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2013 Session Descriptions

**Subject to change. Please refer to the agenda for days and times.

Click here for an easily printable Word doc of all sessions.

General Sessions



GS1. Welcome & Federal Update

Session Description: In this session, participants will hear about updates to the Department of Education's Title IV activities and initiatives. Topics will include the President's Title IV budget proposals, including the status of sequestration; changes to Title IV programs as a result of the Supreme Court's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision; and an update on the Department's regulatory efforts.

Day 1, 8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Mandalay Bay Ballroom

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GS2. FAFSASM & Application Processing Update

Session Description: This session will provide an overview of the 2014-15 Free Application for Federal Student Aid and an update on application processing changes.

Day 2, 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m., Mandalay Bay Ballroom

Secretary Arne Duncan
Day 2, 9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Mandalay Bay Ballroom

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GS3. Verification

Session Description: This session will cover both policy and operational verification requirements for 2013-14 and verification plans for 2014-15.

Day 3, 8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Mandalay Bay Ballroom

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GS4.The Higher Education Act (HEA) Listening Session
Session Description: In this session, conference participants will be able to present to senior Department of Education officials ideas, suggestions, and proposals for updating the law that authorizes Title IV Student Assistance Programs to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. To allow as many conference participants as possible to share their thoughts, each presentation will be limited to no more than five minutes.

Day 4, 8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m., Mandalay Bay Ballroom

No presentation at this time.

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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 program and determine which sessions will best meet your needs. We will provide an overview of attendees who attend the conference and what services are available and answer any conference-related questions you may have.

Day 1, 7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m., South Seas DF

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2. Title IV Loan & Grant Funding Process
This session will provide an overview of the updated funding process in the Common Origination and Disbursement System (COD) for Direct Loans, TEACH Grants, Pell Grants and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (IASG), and for Campus-Based programs in the eCampus-Based system. It will also touch on some of the operational cash management requirements, including the move to all electronic refunds and the change from a 30- to a 15-day disbursement reporting period.

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3. Pell Grant Duration of Eligibility Limitation
This session will focus on the policy and operational requirements of the new Pell Grant duration of eligibility limitation.

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4. Loan Counseling Tools
A one-stop shop for all loan counseling needs is available on StudentLoans.gov! Entrance, Exit, and Financial Awareness Counseling all have web-based interactive modules that provide tips and tools to help students understand their financial aid obligations, manage their finances, and choose the best repayment plan for their circumstances. This session will provide an overview of the loan counseling resources available on StudentLoans.gov.

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5. COD Update for FAAs
This session will provide current information about the COD system for the 2013-14 processing cycle, including information about changes to the system that have been implemented as a result of recent legislation, and planned upcoming changes.

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6. COD Hands-On
This session will include an overview of Direct Loan and Pell Grant processing tips that will help you take advantage of what's new for COD in award year 2013-14. During the session, you will have an opportunity to practice those tips with the assistance of FSA staff. You will also learn how to find and use information in the COD system, such as the new COD reports, and learn how to monitor your current and prior year cash balances and identify warning and reject edit codes. Bring your COD user ID, password, and token if you would like to practice using your school information.

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7. Federal Loan Servicing Update
The servicing landscape continues to evolve, and this session will assist schools in better understanding how FSA manages change and measures performance in a multi-servicer environment. We will look back at some of the servicing issues and challenges that borrowers and schools faced, and provide updates on key servicing improvements and decisions regarding process standardization.

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8. Title IV Reconciliation: What You Need to Know
This session will present an overview of key concepts in the reconciliation of Title IV aid programs (Direct Loans, Pell Grants, and the Campus-Based Programs), and is intended for both financial aid office and business office personnel. We will explore tips, tools, and resources to assist in routine reconciliation processes and in timely and accurate end-of-year processing and closeout.

