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2018 Session Descriptions

**Subject to change.

Click here to download easily printable Word docs of all sessions or the 2018 Agenda

General Sessions



GS1. Welcome & Keynote Address


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 (2018–19 and 2019–20)
This session will include a discussion of the verification requirements for the 2019–20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) cycle and verification issues related to the 2018–19 FAFSA cycle.

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GS4. Next Gen FSA Update
Next Gen FSA is the future of financial aid. Next Gen FSA will create an improved, world-class customer experience for FSA's millions of customers, while creating a more agile, flexible model that will streamline FSA's existing operations. Next Gen FSA will improve the integrity of the Title IV programs and transform how we provide oversight of organizations that support our shared mission. Come join us for an update on Next Gen FSA!

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GS5. The Next Generation of FAFSA®
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. The Four R's – Review, Request, Record, and Report –An In-depth Focus on the FISAP
This session will provide an in-depth focus into the importance of the Four R’s – Review, Request, Record, and Report – to avoid the most common mistakes when requesting Campus-Based funds and reporting program expenditures on the FISAP.

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3. 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 of the 150% limit. 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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4. Professional Judgment: Did You Know?
This session will explore our statutory allowances pertaining to a school's ability to provide professional judgment (PJ) to assist students seeking federal student aid 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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 federal student 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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8. Title IV Reconciliation: What's in your Tool kit?
Do you want to hone the tools in your Title IV reconciliation toolkit? Or do you need assistance to identify the right tool(s) for the job? Then this session is for you! We will discuss the key concepts for reconciliation of federal student aid program funds (Direct Loans, Federal Pell Grants, TEACH Grants, and the Campus-Based Programs), as well as end of year processing and closeout. Then, we will open our toolkit and explore tips, tools, and resources for use by Financial Aid and Business Office staff, including new and updated items you just don't want to miss.

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9. 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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10. National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) Update
In this session, we will recap the changes made to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) website and reports for schools in 2018. This will include a high-level review of updates made to support Loan Data, Enrollment Reporting, and other NSLDS functionality.

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11. Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System Update
This session will provide an overview of recent modifications to the COD system for the 2018–19 processing cycle, including the new Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act, and other changes impacting the CampusBased, Direct Loan, and Grant Programs. This session will also include information about anticipated system enhancements and modifications for the upcoming 2019–20 award year.

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12. Understanding Your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
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. We will provide an explanation of key concepts such as qualitative and quantitative (pace) measurements, maximum time frame, warning and probation periods, appeals, and academic plans. Where appropriate, examples will be provided to help demonstrate the elements that a school is required to include in its SAP policy.

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13. Cash Management Regulations Overview – Back to Basics
This session will provide policy and operational guidance on the cash management requirements set out in 668 Subpart K. The session will include information about: institutions that partner with banks and servicers; making disbursements; notices; authorizations; the advance, HCM1, HCM2 and reimbursement payment methods; returning funds; and books and supplies. This session will also explain the role played by the Department's systems (such as COD and G5) for disbursement, draw downs, and reconciliation of federal student aid funds.

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14. 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 here) BEFORE attending this presentation. This session will assume that attendees are knowledgeable about the basics of modules and their impact on federal student aid. This session will explore modules at a more advanced level, specifically the session will focus on Federal Pell Grant recalculations and how classes offered in modules can impact those recalculations. There will not be a discussion of Return of Title IV in a module environment in this session. If applicable: Session 18, Return of Title IV (R2T4) Funds: Essential Concepts will include a discussion of R2T4 and modules.

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15. Getting the Most out of Year-Round Federal Pell Grants
Our most popular session from the 2017 FSA Training Conference is revised to fit your needs! This session will provide an overview of the provisions governing Year-round Federal Pell Grants. As Year-round Federal Pell Grants is no longer "new," we will expand our focus this year to cover examples of calculations based on statutory provisions; the COD system data analysis of setting the Additional Eligibility Indicator (AEI), resulting consequences, and strategies for avoiding pitfalls; and a school representative shares how they implemented Year-round Federal Pell Grants at their institution and outreach strategies used to engage eligible students.

