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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit institutions of higher education in early March, schools faced a myriad of challenges and important decisions, but none more significant than whether to remain open to students or to cancel in-person instruction and shift to remote learning. In the end, it appears low-income students may have suffered most from those decisions, according to a new report.

NASFAA has updated the financial aid offer section of its Code of Conduct to reflect the association's existing public policy position on the issue. The changes include a requirement that NASFAA institutions include estimated net price in their aid offer materials, as well as a breakdown between direct and indirect expenses, and information about next steps. The updated Code of Conduct also includes links to definitions in NASFAA's Glossary of Terms for Financial Aid Offers. We encourage institutions to review the changes and work to ensure compliance with the Code within a reasonable time frame.

The Department of Education (ED) announced a number of new features to the College Scorecard Tuesday, aiming to provide prospective students with additional details on federal loan repayment statuses of borrowers, broken down by institution. Building off of previous updates, ED will now include the percentage of student loans paid down by entire cohorts of students one, four, five, 10, and 20 years after entering repayment, which for the first time includes the Parent PLUS repayment outcomes.

NASFAA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

AskRegs

No. The Dec. 11, 2020 Federal Register waives this requirement for "affected individuals" under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act. Per the Federal Register: "The Secretary is waiving the requirement in § 668.21(a)(2)(ii) that an institution notify the Direct Loan Servicer when a borrower who has received a credit balance payment composed of Federal Direct Loan funds will not or has not begun attendance, so that the servicer will issue a final demand letter." View the full answer to this question to learn more and search for answers to your other pressing regulatory and compliance questions in NASFAA's AskRegs Knowledgebase.

FAAC Logo

Ready to become certified? You still have time to take the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program knowledge exam during the current testing window, which is open now through Wednesday, January 20, 2021. If your application is already approved, your next step is to purchase the exam and schedule your session online. The next available testing window isn’t until February, so be careful not to let your one-year eligibility period expire! Check your personal certification Dashboard to confirm that date. If you haven’t applied yet, complete your application online today. Learn more about the testing process and make sure you meet all of the technical requirements.

Webinar Logo

Now is the time to register for the first NASFAA webinar of 2021: Verification – Challenging Questions and Scenarios – Extended Edition, set for 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 27. During this special two-hour webinar, NASFAA's David Futrell will provide clarification on some of the most commonly misunderstood verification issues. This webinar is a follow-up to the earlier webinar, 2021-22 Verification Basics. It will include scenarios to assist in understanding issues like separated and divorced parents, household size and providing half support, tax filing status, signature requirements, and sending corrections to the Central Processing System (CPS), to name a few. Don't miss out on this excellent training opportunity on some of the more complex verification questions financial aid administrators are faced with. Register now.

SOE

New financial aid directors often enter a new office wanting to evaluate the current state of operations. NASFAA’s Standards of Excellence review program can help with that evaluation and provide an action plan to make improvements. We’re temporarily offering remote reviews, too. Contact NASFAA today!

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

The Technical Update, GA-2021-01: Fiscal Year 2018 Cohort Default Rate Calculations, is attached in Microsoft Word Format and in Portable Document Format (PDF).

FEDERAL REGISTER

The Department of Education (Department) is issuing a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2021 for the Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) Program, Assistance Listing Number 84.066A.

The Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) for Disbursing Title IV Aid to Students with Intellectual Disabilities expenditure report is the tool for reporting the use of these specific funds. The data is used by the Department to monitor program effectiveness and accountability of fund expenditures. The data is used in conjunction with institutional program reviews to assess the administrative capability and compliance of the applicants.

In notice document 2020-28000, appearing on page 83068 in the issue of Monday, December 21, 2020, make the following correction: On page 83068, in the second column, in the DATES section, change “January 20, 2021” to read “January 21, 2021.”

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