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2017 Session Descriptions

**Subject to change.

Click here to download easily printable Word docs of all sessions or the 2017 Agenda spreadsheet

General Sessions



GS1. Welcome & Keynote Address

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GS2. Federal Update
Senior officials from the Department of Education (ED) will present information and updates about ED's Title IV activities and initiatives, including information about ED's regulatory efforts.

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GS3. Verification (2017-18 and 2018-19) and Identification and Resolution of 2017-18 Conflicting Information
This session will include a discussion of the verification requirements for the 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) cycle and verification issues related to the 2017–18 FAFSA cycle. This session will also provide details about the resolution of 399 codes for the 2017–18 FAFSA cycle.

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GS4. Keynote Address: Federal Student Aid's Chief Operating Officer
Presenter: Dr. A. Wayne Johnson

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GS5. FAFSA® and CPS – Now and What's Next
Presenters will shed light on recently implemented changes to the 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and the Central Processing System (CPS), and review preliminary findings regarding application volumes and trends. Additionally, planned mid-cycle enhancements to the FAFSA user experience will be discussed.

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Breakout Sessions



1. Welcome to Your First FSA Training Conference
Are you new to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference? This session will help you get the most out of the conference by showing you how to navigate the four-day agenda and how to determine which sessions will best meet your needs. You will also learn who attends the conference, what services are available, and how to get answers to your questions.

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2. New COD Reporting
FSA has enhanced the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System reporting function with a new look to the "Report Portal." Changes include removing older, unused reports, changing formats, and expanding others. This session will demonstrate how the portal can make accessing reports more beneficial for you.

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3. eCB is Moving to COD
This session will provide an overview of the upcoming move of the eCampus-Based (eCB) System to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System in early 2018. The discussion will include a high-level review of current eCB functionality being integrated into COD with a new look and feel.

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4. Pell LEU & SULA Adjustments for Transfer Students Coming from Closed Schools
This session will provide information regarding closed school adjustments from an operational perspective for both the Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) and the Direct Loan Program Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) Programs. The overview will include reducing loan periods, reducing loan amounts to equal amount disbursed, and addressing SULA conditions for students from closed schools. Understanding Federal Pell Grant restoration for closed schools effect on the Federal Pell Grant LEU, reviewing tools to help determine if a student has had Federal Pell Grant eligibility restored, and addressing additional Federal Pell Grant eligibility for an award year after a student has eligibility restored will also be covered.

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5. SULA Misunderstandings & Misreporting
This session will address common Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) misunderstandings and misreporting. We'll begin with an overview of concepts and the requirements for reporting and updating records. We'll delve into how reporting mistakes and some processing shortcuts can impact a borrower's subsidized loan eligibility or result in a loss of subsidy. Included will be guidance on how to configure a loan when remaining subsidized eligibility is less than 1.0 year. The goal is clean SULA processing and no longer needing a prior award year re-opened to make necessary corrections.

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6. Assuring Quality: Satisfying the Direct Loan Requirement 34 CFR 685.300(b)(9)
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program regulations at 34 CFR 685.300(b)(9) require schools to implement and document a quality assurance process to ensure they are complying with program requirements and meeting program objectives. This session will outline what Direct Loan schools are required to do to meet these requirements and what documentation is needed to provide to an auditor or program reviewer.

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7. Professional Judgment: Did You Know?
This session will explore our statute allowances pertaining to a school's ability to provide professional judgment (PJ) to assist students seeking Title IV support. We will explore school PJ policies to include what is and what is not PJ, documentation requirements, and how PJ interacts with verification. In addition, we will discuss the different kinds of professional judgment and related authorities afforded schools including COA adjustments, EFC data element considerations, dependency overrides, parent’s refusal to complete FAFSA forms, and provide support and denying or reducing Direct Loans. Examples, resources, and references will be provided.

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8. Administering Disbursements
Come learn with Department officials as we explore the flexibilities and restrictions when handling Title IV funds. In this session we will discuss various aspects of properly disbursing Title IV funds including Title IV credit balances, early and late disbursements, post-withdrawal disbursements, and retroactive disbursements. In addition, we will review G5 drawdowns, G5 and COD interactions, and timely and accurate system reporting. We will also provide information regarding how to disburse or return funds if improper payments occur or if a student regains eligibility.

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9. Administering Adds, Drops, and Withdrawals
This session will address the activities a financial aid administrator must perform when a student adds or drops courses as well as when a student withdraws (excluding R2T4 calculation). Discussion and case scenarios will be provided concerning recalculation rules and census dates in various situations as students add and drop courses. This session will also provide an in-depth explanation concerning student withdrawals on such topics as school attendance, official and unofficial withdrawals, determining the date of withdrawal, and reporting deadlines.

