University Business - September 2011 - (Page 22)

FINANCIAL AID Communication with departments across campus a key to success Overcoming the Top Student Aid Compliance Issues By Kenneth McGhee OMPLYING WITH THE growing and increasingly complex Title IV federal student aid regulations is an ongoing challenge for every campus that administers federal student aid. Performing a word count of student aid regulations in 2000 and 2010 reveals a 40 percent increase over that decade. A recent survey of financial aid administrators shows that increasing regulatory and compliance requirements are causing resource shortages in many financial aid offices. e National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators sees these challenges first-hand through its Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program, which provides peer reviews of financial aid offices to assess strengths and weaknesses and recommend ways to improve overall operations. rough SOE, experienced aid administrators review aspects of a financial aid office’s operations to identify possible compliance issues. ese reviews have shown that four compliance issues regularly present challenges: • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) • Verification • Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) • Administrative Capability Maintaining compliance in these areas can be tricky because it requires ongoing communication and coordination between the financial aid office and the upper administration, including admissions, student billing, academic affairs, and registrar offices. ese offices must know what financial aid regulations depend on their policies and procedures and the financial aid office must keep up to 22 | September 2011 C Of ces such as admissions, billing, and the registrar must know what nancial aid regulations depend on their policies. date with their policies and procedures to ensure compliance. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education recently implemented changes to financial aid regulations that went into effect July 1. Administrators in every department on campus must be aware of how their policies and procedures may impact financial aid administration and compliance. SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS Federal regulations require higher ed institutions to establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor students’ progress towards completion of a certificate or degree program. SAP is used to define successful completion of coursework—a requirement students must meet to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Significant communication and coordination between the financial aid office and academic affairs is needed to fulfill the SAP requirements, since satisfactory standards for academic progress don’t always line up perfectly with financial aid SAP standards. e financial aid office must understand and monitor academic standards to ensure they’re in sync with SAP calculations. Academic affairs needs to make sure it is accurately capturing each student’s progress in a way that is useful to the financial aid office. ose setting academic progress policies and procedures in the academic affairs office should also be aware of the SAP regulations to ensure the financial aid office can determine eligibility. New SAP regulations became effective on July 1. ese regulations impose new limits on how long a student can continue to receive Title IV student aid to make up SAP deficiencies and distinguish between warning periods (when the school’s policy can allow a student to continue to receive Title IV aid automatically), and probationary periods (when the student can continue to receive Title IV aid only as the result of a successful appeal). Only schools that assess SAP at the end of every payment period can apply warning periods. Schools that assess SAP less frequently must require a successful appeal to let any student continue to receive Title IV aid despite failing SAP standards. is could impact counseling for students struggling to meet SAP requirements. Academic affairs must also notify Kenneth McGhee is the program coordinator for NASFAA’s Standards of Excellence Review Program.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - September 2011

University Business - September 2011
Editor's Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Financial Aid
Money Matters
Internet Technology
Shared Governance
Acknowledging Achievement
Looking Back
Spotlight on Procurement
EduComm 2011
End Note

University Business - September 2011