Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Save the Date - SASFAA 2016 Conference


WHO:             All individuals / all persons located within the SASFAA region and those doing business in the SASFAA region

WHAT:           SASFAA 2016 Annual Conference

WHEN:           February 7-10, 2016

WHERE:         Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons                   Driving Directions
                        3121 West Gate City Boulevard
                        Greensboro, NC 27407
                        phone 336.392.9161


Conference Registration:

-          $275.00 for active and associate members (as defined by the SASFAA bylaws)
-          $150.00 daily date

-          $150.00 for honorary and retired members (as defined by the SASFAA bylaws)
-          $100.00 daily rate

 Hotel Accommodations:

-          $137.00 per night (single and double rooms)
-          6.75% sales tax and 6% hotel/motel occupancy tax not included in rate
-     Reservations aren't available at the present time, but we will let you know when the block opens.

  • Default Prevention and Management
  • Award Notifications
  • SULA Requirements and Best Practices
  • Database Match Resolutions
  • FSA ID
  • Identity Theft and Fraud Awareness
  • NASFAA Peer Review: Standards of Excellence
  • National Student Loan Clearinghouse Enrollment Reporting
  • NCAA Update
  • Program Participation Agreement
  • Return of Title IV for credit hour programs
  • Return of Title IV for modular programs
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Undocumented Students and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth 
  • Enrollment Management: A bridge between financial aid and student enrollment decisions
  • Tuition Discounting
  • FAA Toolbox
  • Federal Methodology
  • From Application to Offer
  • Overaward? Is that a word?
  • Federal Tokens
  • Green Zone Training
  • Safe Zone Training
  • NASFAA's Commitment to Diversity
  • Flipping the Classroom
  • NASFAA Fed Loan Servicing Task-Force
  • PSLF
  • Lead Up, Down, All Around
  • 2016 Elections:  What They Mean to Higher Education?
  • Balancing your family, job, and career
  • Financial Aid Professional Career Track
  • Financial Aid:  Is it a Job or a Career?
  • Leading and Managing:  What's Appropriate?
  • Recognizing the Difference Between Impact and Intent:  Does Your Customer Service Measure Up?
  • The Value of Volunteerism
  • Birds of a Feather sessions
  • PPY
  • The Compliance Balancing Act:  NCAA & Title IV Aid
  • On-Line Consolidation Process
  • Veterans Administration
  • 2016-17 COD Updates
  • Consumer Information
  • Direct Loan Adjustments
  • DL and Pell Grant Reconciliation
  • Gainful Employment
  • PLUS Loans
  • Program Review Essentials and Top 10 Compliance Findings
  • Verification 2016-2017
  • Federal Update
  • Student Loans:  Crisis or Media
Join our SASFAA Conference event on Facebook to keep up with the latest information.  Stay tuned for more details as the Conference Committee continues its work to make this conference an excellent training event for our members.  We look forward to seeing you in Greensboro, NC in February.

Chair, SASFAA Conference Committee

Monday, August 10, 2015

Positive Outcomes for Grace Period Borrowers: A Call to Action

Submitted by: Shannon Cross, USA Funds Account Executive

There’s an ancient proverb that says the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Educating your borrowers during their student loan grace period is the step that starts their repayment journey off on the right foot.

What’s the grace period?
Most borrowers of subsidized and unsubsidized loans qualify for a grace period of six months after their last date of at-least-half-time enrollment. During grace period the borrower does not have to make any payments, and certain borrowers who qualify for an interest subsidy won’t accrue any interest during this time either.
The day after grace period ends, the borrower officially begins repayment. Typically, unless the borrower qualifies for a deferment, the first loan payment is due within 60 days of beginning repayment.
The grace period is available only once for each loan. If a borrower uses the entire grace period on a loan and then returns to school at least half time, for example, then that student will not qualify for any further grace period when leaving school again — and immediately will enter repayment. Note, however, that if a student uses only a portion of the grace period before returning to school at least half time, then that student once again will qualify for the entire grace period upon leaving school again.

Why reach out during grace?
Here are some other reasons why grace period is a perfect time to reach out to borrowers:
·         When students leave school, they’re done with their studies and other distractions of college life and can focus better on the student loan repayment that’s about to begin.
·         The longer borrowers are out of school, the more difficult they are to contact for counseling. Over time they move, and they change their email addresses and phone numbers.
·         The loans of borrowers in their grace period are still in good standing, so those borrowers are less likely to want to avoid communicating with you. You’re more likely to have their focus, their trust and their attention.

