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Program and Agenda

2015 Session Descriptions

**Subject to change.

Click here to download an easily printable Word doc of all sessions or the 2015 Agenda spreadsheet

General Sessions



2015 Session Descriptions

**Subject to change.

Click here to download an easily printable Word doc of all sessions or the 2015 Agenda spreadsheet

General Sessions



GS1. Welcome & Federal Update
Senior officials from the Department of Education will present information about current issues for the Title IV student aid programs. The session will include updates about the Department's Title IV activities and initiatives, including information about the Department's regulatory efforts.

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GS2. FAFSA® Application Processing and Verification Update
This session will provide an overview of changes to the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and related application processing updates. The session will cover changes to verification requirements for 2016-17, including changes to the Verification Tracking Groups and updates to the verification selection process, particularly updates related to identity verification selection. Lastly, the session will feature a discussion about the Department's efforts to prevent fraud and abuse in the Title IV Programs by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories, and it describe how institutions must resolve the resulting ISIR 'C' codes for students with these enrollment histories.

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Breakout Sessions



1. Welcome to Your First FSA Training Conference
Are you new to the FSA Training Conference? This session will help you navigate the four-day agenda and determine which sessions will best meet your needs. You will learn who attends the conference, find out what services are available, and get answers to your conference-related questions.

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2. Title IV Reconciliation: Agreement, Accountability, and Action
This session will focus on the three A's of reconciliation: agreement, accountability, and action. You will learn the action needed to ensure that your school's internal records (both the financial aid and business office) are consistent with FSA systems, as required by regulations. This session is intended for both financial aid and business office personnel and will cover end-of-year processing and closeout for all Title IV aid programs.

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3. Direct Loan Processing: Making COD Work for You
This session will focus on using COD to help manage, monitor, and enhance your Direct Loan operations. This session will present processing considerations to help you get the most out of the COD system. A wide range of practical tips will be presented, including: managing loan origination edits, loan period and academic year reporting, using COD reports, and disbursement reporting.

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4. TEACH Grant Program
Have you considered offering the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant at your institution? Did you know that the TEACH Grant Program will provide grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who agree to teach for four years at an elementary or secondary school, or at an educational service agency that assists students from low-income families? This session will address understanding the mechanics of administering the TEACH Grant Program, including institutional and student eligibility, awarding funds, counseling requirements, and the grant-tracking process.

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5. Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was enacted in 2007 to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. This session will include a program overview, eligibility requirements, available resources schools can use to spread awareness about the program, and information about how qualifying payments are tracked.

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6. Ending your School's Participation in the Federal Perkins Loan Program
This session will provide participants with an end-to-end overview of the process for ending a school's participation in the Federal Perkins Loan Program. There will be a summary review of the ongoing decrease of the program, including a discussion on the requirements for "grandfathering" student borrowers.

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7. Assigning Federal Perkins Loans to the Department of Education
This session will provide information about new the processes that have been developed for assigning Perkins Loans to the Department. Specific areas that will be addressed include a discussion about the new electronic process for submitting loans, what supporting documents are required for the assignment, and how to utilize the web option for assigning loans.

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8. Administering Title IV Aid for Transfer Students
Session Description: This session will address various issues that arise when administering federal student aid for transfer students. Discussions will cover transfer monitoring and will demonstrate how to correctly award and disburse both Pell Grants and Direct Loans in standard term credit-hour, clock-hour, and non-term credit hour programs. Additionally, we will provide example scenarios about what to do when a transfer student withdraws during overlapping payment periods for Pell Grants and Direct Loans.

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9. National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) Update
In this session, we will recap the changes made to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) websites, reports for schools, and enrollment reporting in 2015. NSLDS also will inform schools of changes planned for 2016.

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10. NSLDS® Enrollment Reporting
In the past three years, many changes were made to enrollment reporting for all schools. This session will review the campus- and program-level reporting required by NSLDS, including situational examples and guidance about how to prevent common errors. NSLDS will highlight 2015 changes and discuss 2016 enhancements that will focus on improving the data that schools report to NSLDS.

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11. Hands-On NSLDS®
This session will introduce you to the basic functionality of the NSLDS Professional Access website and will provide an overview of the website's features, including loan and grant history, enrollment reporting, transfer monitoring, and reports.

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12. Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System Update
This session will provide current information about the COD system for the 2015-16 processing cycle, including information about system enhancements that have been implemented as a result of recent legislation. The session also will include an overview of enhancements and upcoming changes.

