TASFAA Community Blog

  • 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 (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
  • 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 doug.savage@tgslc.org. Additional information about TG can be found online at www.TG.org.

  • 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 www.nasfaa.org/leadership/.

    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 -http://ifap.ed.gov/GainfulEmploymentInfo/ . 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 - http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/program12.html.
  • 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: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. 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: www.federalregister.gov. 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 https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=156736417&UID=1115743912&HMAC=b9fa1cbb9c75111a931d7a897295d839132deab0&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    December 12 @ 2 PM Central time https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=156736472&UID=1115744542&HMAC=6d49443e892e1a0b3cca59c174888968b2ea0c80&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    December 20 @ 11 AM Central time https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=158080427&UID=1119444837&HMAC=7d5fe825d07ad7b3402db58bac1770af4edadd3c&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    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 https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=156736612&UID=1115745182&HMAC=f6d98ea7460b7a26462f84c0494513b9b72b0750&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    December 11 @ 11 AM Central time https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=156736672&UID=1115745407&HMAC=65bf7d29e868b1532ade3e0f3caf8169d73d6e3b&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    December 19 @ 2 PM Central time https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=158080127&UID=1119443152&HMAC=442f853fa10263dd8ed3cae2f3c283b4e70f30a4&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    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 https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=158080852&UID=1119446077&HMAC=1d9a91608fe8d1eb243e528ddb1cb98d0e7d9171&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    December 18 @ 2 PM Central time https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=158080902&UID=1119446757&HMAC=d9e0eaa111b0788796dee3a485b501434ef2c13e&RT=MiM3&FM=1

    A Guide to Great Lakes Default Prevention Tools

    December 7 @ 2 PM Central time https://glhec.webex.com/glhec/k2/j.php?ED=156699522&UID=1115641302&HMAC=d1e206b14538a7f4679258cf1b5a4777fba9854b&RT=MiM3&FM=1

  • 06 Nov 2012 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    Planning for the Shopping Sheet -- Make a List and Check it Twice
    Linda Peckham
    Senior Training Strategist, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation

    The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, developed by the Department of Education in conjunction with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was designed to provide students with an improved comparison tool when making a college enrollment decision. The form is intended to help students better understand how much grant aid, versus loan and work aid, they are being offered. The form also provides information about the college, including graduation rates, default rates, and average student indebtedness, to help students make a more informed choice.

    Although not mandatory for the 2013-14 aid cycle (except for institutions that must comply under E.O. 13607), over 350 institutions will adopt the Shopping Sheet and are actively planning for implementation, most without the support of their enterprise software providers. The Great Lakes Training team spoke with several of these institutions to learn more about why they chose to participate in this first year and to ask what advice they would offer their peer institutions who will implement the template next year.

    Ryan C. Williams, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Syracuse University, says the university embraced the new Shopping Sheet because "it really supports our core mission to provide financial literacy for students throughout their lifecycle with us - from pre-enrollment to graduation." Reflecting on the usefulness of the Shopping Sheet for students, he noted, "The Sheet will really highlight those institutions that do not meet full need, and it will make it much more apparent to students what their future debt burden will be." Williams also feels that by providing the Shopping Sheet to returning students, the institution can help offer better information about increasing loan debt for students who take longer than four years to graduate. "They will be able to see the immediate impact of these decisions on their future loan debt."

    Gaining a full understanding of future debt burdens and understanding the risk-benefit analysis of the enrollment decision is very much the Department of Education's intended goal of the template. But as Tabatha Turner, Senior Associate Director of Scholarships and Student Aid at UNC-Chapel Hill, notes, "Students will still use 'emotional college when making a collecge choice even when the long-term costs are made clear, but at least the Sheet will provide a way for families to compare those choices consistently from college to college and in ways that differ from the traditional award letter."

    The Shopping Sheet, for example, will illustrate for a family that "Net Cost" is the difference between total cost and gift aid. Student loans, work-study, and Parent PLUS loans are listed as "options to pay net costs." In this way, the Shopping Sheet will clarify that loans, if needed, may in fact increase the long-term cost of the educational purchase decision.

    Rick Shipman, Director of Financial Aid at Michigan State University, agrees that the Shopping Sheet, with its increased clarity about loans, will
    help students understand the bottom line about their college purchase decision and highlight the long-term impact of their college choice on their financial lives." He cautions that for some students, the Shopping Sheet cannot replace the benefits of one-on-one counseling with financial aid staff about the award letter, and advises his staff to work closely with at-risk families before they make enrollment decisions.

    At the University of Notre Dame, Director of Financial Aid Mary Nucciarone and her team are strong supporters of the Shopping Sheet and are working to make it available to both entering and returning students by early March. She emphasizes that the Shopping Sheet, with its comprehensive data about average debt, default rates and graduation rates, is a great tool for schools to display "their good news to students."

    Nucciarone anticipates, however, that the Shopping Sheet will generate questions. For example for students who do not receive any loans as part of their award, Nucciarone notes, "The Shopping Sheet delineates loan information and students may wonder why their aid award letter does not include them or why the average loan debt is being reported on the Sheet." She is working with her counseling staff to find ways to help families understand the differences between the Shopping Sheet and the institutional award letter.

    The Department of Education is currently building partnerships with enterprise software providers so that they can support the use of the Shopping Sheet in future award cycles and make it easier for more schools to use the tool. In the meantime, most of the 350 early adopters are using institutional resources to make the template work in this first year. Tips for colleagues considering adopting the Shopping Sheet this year or next include:

    • Prepare your IT department. IT will need to be able to support the template by providing student-specific data on a timely basis. Most of the information required on the Shopping Sheet is housed in the campus system but may not be in the aid office.
    • Think about your campus-wide messages about net price and affordability. For some schools, this may mean re-framing the way student loans are described as part of the affordability conversation.
    • Strongly consider adopting the form for returning as well as entering students, as part of your financial literacy and counseling efforts.
    • Use the customized box on the Shopping Sheet to offer additional information to students.
    • Anticipate questions from students and parents. The Shopping Sheet information might appear to be different from the award letter notification in some cases. Ensure that both your financial aid and admissions staff can respond to these questions.

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