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10. Basics of Determining Academic Calendars (Standard, Non-Standard, and Non-Term)
This session will explain how different types of academic calendars affect the administration of Title IV aid. Guidance will be provided on how to determine whether a program is structured as standard term, non-standard term, or non-term and how each calendar structure determines what Federal Pell Grant formula is required and how academic years are defined for Direct Loans.

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11. Title IV Reconciliation Tools & Tips
This session will include an overview and updates for streamlining reconciliation and program year close out. New this year, we will host a discussion panel, inclusive of school representatives from the financial aid and business office, who will share tips and tools from their experience.

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12. Administering Title IV Aid for Transfer Students
This session will address various issues that arise when administering federal student aid for transfer students. Discussions will cover transfer monitoring and demonstrate how to correctly award and disburse both Federal 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 Federal Pell Grants and Direct Loans.

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13. 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 and reports for schools in 2017. This will include a high-level review of updates made to support Loan Data, Enrollment Reporting, and other NSLDS functionality.

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14. Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System Update
This session will provide an overview of recent modifications to the COD system for the 2017–18 processing cycle, including year-round Federal Pell Grant changes and Pell Restoration. It will also include information about anticipated system enhancements and modifications for the upcoming 2018–19 award year.

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15. Regulatory Relief Listening Session
In accordance with President Trump's regulatory reform agenda, the Department of Education is reviewing current regulations and working to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens. We would like to hear your ideas for regulations and guidance that should be repealed, replaced or modified. We are especially interested in your thoughts about regulations that are unnecessary, ineffective, or impose costs that exceed the benefits. Come share your ideas with us during our regulatory relief listening sessions during the FSA conference.

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16. Third-Party Servicers and Your Campus
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. This session will also cover the most recent guidance provided by the Department related to third-party servicers as well as common issues identified during program reviews.

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17. Cash Management Regulations Overview
This session will provide guidance on 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 will also 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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18. Modules and Title IV – Advanced Concepts
It is strongly recommended that attendees view the presentation from the 2016 FSA Training Conference entitled How Modules Can Affect Title IV (Available on IFAP) BEFORE attending this presentation. This session will assume that attendees are knowledgeable about the basics of modules and their impact on Title IV. This session will explore modules at a more advanced level. This session will focus on academic calendars that utilize standard terms which contain modules. This session will include a discussion of disbursements in a module environment, reporting in a module environment and other related topics. This session will not include a discussion of Return of Title IV in a module environment. Session 23, Return of Title IV Funds – Advanced Concepts will include a discussion of R2T4 and modules.

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19. A Guide to Year-Round Federal Pell Grants
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. This session will also cover the most recent guidance provided by the Department related to third-party servicers.

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20. Top 10 Important Facts You Should Know About the Federal Perkins Loan Program
Requirements and regulations about the Federal Perkins Loan Program can be confusing. This session will focus on the most important facts your institution needs to know about Perkins Loans. There will be discussion of excess liquid capital, reporting requirements, loan assignment, and other important facts.

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21. Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans & Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
IDR plans can provide critical relief for federal student loan borrowers. This session will provide an overview of the Department's income-driven repayment plans, and discuss how IDR plans intersect with the PSLF Program.

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22. Return of Title IV (R2T4) Funds: Basic Principles
Have you ever done an R2T4 calculation? Have you ever wondered what your colleagues do when a student withdrawals? Well, now is your chance to get an overview of the R2T4 process. This session will discuss key definitions, provide a high-level overview of the actual R2T4 steps, and address important concepts and time frames that take place throughout the R2T4 calculation – withdrawal dates, dates of determination, aid that could have been disbursed, post-withdrawal disbursements, grant overpayments, etc. If you are new to working with withdrawn students, then this session is for you.

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23. Return of Title IV (R2T4) Funds: Advanced Concepts
A basic understanding of R2T4 principles is expected for participants in this session as it will explain advanced concepts related to the R2T4 process. Additionally, the session will describe the treatment of modules, non-term programs, and abbreviated loan periods in R2T4 calculations.

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24. Open Forum
This question-and-answer session will give financial aid administrators an opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions to Department of Education senior staff.

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25. Gainful Employment (GE) Update
This session will provide an overview of the Gainful Employment (GE) regulations that became effective July 1, 2015 including information on the about to be released debt-to-earnings rates.

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26. 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.