How do you create positive outcomes?
Here are some ways to capitalize on borrowers’ grace period to prepare them for successful student loan repayment:

Educate your students about repayment plans early and often. As you think about counseling on repayment plans, consider all the options you have for connecting with students about the issue — especially during their grace period.

·         Develop a strategy for grace period communication. Take a close look at your current approach. When should you reach out, and how often? What’s the most effective way to reach your school’s students: phone calls, letters or emails? The best strategy varies according to student population.

·         Provide multiple opportunities for updating contact information. You can’t help borrowers if you can’t find them. So identify how and where student contact information is stored and maintained. Consider how you’ll update your borrowers’ contact information over time.

·         Ask helpful questions when counseling grace borrowers. Borrowers typically respond to a variety of questions to help determine which repayment plan will work best for them. Adopt this approach at your school, focusing on questions that get borrowers to think through what they already know and what they need to learn.

·         Consider outsourcing borrower communication. If you’re wondering how and when you can possibly fit all of these ideas and strategies into your already busy day, then consider partnering with an outside organization on communication with grace period borrowers.

For additional information and best practices for contacting and counseling borrowers during grace periods, visit www.usafunds.org.

Help Students Make Wise Borrowing Choices at Key Decision Points

Submitted by: Shannon Cross, USA Funds Account Executive

Communicating with your student loan borrowers at key decision points is among the best ways to improve your cohort default rate. Here are some tips for helping students make wise choices about borrowing at four key decision-making points during the life cycle of a student:

Application and first 90 days
The start of students’ time at your institution is a critical time to begin sending messages about borrowing and managing student loan debt.
In activities such as new-student orientation and loan counseling, encourage minimal reliance on borrowing. This message will help students keep their overall debt levels low — and their monthly payments manageable in the future. Share information about average debt levels and repayment terms, so students make informed decisions about whether and how much they’ll borrow.
Rather than overwhelming new students with everything at once, provide targeted bits of education loan information at the specific times they’ll need those details at application and in the first 90 days.

In-school period
For some students, applying for federal education loans is their first experience with borrowing money. Financial education at this stage reinforces your earlier messages and helps students become educated consumers.
When counseling borrowers about their student loans, provide tips for minimizing debt and making wise financial decisions, and help them estimate future income and gauge their ability to repay their loans. Share information about student loan repayment options and how students can track what they owe.
More than 70 percent of students who default on federal education loans left school without earning a degree. So make it a campuswide priority to keep students in school to complete their degree work. Work with other academic and student services offices on campus to identify students with enrollment or loan repayment concerns — and address those issues.

Final year and program completion
Students nearing the end of their academic programs are at a point in which your influence sets the stage for successful repayment.
Federal regulations require schools to ensure that all students borrowing federal education loans receive exit counseling as they cease half-time enrollment. Counsel your borrowers regarding their student loan repayment options, so they can choose the plan that best fits their situation.
Work with your institution’s career placement office to ensure that borrowers identify and pursue jobs that are a good fit for their training — and that will help them repay their student loans.

Communication and support shouldn’t end when a student no longer is enrolled. Actually, it’s when the student has left school that this support is most important.
Now is the time when the relationship you’ve built with students through the previous decision points pays off. Borrowers may not recognize communications from lenders, servicers and guarantors, but they’re more likely to notice and respond to letters, emails and phone calls from the school they attended.
Reach out to borrowers early and follow up frequently about tools and resources — including many available online — to assist as they repay their loans.

For additional resources for counseling borrowers throughout the student lifecycle, visit www.usafunds.org.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 SASFAA Management Institute - Hot off the press!!!

Great news! The original 50 registrations available for the SASFAA Management Institute have been taken.  Due the popularity of this event, the committee made the decision to make another 25 registrations available--increasing the maximum capacity to 75.
Registration and all detailed information is found at http://www.sasfaa.org/managementinstitute2015.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to exceed 75 people, so if you are interested in attending, please register soon. Secure your spot today for this excellent training opportunity from SASFAA.


Monday, August 3, 2015

SASFAA Management Institute - Register today!

Making plans to attend SASFAA's 2015 Management Institute

Registration is open!!! Register, and find all of the detailed information here.