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13. Hands-On COD
This session will provide hands-on experience in resolving some of the top school processing issues and will introduce you to several new COD enhancements for the 2015-16 award years. Bring your FSA user ID, password, and token, and we will practice together using your school information. NOTE: To maintain the privacy of student information, if you share a computer with a colleague that is not from your school, you will be using the COD computer-based training to practice, instead of working with your school data.

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14. PLUS Processing A to Z
Do you have questions about Direct PLUS Loan processing? This session will help you originate and disburse PLUS Loans for your borrowers successfully and efficiently. Learn who can obtain a PLUS Loan, how the Direct PLUS Loan process differs from the subsidized or unsubsidized process, what happens in COD when you orig-inate a Direct PLUS Loan, and how the credit check and/or appeals process can affect you, your borrower, and the borrower's endorser. We also will explain how to find PLUS Loan information related to your borrowers in COD.

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15. Challenge and Appeal Cohort Default Rates
This session will explore the Cohort Default Rate (CDR) challenge, adjustment, and appeal process. Presenters also will discuss and provide specific exam-ples of special circumstances that may impact the CDR calculation. Participants will learn how to interpret and leverage the Loan Record Detail Report (LRDR) and will be taught critical aspects of NSLDS reporting during the challenge and appeal process. Participants also will receive tips about how to successfully submit a challenge or appeal and will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding CDR management.

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16. Default Management Plans
Preventing and managing student loan default is a school-wide effort. In this session, we will explain why schools need a comprehensive default prevention plan. We will suggest strategies and describe tools that schools can use to identify defaulters, and we will explain how to work collaboratively with federal loan servicers to reduce institutional cohort default rates.

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17. Servicing Update
Are you interested in learning how FSA ensures that borrowers are receiving good customer service and are best-equipped to meet their financial obligations? We will discuss how FSA interacts with our vendors to confirm our borrowers receive accurate and meaningful service and how we verify our borrowers are provided with the correct information to make informed repayment decisions.

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18. Third-Party Servicers
This session will review the guidance provided to institutions that contract with third-party servicers to administer aspects of an institution's participation in the Title IV programs. We will explore the definition of a third-party servicer, the responsibilities of an institution in working with a third-party servicer, and reporting requirements related to third-party servicers.

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19. Consumer Disclosure Requirements and Tools
This session will focus on the consumer disclosure requirements that have generated the most attention and questions throughout the past several years, such as the net price calculator and textbook disclosures, as well as a subset of disclosures that are commonly cited in program reviews. In addition to reviewing the requirements, the team will discuss the tools and resources that are available to help institutions comply with consumer information provisions.

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20. State Authorization
This session will cover the state authorization requirements needed to be eligible for Title IV funding. Both policy and operational considerations will be addressed.

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21. Cash Management Regulations Overview
This session will provide guidance about the final regulations that changed the requirements for institutions that partner with banks and servicers to offer debit cards, prepaid cards, student IDs with financial account capabilities, and similar products. We will provide an overview about why these regulatory changes were necessary and will explain, in detail, the new requirements for institutions including: the limitations on fees that can be charged to students, disclosure requirements, and limitations on sharing private student information. We also will provide information about other changes made in the final regulations, including confirming students' eligibility, paying credit balances before seeking reimbursement from the Department, and including the cost of books and supplies in tuition, among other topics.

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22. How Modules Can Affect Title IV Programs
Any course in a program that does not span the entire length of a payment period or a period of enrollment is considered to be a module. This session will explain how to administer Title IV aid when your standard term academic calendar contains modules. Modules may be included exclusively or in conjunction with full-term courses, year-round, or only during a summer term. All of these scenarios will be discussed. NOTE: This session does NOT include a discussion of R2T4 with modules.

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23. Understanding Federal Aid Policy and Practice for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
Unaccompanied homeless youth face the challenges of higher education on their own, without basic needs such as food and housing. Many also struggle with histories of abuse or neglect and poverty. This session will explore the unique needs of this population and offer ways to implement financial aid policies and practices on their behalf. The session also will provide information about the education and human service professionals with whom financial aid administrators can collaborate to help these students navigate the postsecondary education system.

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24. Student Eligibility (excluding SAP and Citizenship)
The administration of Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs is an institutional responsibility. One key area where offices outside of financial aid are involved is the accurate determination of student eligibility. This session will discuss requirements determined by the school, by federal systems, and by database matches. We will discuss the changes made by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 to the Title IV eligibility of career pathway programs that enroll students who are not high school graduates.