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27. Maintaining Your Institutional Eligibility
This session will cover what FAAs need to know about maintaining their school's eligibility and will include information about recertification and other changes that could impact a school's eligibility to participate in the Title IV programs. The session will also cover what information a school needs to submit for 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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28. How to Detect and Deter Federal Financial Aid Fraud
Special agents from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) will discuss the OIG’s mission to combat fraud and abuse in federal student aid programs and what you can do to help safeguard those programs for your neediest students. Special agents will illustrate complex and common fraud schemes, brief you on indicators that can help you detect internal and external fraud, discuss the criminal and civil remedies sought by the OIG, and how you can report potential fraud to the OIG. Special agents will clarify what actions are taken by OIG as it pertains to fraud. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to ask questions to the special agents that investigate student aid fraud schemes.

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29. Complying with the Clery Act and Related Laws
This session will provide an overview of the Department's campus safety and crime prevention rules and information on recent developments in these vitally important areas. Participants will also learn how to apply best practices and avoid common mistakes in related areas, including fire safety, sexual assault prevention and response, and substance abuse prevention. The interaction with the Department’s civil rights and records privacy rules will also be addressed.

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30. What FAAs need to know about Cybersecurity Initiatives, Data Protection, Identity Theft and Cyber Security Risk Management
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 institutions. There will also 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 personal information. This session will also identify the difference between cybersecurity risk management and operational cybersecurity.

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31. Financial Aid Boot Camp for New Financial Aid Directors
This session is for new financial aid directors or anyone interested in becoming a financial aid director. The session will review the full scope of responsibilities for financial aid directors.

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32. Findings in Financial Literacy
Federal Student Aid staff and others will present updates and opportunities to influence the financial wellbeing of postsecondary students. Research, surveys, best practices, and free resources will demonstrate the role of financial aid professionals in our student's economic health and the economy as a whole.

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33. The Future of FAFSA®
As a follow-up to Dr. A. Wayne Johnson's Keynote Address, this session provides an opportunity to showcase Federal Student Aid's plans for the future of FAFSA.

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34. Federal Student Aid Feedback System and Annual Report – What FSA Learned from Student Aid Recipients
Have you ever wondered what our customers really think about our federal student aid programs, schools, and participating servicers? Or what percentage of borrowers had a school-related complaint? After our first full year of operations, find out what FSA has learned from over 17,000 customers who provided their feedback. This session will also include a high-level overview of process and system enhancements being considered to improve system capabilities.

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35. Using Financial Aid Information for Program Evaluation and Research
This session will provide an overview of the January 2017 Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) "Guidance on the Use of Financial Aid Information for Program Evaluation and Research." This guidance discusses the different laws governing the privacy and confidentiality of student aid data, including the Higher Education Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and how they apply to different data use scenarios. Attendees will learn which laws and restrictions cover which types of student aid data, along with best practices for protecting student privacy when using financial aid data for program evaluation and research. The presenters will also discuss answers to some recent inquiries that PTAC has received concerning financial aid data use not currently covered in the guidance, answer financial aid data use questions from the audience, and highlight some of PTAC's other technical assistance resources on privacy and security.

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36. OIG Proprietary School Audit Guide
Come hear the OIG Non-Federal Audit Team discuss the recently released "Guide for Audits of Proprietary Schools and for Compliance Attestation Engagements of Third-Party Servicers Administering Title IV Programs." We will discuss some of the bigger changes from the prior audit guide as well as common issues and questions already identified. Come with your questions* as the last 20 to 30 minutes will be a panel discussion with members of the Non-Federal Audit Team. We will also share our thoughts on the importance of selecting a qualified auditor (firm) to complete the schools audit.
*Specific school or specific scenario questions should be sent ahead of time to the oignon-federalaudit@ed.gov email box for a formal response.

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Hands-On Sessions



HO1. 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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HO2. Hands-On COD BASICS
This basic session will take the user on a tour of the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System website and demonstrate functionality available for day to day successful processing of Title IV aid. Bring your FSA user ID, password, and token and we will practice together using your school information. 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 alternate practice sessions, instead of working with your school data. Note: This room is set with 160 seats in front of laptops and another 300 seats behind to observe.

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HO3. Hands-On COD ADVANCED
This COD advanced session will introduce the user to new functionality within the Batch menu, Services menu, and review the plethora of data/reports available within the Person menu. Bring your FSA user ID, password, and token and we will practice together using your school information. 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 alternate practice sessions, instead of working with your school data. Note: This room is set with 160 seats in front of laptops and another 300 seats behind to observe.

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Birds of a Feather Networking Sessions



BOF1. Bursars and Business Officers
In this session, bursars and other school staff will meet to discuss issues important to their business offices, including cash management rules and Title IV financial responsibility standards.

