(December 3-5, 2019)

Woman Pen Notebook
The following information contains notes of interest from this year’s FSA Conference. While some of this information is new or updated, some items are reminders of existing requirements or processes.

Keynote Address/Federal Updates/General Updates:

Secretary Devos indicated FSA would function better as a stand-alone independent agency. She indicated that by moving to independence it would provide better service to students and better manage ED’s loan portfolio. Additionally, politics would have less of an impact on Title IV.

Federal Student Aid is working toward a simpler process for students and parents. The process is being structured to allow students to more direct point of contact instead of multi-websites that must be utilized for FSA ID, FAFSA, Student Loans, Repayment Plans, NSLDS, etc. Some of the tools discussed were:

  1. Ask Aidan – allows students to ask questions and provides them with answers or information on where to locate the answers. Coming Soon.
  2. Next Gen is moving toward Now Gen – enhancements to ensure the myStudentAid App and FOTW mirror each other. Students can start and finish on either application. It is also more seamless to switch between methods.
  3. Informed Borrower Tool – allows student a stronger understanding of their debt and options available through repayment.
  4. College Scorecard – provides information necessary for a student to evaluate up to 10 colleges in one review and ensure they are making more informed decisions.
  5. Loan Simulator – allows students to evaluate various options when determining the amount to borrow and which repayment option is best for them. This can also help them with financial planning.
  6. Partner Participation Oversight (PPO) Portal – a portal for financial aid professionals that will provide more insight into their student data. Real-time updates. ED believes this portal will make jobs easier for FAAs.
  7. Better evaluation process on which ISIR/SAR’s should be selected for verification. ED plans to continue working toward reducing the number of applicants selected (see notes in Verification section).
  8. Tax Returns will continue to be an option.

NOTE: A college may not require a student to provide a tax transcript unless the college has a documented reason to question the validity of the tax return (see notes in Verification section).

Currently the student loan outstanding amount is over $1.2 Trillion loans with over 42 million student borrowers. This makes the federal government the largest lender, exceeding Bank of America, in the loan business.

20/21 FAFSA process launched in October 1, 2019 with the SSN masked.

The 2018 IRS tax forms changed – only 1040 (no more 1040A or 1040EZ) with Schedules 1 -6. Paper tax returns will continue to be acceptable documentation when needed.

There was a revision to standard terms which allowed a Semester/Trimester to be 14-21 weeks in length, Quarter 9 – 13 weeks in length, and they are no longer required to be substantially equal.

The notification on the new requirement for loans disbursed out of the 20/21 award year will require students to complete the Informed Borrower Tool (IBT).

Perkins loans in default for two years or more should be assigned back to ED. There is no need to wait.

New/revised 2020 CIP Codes will be available and colleges need to verify that the correct CIP Code is being used. ED will be implementing the new/updated CIP codes in March 2020. A summary of changes to CIP Codes follow:

  1. 497 new codes;
  2. 12 CIP Codes were completely deleted from the CIP-2010 table;
  3. 149 consolidated with another CIP Code; and
  4. 1994 had no substantive change.

CIP Codes are maintained by the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). A “crosswalk” from 2010 to 2020 CIP Codes is available at: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/crosswalk.aspx?y=56

The FSA Cybersecurity Compliance requirements are on the IFAP page for colleges to review.

The 20/21 Federal Pell Schedules are not approved, yet. The appropriation and release of the information is expected soon.

The number of students qualifying for The Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship (TCFHS) remains very small (approximately 51 students in the 2018/19 award year). Currently, the college must update the COD records; however, coming in 20/21 the ISIR will contain a flag for students who qualify for the TCFHS and update to COD to prevent manual actions.

The deferment form for Cancer Treatment is now available.

There will be three webinars offered by ED on Accrediting and State Authorization duringJanuary. The dates are listed: January 22, January 23, and January 30, 2020.

ED intends to redesign IFAP including the updated handbook and a new training module.

ED is working on publishing two federal registers with proposed rules on TEACH/Faith-basedissues and Distance Education and Innovation. As part of the proposed rules on DistanceEducation and Innovation, schools that have already been approved for Direct Assessment.

Programs will not need to request approval to add additional Direct Assessment Programs unless the new program is at a difference credential level than the programs already approved.

ED plans to publish an electronic announcement early next year to provide clarity on foreign gift reporting.

As of 11/1/19, the HCM Reimbursement process has been improved to allow schools to securely upload files to ED for faster processing. In January ED plans to implement an electronic document center to allow schools to securely upload documents to ED for purposes other than reimbursement.


20/21 Verification –

  • Same data items;
  • No change to verification tracking groups;
  • Filing extension beyond the automatic 6-month extension 2018 tax year:
  • Copy of the IRS’s approval of the extension beyond the 6 months for tax year 2018;
  • Verification of nonfiling from the IRS dated on or after October 1, 2019;
  • Copy of the IRS W-2 for each source of 2018 employment; and
  • If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of AGI and tax paid in 2018.
  • IRS DRT is available for the 20/21 FAFSA year;
  • IRS DRT is mobile ready;
  • All DRT data continues to be encrypted and colleges will be able to make changes;
  • Colleges must continue to report V4 and V5 results in FAA Access to CPS online in the 20/21
    award year.

Note: An applicant can be selected for verification throughout the award year based on changes to the FAFSA.