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25. Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a school-determined criterion for student eligibility for Title IV aid. At least once per year, institutions must assess whether students are making SAP. This session will offer instruction on how to evaluate SAP in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. It also will include an explanation of key concepts such as qualitative and quantitative assessments, pace of completion, and maximum time frame, as well as warning and probation periods, appeals, and academic plans. In addition, the session will cover the elements that a school is required to include in its SAP policy.

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26. Resolving Citizen and Eligible Non-Citizen Issues
A student has to be a citizen or eligible noncitizen to receive federal student aid. This session will describe how the student's FAFSA information is matched with other agencies to determine citizenship status. We also will describe immigration documents that you may have to collect to verify that the student meets citizenship require-ments.

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27. 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit
This session will provide an overview of the requirement that limits a student's eligibility to receive Direct Subsidized Loans to 150% of the published length of the student's academic program. The session will outline institutional requirements for reporting to both the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system and to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and it will address how the Department will monitor and enforce the 150% statutory requirement. This session also will include suggestions on ways schools can inform and warn students who are approaching the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan borrowing limit.

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28. Competency-based and Direct Assessment Programs
This session will provide an overview of the important regulatory provisions that apply to competency-based education programs, including direct assessment programs. Information will be provided about the application process for direct assessment programs, requirements for regular and substantive interaction in competency-based distance education programs, the application of R2T4, and satisfactory academic progress requirements for competency-based programs.

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29. Experimental Sites
This session will provide information about both the ongoing and new experiments under the Experimental Sites Initiative. It will provide information on the requirements for each experiment, its implementation, and information about reporting and evaluation.

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30. Gainful Employment The Challenge System
This session will provide information about Gainful Employment (GE) and the Data Challenge and Appeal Solution (DCAS). The first function of DCAS will allow institutions to submit requests for corrections and updates to the GE completer lists. In the future, DCAS also will be used by schools to submit challenges to draft GE debt-to-earnings rates.

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31. Gainful Employment Overview
This session will provide an overview of the Gainful Employment (GE) regulations that became effective July 1, 2015, including the GE program disclosures that institutions must update no later than January 31, 2016 using the Department's disclosure template.

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32. Open Forum
Day 1


Day 3
This question-and-answer session will give financial aid administrators an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments and suggestions to Department of Education staff members.

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33. Income-Driven Repayment Plans/Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans can provide critical relief for federal student loan borrowers. This session will provide an overview of FSA's income-driven repayment plans, including borrower eligibility criteria and loan forgiveness provisions.

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34. R2T4 and Credit-Hour Programs
Return of Title IV (R2T4) funds is an important process on your campus. This session will focus on R2T4 provisions for students enrolled in credit-hour programs. Time during the session will be reserved for questions.

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35. R2T4 and Clock-Hour Programs
Return of Title IV (R2T4) funds is an important process on your campus. This session will focus on R2T4 provisions for students enrolled in clock-hour programs. Time during the session will be reserved for questions.

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36. Internal Revenue Service
In this session, you will learn more about the IRS processes for requesting tax return transcripts, which are required for some applicants (and parents) for verification. Time during the session will be reserved for questions.

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37. Program Review Essentials and the Top 10 Compliance Findings
Would you like to learn about the program review process and the most common compliance findings? We will conduct a walk-through of the program review process, highlighting the areas with the current "Top 10 Program Review and Audit Findings." Learn what you can do to improve your school's program administration and to remain in compliance with Title IV regulations and statutes.

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38. The Clery Act and Title IX Compliance
Is your school in compliance with the Clery Act and the new Clery provisions added by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? What about Title IX? This session will help you to better understand the campus safety and sexual assault prevention and response requirements of the Clery Act. The basic requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 also will be covered. All schools that participate in the FSA programs are required to comply with these important laws. This session will pro-vide strategies for avoiding mistakes and tips to improve your school's campus safety operations.

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39. Maintaining Your Institutional Eligibility
This session will cover what FAAs need to know about maintaining their institution's eligibility and will include information about recertification and other changes that could impact an institution's eligibility for Title IV aid. The session will cover what information an institution needs to prepare to submit different types of eligibility applications and what events trigger the need to submit an application. Presenters will explain when and how schools should report changes to maintain eligibility.

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40. Integrated Partner Management (IPM) Solution Let's Get Ready!
IPM is coming soon, and we want you to be ready! In this session, you will learn how your institution can prepare to use IPM and how the system will improve the application process for eligibility, recertification, updates, and submission of your institution's annual Financial Statements and Compliance Audits.

