TASFAA Community Blog!

  • 26 Sep 2011 2:57 PM | Deleted user

    We have been asked by the Department of Education to share this letter recently sent to College Presidents with our members.

     

    Click the link to view the attachment

    Attachment 1:  Gainful Employment Letter http://www.sasfaa.org/ListLock/fDhc6faES3SRZrs9.pdf

  • 21 Sep 2011 10:47 AM | Deleted user

    Clock Hour Definition 

    Under 34 CFR 668.8(k)(2) the Department formally defines what a clock hour program is for undergraduate programs.  If your program meets the definition, then, for Title IV purposes, it is considered a clock hour program and all clock hour requirements apply.  HOWEVER, policy recently clarified that 668.8(k)(2) does NOT apply to non-GE programs.  So it would apply to nondegree programs at all school types and, at for-profit institutions, it would also apply to their degree programs.   

    I am stressing this since I know within my region there are some public schools that have been converting degree programs to clock hour programs for Title IV purposes since it met the new clock hour definition.  Based on policy’s new guidance those degree programs at our public institutions would not have to administer Title IV aid in clock hours since they are not considered GE programs. 

    Gainful Employment 

    This is a reminder that ED will be hosting an upcoming Webinar on adding new GE programs.  This training will take place on September 26, 2011.  Please see the Dear Colleague Letter ANN-11-19 for more information. 

    Also, don’t forget that schools will be able to start reporting GE data through NSLDS as of September 26, 2011.  Please make sure your school will be able to gather and report to ED all the required GE data by October 1 (2006/2007-2009/2010 data) and November 15 (2010/2011 data), respectively.  For more information about reporting processes and timeframes please see the GE webpage at http://www.ifap.ed.gov/GainfulEmploymentInfo/index.html

    Net Price Calculator 

    Please don’t forget that all required schools must have a net price calculator up and running on their website by October 29, 2011.  Please see the Department’s NPC webpage for further assistance - http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/net_price_calculator.asp 

    FSA Handbook Changes 

    Based on some recent questions I have been receiving, this is just a reminder that our publication group often moves items around or removes information within the FSA HDBK to clarify data or enhance existing sections.  Please remember that just because a line item has been removed does not necessarily mean that the rule no longer applies.  It may have been redundant, or moved to a section better suited to describe the topic.  Any true changes in guidance will usually be accompanied by a CHANGE sign or a NEW sign designation.  And as always, staying up-to-date with the entire FSA HDBK is a must to properly administer aid. 

  • 19 Sep 2011 4:01 AM | Anonymous
    For quite some time I have been running around my office yelling the FISAP is due, the FISAP is due - in your mind's eye see chicken little yelling this if it helps! Well now my fined feathered friends and coworkers, the FISAP is due! We just got our SIS system upgrade that included the FISAP tables yesterday evening at 5 pm and so I am up at this bright hour of 4 AM working on it. I know a lot of you have this and many other things on your plate right now so let me leave you with a few words I find particularly helpful...

    "Enjoy the little things in life, for you just may realize too late that they were the big things!"

    Enjoy today!

    Lester
  • 16 Sep 2011 2:04 PM | Deleted user

    Hope everyone's September is going well.  I am in the middle of renovating a kitchen and all of a sudden financial aid does not seem as difficult as picking out colors, tile, paint, appliances, etc.  And somehow our final decisions all seem to be what my wife wanted in the first place.  Of course that might be my subconscious kicking into survival mode and leading me down the path of least destruction. 

    Anyway, I have a few topics I wanted to share.  For those schools with undergraduate programs subject to the new clock hour definition please pay careful attention to some updated guidance provided below.

    Clock Hour Definition

    Under 34 CFR 668.8(k)(2) the Department formally defines what a clock hour program is for undergraduate programs.  If your program meets the definition, then, for Title IV purposes, it is considered a clock hour program and all clock hour requirements apply.  HOWEVER, policy recently clarified that 668.8(k)(2) does NOT apply to non-GE programs.  So it would apply to nondegree programs at all school types and, at for-profit institutions, it would also apply to their degree programs.  

    I am stressing this since I know within my region there are some public schools that have been converting degree programs to clock hour programs for Title IV purposes since it met the new clock hour definition.  Based on policy's new guidance those degree programs at our public institutions would not have to administer Title IV aid in clock hours since they are not considered GE programs.

    Gainful Employment

    This is a reminder that ED will be hosting an upcoming Webinar on adding new GE programs.  This training will take place on September 26, 2011.  Please see the Dear Colleague Letter ANN-11-19 for more information.

    Also, don't forget that schools will be able to start reporting GE data through NSLDS as of September 26, 2011.  Please make sure your school will be able to gather and report to ED all the required GE data by October 1 (2006/2007-2009/2010 data) and November 15 (2010/2011 data), respectively.  For more information about reporting processes and timeframes please see the GE webpage at http://www.ifap.ed.gov/GainfulEmploymentInfo/index.html.