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BOF2. Experimental Sites Initiative - Loan Counseling
In this session, schools selected for participation in the Loan Counseling experiment will have the opportunity to share with institutional colleagues best practices, challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and exchange ideas related to the experiment. This experiment is not currently accepting additional schools for participation but conference attendees interested in learning more about the Loan Counseling experiment may attend.

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BOF3. Experimental Sites Initiative - Dual Enrollment
In this session, schools selected for participation in the Dual Enrollment experiment will have the opportunity to share with institutional colleagues best practices, challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and exchange ideas related to the experiment. This experiment is not currently accepting additional schools for participation but conference attendees interested in learning more about the Dual Enrollment experiment may attend.

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BOF4. Experimental Sites Initiative - Second Chance Pell
In this session, schools selected for participation in the Second Chance Pell experiment will have the opportunity to share with institutional colleagues best practices, challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and exchange ideas related to the experiment. This experiment is not currently accepting additional schools for participation but conference attendees interested in learning more about the Second Chance Pell experiment may attend.

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BOF5. Experimental Sites Initiative - Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Competency-Based Education (CBE), and Limited Direct Assessment (LDA)
In this session, schools selected for participation in this experiment will have the opportunity to share with institutional colleagues best practices, challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and exchange ideas related to the experiment. This experiment is not currently accepting additional schools for participation but conference attendees interested in learning more about this experiment may attend.

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BOF6. Minority-Serving Institutions: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs)
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at HBCUs and PBIs will meet and discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSD) initiatives. FSA's MSURSD staff will monitor this session.

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BOF7. 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 and discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSD) initiatives. FSA's MSURSD staff will monitor this session.

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BOF8. Minority-Serving Institutions: Hispanic-Serving (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at HSIs and AANAPISIs will meet and discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSD) initiatives. FSA's MSURSD staff will monitor this session.

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BOF9. Community Colleges
In this session, community college financial aid professionals will meet to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities. FSA’s School Experience staff will monitor this session.

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BOF10. Graduate and Professional Schools
In this session, financial aid professionals from graduate institutions will meet to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities. FSA's School Experience staff will monitor this session.

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BOF11. 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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Foreign Schools Sessions



FS1. Orientation to the FSA Training Conference
This session will provide an overview of the Department of Education, the role of Federal Student Aid, and the various offices within FSA. Information will be provided on the foreign school track sessions, and there will be recommendations of which session’s foreign school representatives should attend to complement the sessions offered during the foreign school track.

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FS2. COD Hands-On
This basic session will take the user on a tour of the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System website and demonstrate functionality available for day to day successful processing of Title IV aid. Bring your FSA user ID, password, and token and we will practice together using your school information. 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 alternate practice sessions, instead of working with your school data. Note: This room is set with 160 seats in front of laptops and another 300 seats behind to observe.

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FS3. NSLDS® Hands-On
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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FS4. Postsecondary Institution Data-Security Overview and Requirements
As institutions move from the Information Age to the Virtual Age, cyber threats are a certainty. It isn't a question of "if," but "when" and "how often." This presentation defines data security, compliance requirements, and available tools. Learn how your institution can avoid risks to its federal student aid access.

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FS5. Title IV Reconciliation
This session will outline the Direct Loan reconciliation process for foreign schools. Highlights will include internal and external reconciliation, reports, and what's new.

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FS6. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Return of Title IV (R2T4) Funds
This session will offer a high level review of SAP, including an explanation of key concepts such as qualitative and quantitative assessments, warning and probation periods, appeals, and academic plans. R2T4 funds is an important process and this session will provide you with a step-by-step walkthrough on when and how to calculate R2T4 using several common scenarios. Participants will work alone or in groups to calculate R2T4 examples.

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FS7. The Top Compliance Audit Findings and How to Avoid Repeat Findings
This session will discuss the top compliance audit findings and the common repeat findings. You will learn what you can do to improve your school's program administration to remain in compliance, and best practices on resolving findings, especially repeat findings. The session will also include a discussion of compliance audit rejection letters and how to work with your auditor to correct and re-submit the corrected compliance audits.

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FS8. Student Eligibility Requirements
This session will cover regulatory student eligibility requirements to include resolving conflicting information. The session will also focus on the regulations specific to students attending foreign schools, to include telecommunications, written arrangements, and internships/externships.

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FS9. Foreign Schools: Update and Q&A
This session will provide an opportunity for foreign school participants to ask questions of Department of Education policy and operations staff.

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