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9. PLUS Processing A to Z
Do you have questions about Direct PLUS Loan processing? The purpose of this session is to help you originate and disburse PLUS Loans for your borrowers successfully and efficiently. Learn who can borrow a PLUS Loan, how the Direct PLUS Loan process differs from the Sub/Unsub process, what happens at COD when you originate a Direct PLUS Loan, and how the credit check and/or appeal process can affect you, your borrower, and their endorser. We'll also show you how to find PLUS Loan information related to your borrower in COD.

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10. How FAAs Award and Disburse Title IV Funds using Modules and How Types of Academic Terms (Standard, Non-standard, Non-term) Affect Title IV
Presenters will explain how the various types of academic terms affect the administration of Title IV. They will also explain the difference between academic calendars using standard terms (including module-based standard terms), non-standard terms and those that do not have terms (non-term).

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11. Direct Loan Processing Tips & Troubleshooting
Are you confused about the COD Direct Loan rejects and warnings you see all too often? Are you stymied about setting the COD options to manage StudentLoans.gov actions? Are reconciliation issues a puzzle and cash management a mystery? In this session we will discuss common processing problems and offer suggestions for how to better monitor your Direct Loan processing efficiency.

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12. NSLDS® Update
In this session, NSLDS will recap changes made in 2013 to its websites, reports for schools, and Enrollment Reporting changes. NSLDS will also inform schools of the changes planned for 2014. This session will provide insight into how these changes will help NSLDS support the new 150% borrowing limitation.

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13. NSLDS Hands-On
This session is an introduction to the basic functionality of the NSLDS 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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14. Understanding Borrower Aggregates on NSLDS
Have you ever wondered how National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) determines the aggregate loan balances found on the Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) and the NSLDS Professional Access website? This session will explain how NSLDS calculates aggregates and you will receive a "cheat sheet" your office can use to demonstrate to students how the aggregate balances were determined.

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15. NSLDS 2014 Enrollment Reporting
2014 will bring many changes to enrollment reporting for all schools. This session will preview our planned enhancements. You will learn about the additional data elements that will be required for reporting and how they will impact Transfer Student Monitoring for Enrollment Reporting; new reporting formats that will be offered; and the significance your enrollment data will play in a borrower's eligibility for interest subsidy.

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16. Schools in the Quality Assurance Program (Invite Only)
This session is for schools currently participating in FSA's Quality Assurance Program. Staff from FSA's Quality Assurance Program team will outline and discuss the program requirements schools must prepare for and complete in award years 2014-15 and 2015-16.

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17. Strategies FAAs Need to Know About Managing Default
Loan default - and the risk of loan default - is increasing for borrowers and schools. The Department's default prevention staff will describe the conditions that are giving rise to increasing default risk. They will also suggest strategies and describe tools that schools can use to identify defaulters and work collaboratively with the federal loan servicers to reduce institutional cohort default rates.

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18. 3-Year CDR: Here and Beyond
This session explores the "new" 3-year Cohort Default Rate (CDR) and the effects of the rates after three consecutive years, with a focus on the monitoring of a school's student loan portfolios and CDRs. You will be guided through the calculation, challenge, and appeal processes (including a special focus on loan servicing appeals). Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions regarding CDR management.

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19. How FAAs Use the FSA Assessments to Find it, Fix it, and Enhance Compliance
This session will show schools how to use this web-based FSA Assessment tool to identify a compliance issue, develop a plan to fix it, monitor implementation of the plan, and ultimately be better prepared for audits and program reviews. We will walk through the process using the assessments and identified compliance issues related to verification, conflicting data, Return of Title IV funds, and institutional eligibility.

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20. Cash Management Requirements
This session will provide an overview of the regulatory requirements for the management of Title IV student assistance cash. Topics will include the methods available for institutions to request funds and keep records, disbursement rules, required notices and authorizations, and late disbursements.

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21. Return of Title IV Funds Basic Training for FAAs New to R2T4
Return of Title IV (R2T4) funds can be a complex component of your administration of Title IV HEA programs. This session will teach the basic concepts of R2T4 for aid administrators new to R2T4 or those who need to refresh their skills on this topic. Clock and credit hour examples will be discussed.