    Net Price Calculator

    Please don't forget that all required schools must have a net price calculator up and running on their website by October 29, 2011.  Please see the Department's NPC webpage for further assistance - http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/net_price_calculator.asp

    FSA Handbook Changes

    Based on some recent questions I have been receiving, this is just a reminder that our publication group often moves items around or removes information within the FSA HDBK to clarify data or enhance existing sections.  Please remember that just because a line item has been removed does not necessarily mean that the rule no longer applies.  It may have been redundant, or moved to a section better suited to describe the topic.  Any true changes in guidance will usually be accompanied by a CHANGE sign or a NEW sign designation.  And as always, staying up-to-date with the entire FSA HDBK is a must to properly administer aid.

    I hope you have a great weekend.

    DAVE

    David Bartnicki

    Federal Training Officer

    ED/FSA/Atlanta

     

  • 31 Aug 2011 11:19 AM | Deleted user

    FERPA and Your Students--A Beginner’s Guide

    By Dave Bowman, Regional Marketing Director

    Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc

    For schools, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) details the transfer of rights to access educational recordsundefinedfrom the parents of your students to the students themselves. Under FERPA, all education records (except directory information, in most cases) are confidential, and cannot be disclosed unless the student consents or the request fits an exception outlined by FERPA.

    While FERPA is a complex issue that requires research, here are a few things schools must know:

    Know the Student’s Rights

    The FERPA provides several rights to students with regard to their education records, including the right to access, review, and request amendment of their education records, and demand records be disclosed only with student consent. FERPA also gives students the right to file complaints against the school for disclosing education records in violation of FERPA.

    Know the Parents’ Rights

    Unlike students, parents do not have automatic access to their child’s education records even if their students are dependent students.

    There are a few instances that do allow access to parents, including if the student has provided written consent. Under certain circumstances, as outlined in the FERPA, full rights may be given to the parent at the school’s discretion.

    Know Your School’s Responsibilities

    There are steps that schools must take to ensure that they are complying with FERPA:

    • School faculty and staff must have a legitimate educational interest to see a student’s education record, or meet an exception outlined by FERPA.
    • Know your definitions. FERPA defines: school, eligible student, attendance, dates of attendance, disclosure, and the different types of records and student information.
    • The school must respond to a student request to view education records by:

    •o    Providing copies (or other arrangements) of applicable education records (exceptions outlined in FERPA) within 45 days of the receipt of the request.

    •o    Not charging a fee for the record search (but may charge a copying fee).

    •·         Know what to do when a student asks to amend a record. The school must:

    •o    Decide within a reasonable timeframe.

    •o    If approved, amend the record as requested.

    •o    If denied, inform the student or parent of their right to a hearing, and

    •o    Allow the student or parent to insert a statement in the record, if denied after the hearing.

    • Notify students in attendance of their FERPA rights annually.
    • Review campus policy annually.

    Know Where to Learn More

    FERPA compliance help is available. You can email your compliance questions to the U.S. Department of Education at ferpa@ed.gov.

    FERPA information is available from several sources:

    You may also wish to consult your campus legal counsel, as this article is intended to provide general FERPA information only.

    By following these guidelines, and becoming familiar with FERPA, schools can ensure that the privacy of students’ confidential education records is protected.

  • 30 Aug 2011 9:51 AM | Anonymous
    Wanted to take a second (cuz that is all we have) and say good luck to my colleagues across the State as you welcome new students, welcome back continuing students and saying good bye to those summer days.

    We at Tech, started our semester yesterday, had our highest freshman class ever (1915 - which is significant since we were founded as Dixie College in 1915 and this class is the class of 2015 - our 100th!). I hope the start of your semester goes well.

    We are working on some things for training in the next few months so look out for those and we also will be posting the NASFAA Presentations on our website - you'll get a chance to see the actual video presentation and have the handouts - cool!

    Looking forward to seeing all of you in the coming months, please let me know how TASFAA can work for you!

    Peace,

    Lester
  • 10 Aug 2011 3:18 PM | Deleted user

    Borrower boot camp: Get your graduates in repayment shape with these five tips by Doug Savage, TG Senior Regional Account Executive

    Say you had the chance to send next semester’s graduates through a “basic training” in loan repayment undefined a regimen that taught them not only the essentials of responsible repayment, but offered tips on safeguarding their finances in a tough economy. What would you include in the course? How would you help borrowers focus on lean living, building financial muscle, and preparing for the endurance test that is, in essence, repayment?

    Here is an “exercise plan” designed to suggest to borrowers a successful path to loan repayment. You could include many things in such a plan; this version offers just an example. Consider adapting these suggestions for your own campus needs, using the information as a supplement to exit counseling, or  including it in future communications by mail or email.