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16. What's Next Now that Perkins has Expired?
This session will focus on the important information your institution needs to know about the Perkins Loan Program now that the program has expired. There will be detailed discussion on requirements for reporting(FISAP and on NSLDS), assigning loans to the Department, distributing the assets from the Perkins Loan Revolving Fund, servicing your institution's portfolio, and more.

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17. Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans
IDR plans provide alternative repayment options to help student loan borrowers manage the repayment of their loans. This session will provide an overview of the Department's income-driven repayment plans such as Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE), Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE), Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR), and Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR). This session will also discuss how IDR plans intersect with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

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18. Return of Title IV (R2T4) Funds: Essential Concepts
Whether you are new to R2T4 or have performed calculations for years, if you are interested in the R2T4 process, this session is for you. This presentation 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, post-withdrawal disbursements, grant overpayments, etc. This session will also address some of the most popular R2T4 topics, including modules, institutional charges, aid that could have been disbursed, and more!

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19. Open Forum
This question-and-answer session will give conference attendees an opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions to Department of Education senior staff.

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20. Gainful Employment – Overview of 2019 and Beyond
This session will provide comprehensive information on the Gainful Employment Final Rule and what schools need to do now.

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21. Financial Aid Data Use and Student Privacy
This session will provide an overview of the different laws governing the privacy and confidentiality of student aid data and how they apply to different data use scenarios. The laws discussed during this session will include the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Privacy Act of 1974, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.

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22. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF)
This session will include discussions about the programmatic aspects and implementation of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, updates to the Department's processes, and the recently enacted Temporary Expanded PSLF opportunity, which was created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.

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23. Resolving Eligibility Issues for Citizens and Eligible Noncitizens
A student has to be a citizen, a citizen of a freely associated state, or an eligible noncitizen to receive federal student aid. This session will describe the process for confirming eligibility via database matches, eligible immigration categories, and related documentation. This session will also describe the new electronic Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) process used to complete third step verification of immigration status.

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24. How to Calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is one of the cornerstones of a student’s financial aid eligibility, so learning what is (or is not) included in the calculation is important. Knowing how the EFC is calculated can help inform conversations with applicants and parents and can sometimes provide insight into decisions about professional judgment. In this session, participants will learn the basics of what goes into calculating an EFC and will have an opportunity to learn how making changes to some of the data elements affects the calculation.

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25. 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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26. Maintaining Your Institutional Eligibility
This session will cover what FAAs need to know about maintaining their school's eligibility to participate in the Title IV Programs. Topics include information about the recertification process focusing on the various requirements and preparations schools should be conducting in the three to six months prior to submitting their application; what events trigger the need to submit an updated eligibility application; the information a school needs to submit for different types of eligibility applications; and common errors and pitfalls to avoid while submitting eligibility applications.

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27. Clery Act - Sexual Assault Prevention and Emergency Response
Whether your school has 50 students or 50,000, campus safety must be a priority. This session will not only cover the legal requirements of the Clery Act, but will provide strategies for developing and implementing vital policies, procedures, and programs. Sexual assault prevention and emergency response will be emphasized. We will also cover other important topics, including Title IX compliance and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

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28. Protecting Financial Data through Cyber and Fraud Risk Identification
The protection of a school's financial networks and student data is critical. The optimal starting point is identifying and prioritizing the risks, then determining the most cost-effective mitigations. This session will help you better understand how to detect cyber and fraud risks across your enterprise and present suggestions to identify them

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29. What FAA's need to know about Cybersecurity Initiatives, Data Protection, Identity Theft, and School Breach Reporting
This session, ideal for Financial Aid Administrators (FAAs) and Information Technology (IT) managers, will begin by providing a brief overview of federal IT security initiatives that impact postsecondary institutions (PSI). This session will identify best practices for data protection and identity theft, define what constitutes a breach, discuss common and not so common examples of breaches, describe how to report a breach to FSA, and the steps FSA will take to work with a PSI once a breach is reported. This session will close with a question and answer period by FSA experts in cybersecurity.