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22. Return of Title IV Funds Programs of Study Taught in Modules
This session will focus on the Return of Title IV funds when a student withdraws from a program that either is taught within modules or has modules in the program. Examples will be discussed for both clock-hour and credit-hour scenarios.

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23. Pay As You Earn and other Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Income-driven student loan repayment plans can provide critical relief for borrowers who have difficulty making their loan payments and for those who work in public service. This session is an overview of the Title IV student loan income-driven repayment plans, including borrower eligibility criteria and loan forgiveness provisions. Presenters will also offer strategies for identifying students who could benefit from these plans and will highlight resources schools can use to explain the plans to their students.

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24. Open Forum #1 Tuesday
This question and answer session will give financial aid administrators an opportunity to ask questions of and offer comments and suggestions to senior Departmental policy and operations staff.

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25. Open Forum #2 Wednesday
This question and answer session will give financial aid administrators an opportunity to ask questions of and offer comments and suggestions to senior Departmental policy and operations staff.

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26. Open Forum #3 Thursday
This question and answer session will give financial aid administrators an opportunity to ask questions of and offer comments and suggestions to senior Departmental policy and operations staff.

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27. Gainful Employment Disclosures and Template Demonstration
This session will provide an overview of the gainful employment disclosure requirements currently in effect. Presenters will discuss the template that will be required to make the disclosures in the near future and will also demonstrate how to complete the web-based gainful employment disclosure input documents.

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28. What FAAs Must Know About 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limits
This session will provide an overview of the requirements for limiting Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility to the length of 150% of a student's academic program. It will outline Department of Education and school processing requirements for tracking, monitoring, awarding/originating, and reporting Direct Loans. Presenters will suggest ways for schools to warn students who are approaching the 150% borrowing limit and will discuss the expected timeframes for implementation of the requirements for award years 2013-14 and 2014-15.

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29. Consumer Disclosure Requirements for FAAs
This session will focus on the consumer disclosure requirements that have generated attention and questions over the last 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, Department officials will review the tools and resources that are available to help institutions comply with the consumer information provisions.

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30. Tools to Support Higher Education Choice for FAAs
The U.S. Department of Education recently launched two new tools to support higher education choice for consumers: the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet and the College Scorecard. These tools were designed to ensure greater transparency among schools regarding their costs and to help students and parents better understand the federal aid they are offered.

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31. The Clery Act and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act: Practical Advice for Non-Campus Safety Professionals
Presenters will explain in plain language the campus safety, fire safety, and drug and alcohol prevention requirements that apply to all schools that participate in FSA programs. The basic requirements of the new Campus Sexual Violence Elimination provisions will be included in the discussion. Presenters will also explain how schools can avoid common mistakes when implementing public safety and drug and alcohol prevention programs, and will provide practical advice about how financial aid professionals help their institutions improve compliance in those areas.

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32. Top 10 Audit & Program Review Findings for FAAs
This session will provide an overview of FSA's most common audit and program review findings. Examples of each finding will be discussed, and we will share ideas, solutions, and resources to help you prevent these errors at your institution.

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33. How FAAs Report Changes Impacting Institutional Eligibility
The Eligibility and Certification Report (ECAR) displays institutional information upon which Title IV eligibility is based. This session will cover changes that would impact an institution's eligibility for Title IV, particularly the addition of educational programs or school locations. Presenters will explain when and how schools should report such changes to maintain their eligibility.

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34. What You Need to Know About Education Tax Credits and Deductions
Tax credits and deductions can help students and parents save money on the cost of higher education. Find out what resources the IRS offers to help you inform students about the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, and other education benefits. Also learn how the Department of Education is partnering with the IRS to develop products and services to promote tax credits and deductions.

