Natural Disaster Guidance and Regulatory Relief for Hurricane Irma

The Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) late Tuesday night sent schools in the projected path of Hurricane Irma a “pre-disaster letter.” Impacted schools should fill out the form provided in the letter to give FSA alternate contact information and an update on the school’s status.

NASFAA would also like to remind schools in the path of the storm that ED last week issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-08, providing updated information regarding the impact of a “major disaster” on the administration of the Title IV student assistance programs. The new guidance supplements all information in the Federal Student Aid Handbook and supersedes guidance included in previous Dear Colleague Letters, including Dear Colleague Letter GEN-10-16, which is intended to help Title IV student financial aid participants dealing with a federally declared major disaster.

For affected institutions, guidance states that a Title IV program participant that does not carry out an otherwise required action in administering program aid must document that fact and indicate which alternative procedures, if any, were used. If an emergency prevents an institution from routine operations, that institution should promptly complete the Disaster Registration Form (use the “More Details” field).

In addition, the Department’s National Disaster Information page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website provides further information including resources for students, parents and borrowers. In the event that the President declares a disaster, ED provides general guidance for regulatory relief to students, institutions, lenders, guaranty agencies, and their servicers in administering the federal student financial aid programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).

Most importantly, to those in the line of the storm, the NASFAA staff and Board of Directors are sending you good thoughts and prayers for safety. Schools that are having trouble connecting with the Department regarding the impact of Hurricane Irma, may use this form to let us know.

 

Publication Date: 9/6/2017


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