NASFAA Outlines Year-Round Pell Considerations to ED for a Successful Implementation

By Brittany Hackett, Communications Staff
In anticipation of the reinstatement of year-round Pell, NASFAA and its members “stand ready to be of assistance” as the Department of Education (ED) begins the implementation process, NASFAA President Justin Draeger said in a letter submitted to the Department last Friday.
The letter was sent May 5 to ED Secretary Betsy DeVos, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary and Acting Under Secretary James Manning, and Delegated Duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Lynn Mahaffie. In it, Draeger expressed “excitement” about the reinstatement of year-round Pell, noting that the “ability to use life-time eligibility for Pell on a condensed schedule – that is, one year-round basis – will have many positive benefits for students.”
However, the rollout “will largely be dependent … on the partnership between the Department of Education and the financial aid community,” and NASFAA and its members “look forward” to working with ED during the eventual negotiated rulemaking process, Draeger said in the letter.
Meanwhile, there are several questions regarding the legislative language that ED should consider as it begins to disseminate guidance to institutions by July 1, which Draeger outlined in the letter. For example, the provision is effective starting in the 2017-18 award year, but there are questions about how Pell funds will be disbursed for periods of enrollment that cross over July 1, 2017. There are also questions about whether institutions can “top off” to the full eligibility in the event of a student having leftover eligibility from one year to the next, and if a student must be at least half-time only for the extra term being paid from a second award.
In the letter, NASFAA seeks to confirm that ED will not be making changes to 690.64, or to current policies regarding assignment of cross-over periods, and asks whether ED anticipates any changes to the way usage is monitored within an award year. Additionally, NASFAA requests that ED “issue guidance that provides safe harbor for institutions until final regulations are effective,” Draeger said in the letter. “We also suggest that institutions be consulted about, and involved in rigorous testing of, any additional data collection related to year-round Pell.”


Publication Date: 5/8/2017

Beth J | 5/9/2017 9:46:54 AM

I feel that for once the Department of Education and NASFAA should really pay attention and listen to those of us in the Financial Aid community. Just slow down and think this completely through before you enact it. Waiting until 18/19 would allow everyone the time to consider and prepare. Why rush into this. Too many times we have seen a rush and it turns out to be "oh we need to change this", "of we need to change that". It is so hard to explain all of this to students and parents. Please, please wait and plan well.

Kim J | 5/8/2017 5:32:31 PM

The fact that Negotiated Rulemaking has NOT been waived, I would think, means that there is a strong possibility we are not looking at any implementation until summer of 2018 ... we shall see. I appreciate the fact that acceleration is not implemented and the fact that schools assign the award year during cross over periods ... HUGE gains ... thank you NASFAA and NCAN for your advocacy ...

Brenda B | 5/8/2017 4:34:26 PM

PLEASE wait until 18/19!!!

Amanda K | 5/8/2017 4:11:55 PM

I don't understand why this can't wait until 18/19. We are a header school. How are we supposed to process summer Pell when we may not have guidance until July 1?

Mary O | 5/8/2017 8:44:58 AM

I just hope that this is not the disaster we had the last time year round Pell was implemented. It concerns me that you are already worried about a "safe harbor" for institutions. Why can't we wait for 18/19 so that we have complete policies and regs.

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