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35. Consumer Information: FSA and IRS Expand Collaboration!
In FY2010-11, FSA partnered with the IRS to offer students and families the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for completing the FAFSA. The partnership between FSA and the IRS, also known as the "FSA and IRS Partnership Alliance," is now focused on reaching out to individuals in low-income and limited-access communities. Come and hear the FSA and IRS Partnership Alliance's goals and planned initiatives, and about how your organization can contribute to the success of those initiatives.

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36. How Schools Educate their Students about Financial Literacy
Financial literacy programs can positively impact cohort default rates, student retention and graduation rates, and ultimately influence the financial well-being of America's students. In this session, we will present financial literacy concepts that all students need to know and understand. We will also provide an overview of FSA's financial literacy resources, and a panel of school financial aid administrators will share their best practices for implementing successful financial literacy programs.

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37. What FAAs Need to Know about FAFSA on the Web Skip Logic Do you wonder why some students leave their financial information blank on the FAFSA? Or, why some parents answer only a handful of questions and not the rest? Or, why all the questions are answered, except parent assets? This session will answer those questions by exploring the rules around the automatic zero EFC calculation, the simplified needs test, and the asset threshold question, and how to relate these rules to FAFSA on the Web skip logic.

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  • States that allow for simplified flow in FAFSA on the web (DOC)
  • 2014/2015 Data Elements Justification (DOC)
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    38. Increasing Your Student Borrowers' Repayment Success
    In this session, FSA will share In-Grace Borrower survey results and discuss student financial literacy, financial literacy data measures, and strategies for encouraging students to complete their degree programs. Also during the session, a panel of representatives from schools with low default rates will share their best practices for reaching out to students regarding loan repayment.

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    39. How to Leverage FSA Resources to Drive Awareness and Increase Engagement with Students
    Have you been looking for content and resources to support your outreach efforts to students and families? Don't have time to search for updates or create your own materials? We've done the work for you! This session will showcase FSA's new Financial Aid Toolkit, which includes resources ready for you to personalize for your specific use. Plus, we'll show you how to search and filter FSA resources by audience, topic, time of year, and type of resource so you can access videos, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, training materials, and social media content to meet your needs. In addition, learn how to leverage FSA's social media platforms and content for your school's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms to increase student engagement with your pages, and learn how to host your own Twitter Office Hours. We will share our own social media best practices, give a preview of some new efforts underway at FSA, and explain how you can collaborate with us to develop content for your social media sites to addresses students most common questions about federal aid.

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  • Proud Sponsor PSA (Video)
  • Financial Aid Process (Video)
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    40. StudentAid.gov & NSLDS New User Interface New Resources for Borrowers
    This session will provide a first look at the upcoming changes that will allow students to view their NSLDS information on StudentAid.gov, as the Department transitions from the former to the latter. Participants will preview new videos, infographics, and other tools that financial aid professionals can use to inform students about the loan repayment process.

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  • How to Manage Loans (Video)
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    41. Detecting, Protecting, Preventing and Reporting Identity and Computer Breaches
    Computer breaches and identity incidents come in many different forms. In this session we will discuss different types of threats and vulnerabilities to computerized data, and cover methodologies that can be used to detect and defend against these threats to prevent a loss of data or network damage. Examples of real breaches will be used to demonstrate how data has been lost in FY13. We will conclude with ways you can help protect your data, networks, and identity information and what to do in the event a breach occurs.

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  • Amazing Mind Reader Reveals His Gift (Video)
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    42. Orientation to the Foreign Schools Participation Division & Orientation to the FSA Training Conference
    Members of the Department of Education's Foreign Schools Participation Division will provide an overview of the Department's compliance and oversight functions, including institutional eligibility, compliance audit resolution, program review, financial analysis, and method of payment. The session will close with recommendations and orientation to the 2013 FSA training conference.

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    43. Foreign Schools Medical, Veterinary, & Nursing Programs Update
    This session will provide an update on areas specific to administering the Foreign Medical/Veterinary/Nursing programs, to include guidance on Title IV funding for foreign medical schools, how and when to obtain United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) data from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), constructing proper clinical agreements, new veterinary eligibility requirements/deadlines, and a tour of the new website specific to international schools.