    • ·         Build your budget muscle undefined Strong, well-planned budgets do the heavy lifting for short- and long-term fiscal needs. To make sure income is put to “healthy” use, borrowers will need to establish a budget that takes adversity into consideration undefined a lay-off or prolonged job hunt, for example. There are numerous online calculators and off-the-shelf personal finance software applications that make creating and using a budget simpler. The more borrowers can anticipate and plan for their expenses in a budget undefined and adhere to budget requirements with the occasional splurge as a reward undefined the better off they’ll be.
    • ·         Watch those spending calories undefined The temptation after getting a job and jumping several income brackets is to overindulge. Graduates used to a student’s Spartan existence may want to upgrade lifestyles without preparation; that is, without setting a spending plan. Instead of buying heedlessly, which can leave borrowers vulnerable to credit problems, they should devise a simple spending plan of purchases matched to income “calories” that takes into account long-term life goals.  Such a plan can help borrowers cut unnecessary expenses and focus on saving.
    • ·         Track loan “weight” via NSLDS undefined For a “weight scale” view of where borrowers stand with regard to repayment, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website (http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/) is invaluable. The site won’t be up-to-the-minute with loan amounts and statuses undefined for that, borrowers will have to contact individual servicers. But the site does offer a central place to track loan calories burned and find contact information for all loan holders. The site can be especially useful for borrowers with split loans.
    • ·         Set a long-distance goal with a repayment plan undefined Half the battle with any lengthy endeavor like repayment is setting a goal that is appropriate given need and circumstance. The standard repayment plan is not always the best for some borrowers, given dramatic changes in income or a period of time without employment. In such cases, borrowers may do well to consider Income-Based Repayment or another plan that takes into account fluctuations in salary.
    • ·         Talk to your repayment coaches, a.k.a., servicers and guarantors undefined Servicers and guarantors can offer guidance and information to borrowers in tough financial straits. They can also connect borrowers to such repayment options as forbearance and deferment, and explain the pros and cons of loan consolidation.

  • 02 Aug 2011 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    On the evening of August 1, 2011, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Budget Control Act of 2011.  The bill has been sent to the Senate, which is expected to pass the bill and forward to the President for signing.  It will prevent the United States from defaulting on its loan obligations and raise the debt ceiling.  Under the bill, discretionary spending will be reduced by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.  The debt ceiling will be raised in two steps:  $400 billion immediately following Presidential certification that the debt is within $100 billion of the ceiling and additional borrowing is required, with a second increase of $500 billion subject to the same conditions, but subject to a joint Congressional resolution. 

    Impact on Student Aid

    • 1.      Provides additional funding of $17 billion for the Pell Grant Program over the next two years.  This covers the current $5.7 billion shortfall and the $11 billion shortfall projected for next year.  Pell would be covered for FY 2012 and FY 2013, as it is a forward funded program.
    • 2.      In order to generate funding for the Pell Grant increase, the subsidized interest for graduate students in the federal Stafford Loan Program would be eliminated beginning with July 1, 2012.
    • 3.      The repayment incentives in the federal Direct Loan Program would also be eliminated, except for the auto-debit incentive.

    For the Future

    The bill calls for the creation of a 12-member Joint Committee to report legislation by November 23, 2011 that would propose to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion through 2021.  The Committee would be composed of six Democrats and six Republicans coming in equal numbers from the House and the Senate.  Although other programs of student financial aid were not immediately impacted, there is an opportunity for future reductions in programs based on where the cuts are taken.  

  • 28 Jul 2011 7:53 AM | Anonymous
    As TASFAA President, I sit on the TSAC Board as a voting member. The Board met this past week to review the new lottery changes that needed to be written into the lottery policies and procedures. Quick and short meeting and will be looking forward to meeting again over the new few months as TSAC develops their business plan for the ever changing marketplace.

    Funny thing happened to me the other day. I was working in my office and one of my 'duties' is to pop popcorn for the office - we have a popcorn machine and it gives staff something to munch on in between phone calls and students. We had an angry parent up front and I wheeled the popcorn machine out of my office (for fire safety it cannot be popped in common areas) I took some up front to the receptionist just about the time the parent said she wanted to speak to the Director.

    I asked her what I could do to assist her, she looked at me and the popcorn I was delivering and said "If I want popcorn I will call you, otherwise let me speak to the Director!". I gave the receptionist a knowing wink and told her to escort her to the Director's office and that he would be with her momentarily. I finished delivering popcorn and walked into my office sat down handed the mother a bag of popcorn and said" Hi I am the Director, how can I help you?." She was embarrassed and gave a nervous laugh and I chuckled as well and we worked out her issue over popcorn.

    Lesson for me was, never underestimate the power of a little carbohydrate and a laugh! (I need more of the latter personally!)

    Have a great rest of July and look forward to start of classes in August for most of you!

    Be blessed,

    Lester
  • 25 Jul 2011 8:04 AM | Anonymous

    SAVE PELL: On July 25 supporters across the country will band together for 'Save Pell Day,' an online day of action to petition lawmakers to protect the Federal Pell Grant program. If Congress reduces funding for Pell Grants in the 2012 budget, it would cut awards for the nation's neediest students in 2012-13.

    Learn more and 'Like' the Save Pell Facebook community page today.

    http://www.facebook.com/savepell?ref=ts&sk=wall

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