Year Round Pell

By: Kimberly Cashman

blogIn case you’ve missed it…year-round Pell grant has once again made it into the regulations. And now that the new rules have been released, the Department of Education has given financial aid offices some flexibility. Flexibility can be a great thing when it comes to helping our students get what they need but it can also be daunting (and somewhat terrifying) when you are attempting to decipher new financial aid rules.

According to the Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-06 that was released on June 19, 2017, institutions are allowed to decide when the cross-over period will take place and there is a distinction of what the student must do to receive the additional 50% of their scheduled Pell award.  The biggest questions that have come up have centered on how the cross-over period is assigned and when is the student able to utilize their additional 50%. The answer to these questions are simple on the surface but more complicated when you get into the specifics.

To make things easy, DCL GEN-17-06 spells out that the summer semester can be situated as a header or trailer and that the decision is up to each institution.

  • If summer is a header, then the funds for the summer semester are paid out of the 2017-2018 award year and begin working towards using their 150% allowed award.
  • If summer is a trailer, then the funds are paid from the remaining eligibility from the 2016-2017 award year and the student cannot exceed 100% of their scheduled award.

Here is the caveat for the additional 50% Pell award…the student must be enrolled at least half-time during the semester in which they cross the 100% threshold. What this means is that no matter how the semesters stack up, once the student is crossing from 100% to 101% of usage, they must be enrolled at least half-time to receive their Pell award above the 100% of the scheduled amount.

The other part of the DCL that gave many people (myself included) a mini heart attack was the instruction that while the institution has the flexibility to assign the crossover payment period it must be assigned so that it is “most beneficial to students.” That seems like an impossible task but after Episode 37 of “Off The Cuff” aired, relief was given when it was clarified that the crossover period can be determined by the school to best fit a group of students and/or determined on a student-by-student basis. Sweet, sweet flexibility!

BILL WATCH: On July 13, 2017 a House appropriations subcommittee voted to send a 2018 funding bill to a full committee review. This bill is a part of the proposal to cut $3.3 billion from the Pell Grant Program reserve (which is lower than President Trump’s $3.9 billion reduction proposal). In addition, this bill proposes to save the FSEOG program, subsidized loans, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program as well as calling for level funding for FSEOG and the FWS program and increased funding for TRiO and Gear Up. Despite some rebuff from each side, the bill appears to be moving forward and could be up for full committee vote as early as next week!

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2017 Conference Awards Ceremony

By: Debbie Brewer

Spring KASFAA conference has come and gone. The awards banquet took place during the conference. The awards committee did a fantastic job! Here is the list of our wonderful honorees.

Hall of Fame 

brendaBrenda Maigaard – University of Kansas

Meritorious Achievement

julieJulie Scott – Wichita State University

Deborah Byers Outstanding Service

myra.jpgMyra Pfannenstiel – Newman University

 

Committee of the Year

Awards Committee

Welcome Committee

 

10 Years of Service

May Schumacher- Fort Hays State University

Alex Zarchan- Butler County Community College

Sara Vancil- University of Kansas

Debbie Thompson- National Credit Management

Stephanie Swezey- Pittsburg State University

Dvak Corwin- US Department of Education

Mary Dino- Barton County Community College

Angie Zeorlin- Wichita State University

Deborah Rollf- University of Kansas

Jennifer Flynn- Johnson County Community College

Russ McBee- Dodge City Community College

Melinda Harrington- Garden City Community College

Lacey Ledwich- Wichita Area Technical College

Whitney Asher- Barton County Community College

Derrick Shy- Sallie Mae

 

15 Years of Service

Carol Clark- Pittsburg State University

Robyn Brungardt- Fort Hays State University

Gary Bateman- Ottawa University

Brenda Hicks- Southwestern College

Kevin Flowers- Inceptia

David Bartlett- US Department of Education

Stephanie Haynes- Wichita State University

Brenda Larrabee – Manhattan Christian College

Mark Walsh- US Department of Education

Karen Thompson- Pittsburg State University

Cheryl Rasmussen- Highland Community College

Laura Schultz- Wells Fargo Education Financial Services

Sheila Smither- Independence Community College

Helen Henry- Sterling College

 

20 Years of Service

Jeannette Dick- Baker University

Janet Roecker- University of Kansas

Myra Pfannenstiel- Newman University

Simone Werth- Fort Hays State University

Karen Bailey- University of Kansas

Rebecca Hedrick- Discover Student Loans

Connie Finger- Butler County Community College

 

25 Years of Service

Michelle Hall- Sterling College

Myrna Perkins- Barton County Community College

Julie Esau- American Student Assistance

 

30 Years of Service

Hedy Brizendine – Johnson County Community College

 

35 Years of Service

Mary Dorr- Kansas City Kansas Community College

Marcia Mendez- Hesston College

Deborah John- DJA Financial Aid Services, Inc.

 

Retirement Recognition

Judy Getty- Fort Hays State University

Brenda Maigaard- University of Kansas

Wayne Schneider- Kansas Wesleyan University

Vicky Curry- Allen County Community College

Jeanne Mott- Baker University

RetireRetirees in attendance: Vicky Curry, Jeanne Mott and Brenda Maigaard

KASFAA Scholarship Recipients

By: Debbie Brewer

Congratulations to our scholarships recipients in Kansas!!!!

Summer Institute Scholarship

At the Spring KASFAA Conference in Topeka, we were able to announce the recipients of the Summer Institute Scholarships. The KASFAA board budgeted for 4 scholarships and the KASFAA membership raised enough funds to allow 2 additional scholarship recipients.  The following individuals will be attending RMASFAA Summer Institute in Golden, Colorado the week of June 11-16, 2017.