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    44. Foreign Schools Cash Management & R2T4
    Cash management is the proper handling of Direct Loan funds and the timing for which the funds must be requested and disbursed to student accounts. Using examples from the Return of Title IV funds calculations, this session will cover the processes for returning Direct Loan funds to the Department of Education and making post-withdrawal disbursements to students.

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    45. Foreign Schools Consumer Information
    Consumer information, which must be provided to prospective and current U.S. students, is required of all Title IV eligible institutions, including Foreign Schools. This session will describe the communications required under Title IV and the timeframes by which those communications must be delivered to students.

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    46.Foreign Schools Cost Of Attendance
    This session will cover the key concepts of developing institutional Costs of Attendance (COA). We will cover both mandatory and optional COA components, and will go over the COA for different types of programs and students.

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    47. Foreign Schools Student and Educational Program Eligibility Updates
    This presentation will look at the requirements of written arrangements with institutions to provide a portion of an educational program. In addition, the session will discuss the internship/externship components of educational programs as they pertain to foreign institutions. We will also discuss how schools respond to Unusual Enrollment History flags on a student's SAR/ISIR record and how Pell LEU limits impact Direct Loan eligibility.

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    48. Foreign Schools Update on FSA Systems
    This session will provide an overview of FSA's systems, the order in which Foreign School partners will interact with each system, and how the systems work together to accomplish the tasks involved in the successful administration of the Direct Loan Program. We will also cover recent and upcoming updates to FSA's systems that impact Foreign School partners.

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    49. Foreign Schools COD from Start to Finish
    The Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system is integral to the processing of Direct Loan records. This session will explain how to use the COD system to originate and disburse Direct Loans, and how to identify and resolve origination and disbursement errors. We will also identify the system reports and financial screens that are most beneficial for reconciliation.

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    50. Foreign Schools Update and Q&A
    This session will provide an opportunity for foreign school participants to ask questions of Departmental policy and operations staff.

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    51. The President's Higher Education Initiatives: College Value, Innovation, and Debt Management
    This summer, President Obama outlined an ambitious new agenda to combat rising college costs and make college affordable for American families. The plan will measure college performance to give students and families the information they need to decide which schools would be the best value. The new agenda also aims to remove barriers to school competition and school innovation, particularly in the use of new technology. In this session, senior Departmental policy officials will share details of the President's plan.

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    BOF1. Minority Serving Institutions (MSI)
    This session will provide an opportunity for attendees who work at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally-Controlled Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to meet collectively with FSA's Small and Under-Resourced Schools Division staff. Information will be shared regarding current and proposed FSA legislative and policy issues and their impact on the institutions and the students they serve. MSI institutional staff will have an opportunity to provide feedback regarding current FSA Small and Under-Resourced Schools Division training initiatives and to make suggestions and recommendations for future activities.

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    BOF2. Community Colleges
    This session will provide community college financial aid professionals an opportunity to meet collectively to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.

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    BOF3. Graduate and Professional Schools
    This session will provide financial aid professionals from graduate institutions an opportunity to meet collectively with FSA and ED staff to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.

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    BOF4. Bursars and Business Officers
    This session will provide an opportunity for bursars and other staff to meet and discuss issues important to the business office, including the cash management rules and the Title IV Financial Responsibility Standards.

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    BOF5. Experimental Sites Pell Grant Experiments 1 & 2
    This session will provide updates on the implementation of the experiments, evaluation, and next steps. Schools will share their experiences, what worked, what didn't work, and how FSA can help going forward.

    No presentation at this time.

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    BOF6. Experimental Sites Direct Loan Experiments 3-6
    This session will provide updates on the implementation of the experiments and completing the reporting templates for award year 2012-13. Schools will share experiences, what worked, what didn't work, and how FSA can help going forward.

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