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41. Foreign Schools Update and Q&A
This session will provide an opportunity for foreign school participants to ask questions to the Department policy and operations staff, as well as to members of the Foreign Schools Team.

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42. Foreign Schools Program Participation Potpourri
This session will include an assortment of important participation requirements, including consumer disclosures, SAP, and R2T4. There also will be an in-depth review of resources, such as the FSA Coach training suite, Foreign School Assessments, and the Foreign Schools Handbook.

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43. What FAAs need to know about Cybersecurity Initiatives, Data Protection, and Identity Theft
This session is ideal for FAAs and IT managers and will provide information about how to protect your school's student information. The session will provide a brief overview of some of the recent federal IT security initiatives and how they impact the Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, and schools. There also will be an overview of best practices for managing information and information systems to protect data, prevent identity theft, and provide security for students and their information.

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44. The FSA ID - Resources for Assisting Students, Parents, and Borrowers to Create and Use an FSA ID
This session will discuss how to create an FSA ID and explain where it can be used. The session also will cover how to use the self-service feature for common issues, such as locked accounts, forgotten username and passwords; will address common user errors associated with the FSA ID; and will provide information about resources for FAAs and counselors.

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View accompanying video





45. Federal Student Aid Complaint System
Learn about Federal Student Aid's plans to launch a new system that will capture complaints across the financial aid lifecycle. The session will cover implementation timing, planned features of the system, and impacts to major stakeholders.

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46. Title IV Administration is a Team Sport
This session will discuss how managing Title IV programs is a school-wide endeavor. The roles and responsibilities of the president's office, as well as the offices of admissions, financial aid, academic affairs, the registrar, business, student affairs, IT, and campus security will be highlighted during this session. You will learn how changes in other areas of your institution can impact overall compliance of Title IV programs. In addition, the session will provide recommendations to increase communication, cooperation, and collaboration among school offices.

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47. Research and Recommendations to Help Students Succeed
This session will give financial aid professionals the opportunity to hear about current research about topics such as using data to improve student outcomes and specific strategies that FAAs can put into practice to increase support for low-income students. Drawing on the research and knowledge of professionals representing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and experienced financial aid professionals, this panel will present research and behavioral economics-based interventions that FAAs can implement that can result in serving students better.

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48. Financial Literacy Matters
Within the past few years, there has been an increased effort to understand our student populations' financial lives. This session will share Research about key trends that have served as a catalyst for increased financial literacy programs on college campuses. As the number of programs has grown, so, too has the need to focus on evidence-based interventions and to provide a clearinghouse for best practices related to collegiate financial literacy. We will share some best practices, such as usage of peer financial education programs and how to use digital technology to make content more engaging for students. All this information can be used to help financial aid professionals make the case that financial literacy matters beyond the financial aid office.

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49. Stand Ready! FAFSA® Early Submission is Coming
At Ease! As a Proud Sponsor of the America Mind®, Federal Student Aid (FSA) has identified a user community that desires to start college planning before January 1. To accommodate this need, we will begin collecting "prior-prior" income information and will make the 201718 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available to applicants on October 1, 2016. This session will provide a high-level overview of the objectives, impacts, and planned communications that will result from early implementation of the FAFSA. And, we want to hear from you! FSA is looking for financial aid community members to participate in this interactive listening engagement, and we're the ones listening! If you have something to say on behalf of your organization and customer population, we want to hear it!

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BOF1. Minority-Serving Institutions HBCUs and PBIs
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) will meet with FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSDs) staff. Participants will discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future MSURSD initiatives.

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BOF2. Minority-Serving Institutions Tribal Colleges and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNHs)
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at Tribally-Controlled Colleges and Universities and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions will meet with FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSDs) staff. Participants will discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future MSURSD initiatives.

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BOF3. Minority-Serving Institutions Hispanic-Serving and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions will meet with FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSDs) staff. Participants will discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future MSURSD initiatives.

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BOF4. Community Colleges
In this session, community college financial aid professionals will meet to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.

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BOF5. Graduate and Professional Schools
In this session, financial aid professionals from graduate institutions will meet to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.

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BOF6. Bursars and Business Officers
In this session, bursars and other school staff will meet to discuss issues important to their business offices, including the cash management rules and Title IV financial responsibility standards.





BOF7. For-Profit Institutions
This session will provide for-profit financial aid professionals an opportunity to meet collectively to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.
































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