

    A full day event entitled A Seminar in Successful Financial Aid Leadership will be held on Saturday, July 13th, prior to the NASFAA Conference in Las Vegas NV. This seminar is intended for directors or those who aspire to director roles to provide skills, knowledge and a resource base to enable you to be better in your roles as leaders on your campus as well as managers and administrators in your offices. The cost of the seminar is $115 and registration will be available on the NASFAA Conference website.

  • 15 Jan 2013 9:10 AM | Anonymous
    Department of Education Update
    David Bartnicki
    Federal Training Officer


    As mentioned in the November 1, 2012 electronic announcement ED will be providing you with text information for every verification item required by ED. Instead of receiving a more formalized worksheet, we will provide text blocks/segments that will contain sample language you can use for each and every verification item. The electronic announcement containing the suggested text blocks should be posted to IFAP this month. Stay tuned.

    One thing I do want to point out is that though the verification text blocks we will provide is suggested text and you will have the flexibility to change items, please note that for the Statement of Educational Purpose you will not be able to adjust the language. We specifically want you to use the Statement of Educational Purpose we will provide.

    In addition I have been asked by a few schools if a student provides a high school transcript to validate their high school completion can it be an official or unofficial transcript. Policy has indicated that in this instance we are looking for a final official high school transcript.

    PLUS Loans

    Some of you may have noticed that we recently extended the time frame that a PLUS credit check will be accepted from 90 days to 180 days. This change was implemented to assist PLUS applicants who were impacted by changes to the PLUS approval process implemented in the fall of 2011. Any applicant who has a credit report that is less than 180 days old will not need to have another credit check run prior to the loan origination. If an applicant has had two credit checks run within the last 180 day period the most recent credit decision will be analyzed. This change will apply to anyone applying for a PLUS Loan before February 1, 2013. On or after February 1, 2013 PLUS credit checks will revert back to the normal 90 day timeframe.

    Pell LEU

    FOR STUDENTS RECEIVING PELL in the 2012-2013 award year and beyond, they cannot have a Pell LEU over 600%. If their records indicate that they received Pell in 12/13 or later that pushed them over the 600% limit then they would be in a Pell overpayment situation.

    Students who prior to 2012-2013 were already over the Pell 600% limit have no Pell eligibility for 12/13 or beyond but remain eligible for other Title IV aid (assuming they meet any specific TIV program requirements).
    I have also gotten several questions from schools around students whose records indicate they are over the 600% Pell limit and Title IV eligibility. Just a reminder that if you have a student whose ISIR record or COD Pell data shows that they are over the 600% Pell limit, they are in a Pell overpayment situation and ineligible for any TIV aid until the overpayment is resolved (either paid in full or satisfactory payment arrangements made). There are no allowable exceptions for a student to exceed the 600% Pell LEU. If the school is responsible, the overpayment is resolved when the school returns the funds and properly updates COD.

    If a student is at the 600% Pell limit but not over it, then he is not eligible for Pell, but may be eligible for other forms of Title IV aid.

    GE Disclosures

    ED posted an electronic announcement 11/23/12 (GE EA #42) informing schools that by January 31, 2013 all schools must update their disclosures for each of their GE Programs for the 2011-2012 award year. We also indicated that until the ED template is available, institutions must make their GE Program disclosures using an institutionally-determined format. For additional information please see the above mentioned electronic announcement or go to the GE webpage on IFAP - . Please make sure you properly update your program disclosures as this is an area being reviewed by program reviewers and auditors.

    Subsidized Loan Limitations

    I continue to get numerous calls and emails around the upcoming limits on subsidized loans for undergraduate students. In an electronic announcement dated 7/10/12 and during the FSA Conference, ED officials provided some basic information about the new subsidized loan limitation as required under Public Law 112-141. The new law will limit eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans for new borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. A new borrower on or after July 1, 2013 will not be eligible for new Direct Subsidized Loans if the period during which the borrower has received such loans exceeds 150 percent of the published length of the borrower’s educational program. The law also provides that a borrower reaching the 150 percent limit becomes ineligible for interest subsidy benefits on all Direct Subsidized loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013.

    ED is currently developing regulations and operational procedures to implement the new law as of July 1, 2013. FSA is going to have to track, calculate and inform schools of subsidized loan limits and schools will have to provide certain program information to FSA for proper monitoring. I have been getting a lot of questions that we just don’t have answers for yet. Please be patient. I promise that as soon as we can ED will post additional guidance on IFAP regarding requirements, tracking mechanisms, student eligibility, etc. Stay tuned.


