Academic Calendar Changes & Financial Aid Impact — Webinar Recap

Melissa Maichle .

On October 28, 2020, we held a webinar with higher education professionals around the country to discuss the impact on Academic Calendars in the new realities of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In case you missed our webinar, we’ve provided a review of the topics that were covered along with some of the results of polls we asked during the session.

HEAG consultant Dr. Samuel Chuks was the lead presenter and our VP of Compliance & Quality Assurance, Karyn Wright-Moore, joined Dr. Chuks to help answer attendee questions. Academic Calendars is a topic is discussed more often on the Registrar side than in the Financial Aid Office, so we shifted the conversation over to the Title IV gatekeepers, especially with what has happened during the pandemic and the adaptability all offices need to embrace.

The main topics examined included the types of Academic Calendars, the concepts that go into each, the flexibilities the Department of Education will allow schools to utilize, how these changes impact awarding and Satisfactory Academic Progress and, finally, the technological considerations each school must take into account when putting into motion any updates to Academic Calendars. To learn more about any of these areas, view our slides and listen to the webinar by following this link.

Click the image to view our recording

During the hour-long session, we asked questions of all of the colleges’ key players. Some of the answers may surprise you. For example, more than half of respondents indicated they are currently going through changes to their calendars or are still working on the details to do so, especially as the spring term draws closer. Also, when asked if a school had adequate IT resources on campus to tackle Academic Calendar changes, 43 percent indicated either “no” or “somewhat.” Clearly, there are still concerns campus-wide about the ability to perform this task competently within the Student Information Systems schools utilize. The best news is that 80 percent of respondents feel confident that their department alone can tackle any changes necessary to Academic Calendars. Flexibility is key in these uncertain times!
What did we learn?

Each school is learning new tasks as they go, and the Department of Education has provided enough leeway for many of the new realities related to the pandemic to ensure colleges will not be hit by a large number of compliance issues during future audits. It is imperative that aid professionals stay up-to-date on a weekly basis as new guidance is provided in the ever-changing landscape.

If you have any questions related to your own Academic Calendar changes and the challenges they present, HEAG is here to help. Please contact us at or 617.928.1975 to discuss your needs. We would be happy to assist you.