Natural Disaster Guidance and Regulatory Relief for Hurricane Isaac

The National Hurricane Center has predicted that Tropical Storm Isaac will likely grow to a hurricane before it reaches land late Tuesday somewhere along a roughly 300-mile stretch from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, prompting evacuations across the region. Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama have all declared states of emergency.

NASFAA sent a letter to institutions in the states that may be impacted on Monday to remind these schools about existing guidance regarding the impact of a "major disaster" on the administration of the Title IV student assistance programs. Dear Colleague Letter GEN-10-16 is intended to help Title IV student financial aid participants affected by a federally declared major disaster. Institutions with any questions or concerns can contact the Department of Education (ED) School Participation Team at the below phone numbers.

  • School Participation Team – Alabama, Florida, Mississippi

Atlanta, GA – (404)974-9303

Washington, DC – (202) 377-3173

  • School Participation Team – Louisiana

Dallas, TX – (214) 661-9490

Washington, DC – (202) 377-3173

Unless stated otherwise, the regulatory relief described in the Dear Colleague Letter applies to all recipients of Title IV aid and their families who at the time of a disaster were residing in, employed in, or attending an institution located in a federally-declared disaster area in the United States. 

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 contact Federal Student Aid at 1 (800) 433-7327 or by e-mail at

Lenders or guaranty agencies in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program should contact their regional Financial Partners representative

In addition, the Department’s National Disaster Information page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals 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 affected, NASFAA staff and Board of Directors send you our thoughts and prayers for your safety and well-being. NASFAA staff will be available by phone and email to answer any questions or provide guidance to those dealing with Title IV administration in a natural disaster zone.


Publication Date: 8/28/2012

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