Policies & Procedures Manual: Keeping up to Date with Changes

Melissa Maichle California, Community Colleges, Compliance, Federal Student Aid Programs, Fiduciary Responsibilities, FL, General Issues in Financial Aid, MA, NY, PA

Have you conducted an annual review of your school’s financial aid policies and procedures manual yet this year? With the recent changes in FASFA filing dates, year-round Pell and potential changes to gainful employment and a host of other pending laws and regulations affecting financial aid and the administering of Title IV funds, it may seem like your manual is constantly out of date.

Keeping It Updated Will…

Save Time

With so many other pressing demands on financial aid administrators’ time, it is easy to push updating the policies and procedures manual to the bottom of the to do list. While federal regulations mandate that institutions have written policies and procedures, a manual should be a go to resource for your financial aid staff and training tool for new department members. Keeping it up to date may actually save you time from repeatedly answering questions with answers that can be found in the manual.

Improve Compliance

Administering financial aid consistently and systematically can help reduce errors and improve compliance. In our compliance work with colleges, the top three violations we find are repeat findings, student authorizations and FERPA violations. The procedures outlined in a manual can help ensure that all financial aid staff members are administering financial aid consistently and improve compliance.

Sharing the financial aid policies and procedures manual with other departments and individuals at the college and providing training can also help improve compliance. When a professor understands their role in Satisfactory Academic Progress and student financial aid, especially with non-standard and non-term programs, you can work together to ensure compliance with Title IV.

Streamline Operations

Updating your policies and procedures manual will help your financial aid professionals identify how changing regulations will affect your operations. It can help to identify opportunities to streamline procedures with changes to staffing, use of technology and interaction with students and families.

Additionally, maintaining an updated policies and producers manual for your financial aid office will also streamline future audits and program reviews.

HEAG’s team of financial aid consultants can offer an objective assessment of your office operations, policies and procedures. Our compliance experts work with colleges and universities throughout the country. We are up to date on changing regulations, current technology and trends in student services. We can work with your financial aid office to update your policies and procedures manual as well as provide training programs. Contact Colleen King for more information: cking@heag.us or 617-928-1975.