    For those that were unable to attend the FSA Conference in November don’t forget that you can review the presentations and video recordings on our conference website -
  • 10 Dec 2012 12:10 PM | Anonymous


    34 CFR Part 685

    RIN 1840-AD05

    [Docket ID ED-2012-OPE-0010]

    William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

    AGENCY: Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION: Announcement of early implementation date.




    SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) issues this document to establish the date for the early implementation of William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) program regulations that establish a new income-contingent repayment plan based on the President's "Pay As You Earn" repayment initiative (the Pay As You Earn repayment plan).


    DATES: The early implementation date for Sec. Sec.  685.208(k)(1) and 685.209(a), published November 1, 2012 (77 FR 66087), is December 21, 2012.


    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the Pay As You Earn repayment plan or how to apply for Pay As You Earn repayment, the

    Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4FEDAID (1-800- 433-3243). For information on the establishment of the early implementation date, Jeff Baker at 1-202-377-3000.


    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.





    Section 482(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), requires that regulations affecting programs under title IV of the HEA be published in final form by November 1 prior to the start of the award year (July 1) to which they apply. However, that section also permits the Secretary to designate any regulation as one that an entity subject to the regulations may choose to implement earlier and the conditions for early implementation.


    On November 1, 2012, the Department issued final regulations in 34 CFR part 685 for the Pay As You Earn repayment plan (77 FR 66087). In the preamble to the final regulations, the Secretary announced the Department's intent to implement the new Direct Loan program regulations establishing the Pay As You Earn repayment plan as soon as possible.


    Implementation Date of These Regulations


    The Secretary is exercising the authority under section 482(c) of the HEA to designate the following amended regulations in 34 CFR part 685 for early implementation beginning on December 21, 2012, at the discretion of individual borrowers:

        (1) Sec.  685.208(k)(1).

        (2) Sec.  685.209(a).


    If a borrower elects to implement the Pay As You Earn repayment plan early in accordance with this notice, the borrower will have the rights and be subject to the obligations under both Sec. Sec. 685.208(k)(1) and 685.209(a). To implement the Pay As You Earn Plan early, a Direct Loan borrower must request to repay his or her eligible loans under that plan.


    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to one of the contact persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.


    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF

    you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.


    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.


    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 84.268.)

    Dated: December 3, 2012.

    Arne Duncan,

    Secretary of Education.

    [FR Doc. 2012-29525 Filed 12-6-12; 8:45 am]

    BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
  • 06 Dec 2012 10:01 AM | Anonymous

    Great Lakes December 2012 SmartSessions

    Credit-based Programs and R2T4

    Return of Title IV (R2T4) doesn't have to be daunting. This session walks through a credit-based example to help you understand what it is and when it applies so you can effectively counsel students and help them make informed decisions about withdrawing from school.

    Specific topics include:

    • ·       R2T4 basics: what it is, when it applies, the formula components for credit-based programs
    • ·       Reviewing a hand calculation
    • ·       Post-withdrawal disbursements

    December 6 @ 11 AM Central time

    December 12 @ 2 PM Central time

    December 20 @ 11 AM Central time

    Clock-hour Programs and R2T4

    Return of Title IV (R2T4) doesn't have to be daunting. This session walks through a clock-hour example to help you understand what it is and when it applies so you can effectively counsel students and help them make informed decisions about withdrawing from school.

    Specific topics covered include:

    • ·       R2T4 basics: what it is, when it applies, the formula components for clock-hour programs
    • ·       Reviewing a hand calculation
    • ·       Post-withdrawal disbursements

    December 5 @ 2 PM Central time

    December 11 @ 11 AM Central time

    December 19 @ 2 PM Central time

    Satisfactory Academic Progress: Moving Students in the Right Direction

    To be eligible for FSA funds, a student must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and schools must have a reasonable policy for monitoring that progress. Learn the basics of the SAP policy and how it affects you. This session will review the requirements so you can respond to your students’ needs and move them toward successfully completing the program for which they are receiving aid.

    Specific topics covered include:

            Understanding institutional requirements

            Identifying student eligibility requirements

            Appreciating the differences between qualitative and quantitative components

            Exploring consumer information requirements

    December 4 @ 11 AM Central time

    December 18 @ 2 PM Central time

    A Guide to Great Lakes Default Prevention Tools

    December 7 @ 2 PM Central time

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