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30. Skip Logic – What's the Question?
Have you ever wondered why applicants aren't required to answer every FAFSA® question on fafsa.gov? Do you understand skip logic and how it affects the FAFSA form? In this session, participants will take an indepth look at completing the FAFSA form on fafsa.gov and how skip logic shapes an applicant’s experience. After attending, participants will have a thorough understanding of how skip logic works, often times allowing applicants and parents to skip over multiple FAFSA questions and benefit from a much shorter application experience.

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31. Best Practices for Financial Literacy in Higher Education
The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act stipulate the need to share best practices for institutes of higher education to teach financial literacy skills. This information must include methods to ensure that students have a clear sense of total borrowing obligations including monthly payment amounts and repayment options. Come hear from experts on effective practices and learn ways to improve the readability of financial aid information.

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32. How to Create an Effective Default Management Plan
Many schools are dealing with an increasing cohort default rate due to a number of external factors, including the transition from a two-year to a three-year CDR, increased tuition, increased borrowing rates, as well as many other factors. Simply put, students are having difficulties staying financially solvent and repaying their debt. Case in point: a default prevention strategy is like gold these days. A major component of any default prevention strategy is a comprehensive analysis of defaulters. Schools need the answers to these questions to effectively improve or enhance theirdefault prevention practices and initiatives.

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33. Survey Says: Results from FSA Surveys of Financial Aid Administrators and Students
We surveyed over 1,500 FAA's and over 2,200 students about financial aid and their experience working with FSA. Come find out what they said!!

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34. Internal and External Threats Facing Title IV Institutions
Special agents and analysts from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) will discuss internal and external financial aid fraud and cyber security threats currently facing institutions of higher education. The presenters will discuss real case examples of these threats, and how OIG's investigative mission to combat fraud and abuse in federal student aid programs can help your organization safeguard those programs by identifying and detecting fraud. The presenters 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 inform you concerning how to report potential fraud to the OIG. A question and answer period is planned as part of this presentation.

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35. OIG Proprietary School Audit Guide
The Non-Federal Team from the Office of Inspector General will discuss frequently asked questions and future plans for updating the school audit guide.

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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.
Note: This room is set with 160 seats in front of laptops and another 85 seats behind to observe.

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HO2. Hands-On COD BASICS
This basic session will take the user on a tour of the COD website and demonstrate functionality available for the successful processing of federal student 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 85 seats behind to observe

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HO3. Hands-On COD ADVANCED
This session will introduce the user to additional functionality within the Batch menu, Services menu, and review the plethora of data and 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 85 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
Schools participating 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
Schools participating 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
Schools participating 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. 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 initiatives. FSA’s Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division staff will monitor this session.

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BOF6. Minority-Serving Institutions: Tribal Colleges and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNHSIs)
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 initiatives. FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division staff will monitor this session.

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

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BOF8. 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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BOF9. Community Colleges
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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BOF10. Proprietary Institutions
This session will provide an opportunity for financial aid professionals from proprietary institutions to meet collectively to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.

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BOF11. ED OIG – Audit Guide
Program staff and the OIG Non-Federal Team will invite schools and auditors to discuss the audit guide. The goal is to have an open dialogue and to come away with some actionable items.

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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 sessions foreign school representatives should attend to complement the sessions offered during the foreign school track.

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FS2. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
This session will offer a high level review of SAP, including an explanation of key concepts such as qualitative assessments, quantitative assessments, and maximum time frames. Financial aid warnings, probation periods, appeals, and academic plans will be addressed in detail. Examples will demonstrate the elements a school is required to include in its SAP policy.

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FS3. 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. If you are sharing a PC with a school colleague, bring your FSA user ID, password, and token, and we will practice together using your school information.
Note: This room is set with 160 seats in front of laptops and another 85 seats behind to observe.

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FS4. 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.
Note: This room is set with 160 seats in front of laptops and another 85 seats behind to observe.

Download PPT of Presentation





FS5. Administering Disbursements for Foreign Schools
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.

Download PPT of Presentation





FS6. 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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