Kristine Bryant – Benedictine

Jordan Boyles – Washburn

Kay Gordon – Allen CC

Kimberly Cashman – Cloud CC

Tegan Perry – Wichita State

Summer Bond – KCKCC

 

NASFAA Dallas Martin Scholarship

Also at the spring KASFAA conference, the current RMASFAA President, Vicki Kucera, presented the NASFAA Dallas Martin Scholarship to

Christina Pirtle – Washburn University

This one-time scholarship is funded by former NASFAA presidents and chairs who continue to believe in the success of the USA rests on the shoulders of a well-educated society.

 

The Pell Grant Is A Changin’

By: Brenda Hicks, Government Relations Committee Chair

The Pell Grant – It’s A Changin’ (Again)

KASFAA BlogI’ve often heard it said that the most important skill a financial aid administrator can acquire is remembering what to forget.  Indeed, it is the changing nature of this business that keeps me engaged and interested.  There is always some new challenge around the corner.

And this past few weeks, that new thing has been the Pell Grant! Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock – here is a brief update:  As reported in Today’s News on Friday, May 5, 2017 President Trump signed into law a spending package passed by Congress earlier in the week that included the restoration of the year-round Pell grant.  The bill also directed the Department of Education (ED) to issue guidance on year-round Pell not later than July 1, 2017.

The news spread like wildfire in the financial aid community sparking a letter to ED from NASFAA designed to ensure the community continues to have a voice in the implementation process in order to avoid the problems with the first stab at this beneficial provision just a few years ago.

The good news in all of this is that Congress, in this iteration of the fund tweak, has purposefully excluded any acceleration requirement and has emphasized the importance of allowing schools the flexibility of school choice concerning the assignment of the cross-over period. Yay!

The biggest thing on people’s minds right now is – WHEN? As written, the provision is effective starting in the 17-18 award year.  At least two institutions in Kansas have summer header programs, so for those two institutions, the 17-18 award year is NOW.  However, before you choke on your coffee remember that this is the national government.  In the world of moving vehicles, the government most closely resembles the large, 18-wheel semi-truck/trailer variety with a very large turning radius.  It’s not going to be speedy.

Most likely, and this opinion is seconded in last week’s NASFAA Off the Cuff released May 19, 2017, the earliest this provision will be enacted will be Summer 2018. For now – we are waiting for the initial guidance from ED and keeping our eye open for opportunities to weigh in.

BILL WATCH:  Last week’s Today’s News also mentioned two other bills of note.  One, the Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2017 was introduced by a bi-partisan group of legislators.  The bill would once again extend the Perkins Loan program for another two years in the hopes of keeping it alive through Reauthorization.  Another interesting development is the College Transparency Act of 2017 which would eliminate the federal ban on collecting student unit record data while protecting the privacy of individual students.

KASFAA at the State Capitol

Six KASFAA members were present on January 24, 2017 for the signing of a Proclamation by Governor Sam Brownback declaring February to be Financial Aid Awareness Month.  This is a great time to promote completion of the FAFSA with the students at your institutions.  Early FAFSA has become a reality, and with KASFAA training initiatives now occurring in October there is discussion that Financial Aid Awareness Month should correspond to that time frame. It seems that most of us would concur with that sentiment.

Attendees from left to right:  Cindy Kleinsorge, Tony Lubbers, Vanessa Jones, Tammy Higgins, Debbie Brewer, and Nathan Buchefinancial-aid-awareness-2017

To Train or Not To Train – Is It Even a Question?

By Aimee Campbell

In the ever changing world of financial aid, training is very important.  I am not convinced there isn’t a secret group at DOE that dreams up these changes year after year to keep us on our toes.  Just think of all the changes that DOE has implemented over the years… addition (and take away) of year round Pell, sequestration, no more subsidized loans for graduate students and PPY (can I get an Amen for that!) just to name a few.

 

In the name of training, I have complied a list of training opportunities for you to consider (some of these do have membership requirements)

  • RMASFAA Summer Institute. Spend a week learning the ins and outs of financial aid.  There are different tracks depending on your level of experience.  Class size is kept small and taught by two faculty who are well established in financial aid. You will work through sixteen different topics using the NASFAA University curriculum.
  • NASFAA University curriculum. You can purchase for the different subject areas a la cart.  Complete the self study guides and take the certification exam at your own pace.
  • There are conferences at the National, Regional and State levels you can attend throughout the year.
  • Webinars are offered through Department of Education and NASFAA.

 

Are you excited for training, but need something a little more budget friendly, like free?  Don’t worry, you have plenty of options that fall into that category as well!

  • Reading IFAP Handbook is a lot like curling up with your favorite financial aid book on a rainy day.  Break that bad boy out and read up on everything you would want to know about financial aid!
  • FSA Training. You can view all their archived materials. Just keep in mind the information was current at the time of posting and (of course) things might have changed.
  • Dear Colleague Letters. These are also archived for your enjoyment.  You can also find announcements made by FSA.
  • Federal Student Aid also has FSA Coach. You can chose your level of training from Basic to Intermediate to Advance.
  • Self-Assessment Guides from FSA are also a great tool.

 

Now that you are all excited about financial aid training, get out there and get started.  Do something each month, even each week, to keep up to date on the changes that are happening.  Telling your auditor “I didn’t know that” is not going to get you out of trouble.