Federal Student Aid issued three important communications at the end of January 2022 that we wanted to bring to your attention.
On January 20, 2022 in its Dear Colleague letter, FSA informed institutions of their ability to use information provided in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to inform students of eligibility for a number of new federal benefits – most of which were created by the American Rescue Plan. Since the qualifying data for most of these programs is data reported in the FAFSA and there’s also an email address, financial aid administrators are in a good position to conduct outreach to ensure students are taking advantage of all the programs for which they may qualify. However, there is no requirement for aid administrators to do so.
In a January 21, 2022 Electronic Announcement, FSA confirmed that beginning with the 2022-2023 academic year, the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement process – a process which required both student and parent borrowers to confirm that they viewed their current outstanding loan balances before new loans could be originated – will no longer be required. The process will continue to be available on StudentAid.gov but disbursement records will not be rejected if the process is not completed.
Finally, in a January 26, 2022 Electronic Announcement, FSA alerted the community of delays with the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system in verifying the eligibility of aid applicants reporting to be eligible noncitizens. Administrators are asked to wait for a response from the system before completing “Resend Record to Matches” in FAA Access to CPS Online. If the response is “Resubmit Doc,” submit the student’s documentation for third step verification. Expect response times to be longer than the normal three to five business days. For more information about using the SAVE system and noncitizen eligibility for federal aid visit FSA’s Knowledge Center.
The regulatory experts at the Higher Education Assistance Group are here to help you navigate these changes and more! Contact us at info@HEAG.us if we can help.