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2016 Session Descriptions

**Subject to change.

Click here to download an easily printable Word doc of all sessions or the 2016 Agenda spreadsheet

General Sessions



GS1. Welcome & Federal Update
Senior officials from the Department of Education will present information and updates about the Department's Title IV activities and initiatives, including information about the Department's regulatory efforts.

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GS2. Verification and 2017-18 Conflicting Information, Identification, and Resolution
This session will include a discussion of the verification requirements for the 2017-18 FAFSA cycle and details on the institutional resolution of conflicting information between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSAs.

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GS3. FAFSA®, Central Processing System, and FSA ID Updates
This session will provide an overview of recently implemented changes to the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Central Processing System (CPS), as well as preliminary findings regarding application volumes and trends. Planned enhancements to the FAFSA and CPS for 2018-19 will also be discussed. Planned changes to the FSA ID, for 2017, will also be discussed.

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Breakout Sessions



1. Welcome to Your First FSA Training Conference
Are you new to the FSA Training Conference? This session will help you get the most out of the conference by showing you how to navigate the four-day agenda and how to determine which sessions will best meet your needs. You will also learn who attends the conference, what services are available, and get answers to your conference-related questions.

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2. Campus-Based Program Update
This session will discuss the overall operations of the Campus-Based Programs. The session will discuss FISAP completion, Cash Management, the non-federal institutional matching requirements and their waivers, and information related to the funding worksheet and institutional annual authorizations.

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3. Administering Adds, Drops, and Withdrawals
This session will address the activities a financial aid administrator must perform when a student adds or drops courses as well as when a student withdraws (excluding R2T4 calculation). Discussion and case scenarios will be provided concerning recalculation rules and census dates in various situations as students add and drop courses. This session will also provide an in-depth explanation concerning student withdrawals on such topics as school attendance, official and unofficial withdrawals, determining the date of withdrawal, and reporting deadlines.

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4. Basics of Determining Academic Calendars (Standard, Non-Standard, and Non-Term)
This session will explain how different types of academic calendars affect the administration of Title IV aid. Guidance will be provided on how to determine whether a program is structured as standard term, non-standard term, or non-term and how each calendar structure determines what Pell formula is required and how academic years are defined for Direct Loans.

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5. Title IV Reconciliation Tools & Tips
This session will focus on reconciliation of the Title IV programs: Pell Grants, IASG, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, and Campus-Based programs. You will learn the action needed to ensure that your school's internal records (both the financial aid and business office) are consistent with FSA systems, as required by regulations. We will cover tips and tools to assist you with your routine reconciliation and end of year processing and closeout as well, as some new items to add to your reconciliation toolbox. This session is intended for both financial aid and business office personnel.

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6. Federal Perkins Loans Program Update
This session will provide an update on important details related to the Federal Perkins Loan Program and will provide a high level overview of the steps an institution must take when assigning its Perkins Loans to the Department of Education. There will also be a summary of the liquidation process that institutions must use when they want to end their participation in the Federal Perkins Loan Program.

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7. Administering Title IV Aid for Transfer Students
Session Description: This session will address various issues that arise when administering federal student aid for transfer students. Discussions will cover transfer monitoring and demonstrate how to correctly award and disburse both Pell Grants and Direct Loans in standard term credit-hour, clock-hour, and non-term credit hour programs. Additionally, we will provide example scenarios about what to do when a transfer student withdraws during overlapping payment periods for Pell Grants and Direct Loans.

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8. National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) Update
In this session, we will recap the changes made to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) websites and reports for schools in 2016. This will include a high-level review of updates made to support Loan Data, Student Eligibility, Gainful Employment (GE), Cohort Default Rates, and other NSLDS functionality. We will also present upcoming enhancements planned for 2017.

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9. NSLDS® Enrollment Reporting
Over the past few years, significant changes were made to the way schools report enrollment to the Department. NSLDS has begun tracking Enrollment Reporting Statistics so that schools can see how they're doing with reporting enrollment data, specifically at the Program Level. This session will discuss new tools NSLDS has implemented which institutions can use to improve their Enrollment Reporting Statistics, common errors and how to prevent them, and what's ahead in the year to come.

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10. Hands-On NSLDS®
This session will introduce you to the basic functionality of the NSLDS Professional Access website and will provide an overview of the website's features, including loan and grant history, enrollment reporting, transfer monitoring, and reports.
Note: This room is set with 120 seats in front of laptops and another120 seats behind to observe.

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11. Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System Update
This session will provide an overview of recent modifications to the COD system for the 2016-17 processing cycle. It will also include information about anticipated system enhancements and modifications for the upcoming 2017-18 award year.

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12. Hands-On COD
This session will provide hands-on experience in resolving frequent school processing issues and will introduce you to several new COD enhancements for the 2016-17 award years. Bring your FSA user ID, password, and token, and we will practice together using your school information.
NOTE: To maintain the privacy of student information, if you share a computer with a colleague that is not from your school, you will be using the COD computer-based training to practice, instead of working with your school data.
Note: This room is set with 120 seats in front of laptops and another 120 seats behind to observe.

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13. Default Prevention
This session will help schools understand the mechanics of creating an effective and robust default prevention plan using available NSLDS reporting tools. A good default prevention plan outlines a comprehensive vision of how to approach default while fostering a campus culture that champions the student borrower. To jumpstart plan development, schools should closely review their NSLDS School Portfolio and Delinquent Borrower Reports. Our session will discuss, in detail, the reporting options before a discussion about plan development.

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14. Servicing Update
This session will provide insight to FSA's servicing portfolio and discuss improvements made to the repayment process. We will provide information on our servicing oversight activities and discuss the changes we have made in servicing communications and borrower feedback.

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15. 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit
The session will outline institutional requirements for reporting to both the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system and to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS); and it will address how the Department will monitor and enforce the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan limit requirement. Information on the new 150% edits implemented in October will also be discussed. This session will also include suggestions on ways schools can inform and warn students who are approaching the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan borrowing limit.

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16. Borrower Defense to Repayment Final Regulations
The Department's new Borrower Defense to Repayment final regulations will be effective on July 1, 2017. This session will include an overview of the regulations, focusing on the new Federal standard for determining whether a borrower has a defense to repayment and the participation of borrowers and institutions in the individual and group claims processes. Additionally, we will discuss the related changes to institutional financial responsibility regulations and new disclosure requirements.

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17. TEACH Grant Policy and Operations
Have you considered offering the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant at your institution? Did you know that the TEACH Grant Program will provide grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who agree to teach for four years at an elementary or secondary school, or at an educational service agency that assists students from low-income families? This session will address understanding the mechanics of administering the TEACH Grant Program, including institutional and student eligibility, awarding funds, counseling requirements, and the grant-tracking process.

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18. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Policy and Operations
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was enacted in 2007 to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. This session will include a program overview, eligibility requirements, available resources schools can use to spread awareness about the program, and information about how qualifying payments are tracked.

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19. Third-Party Servicers
This session will review the guidance provided to institutions that contract with third-party servicers to administer aspects of an institution's participation in the Title IV programs. We will explore the definition of a third-party servicer, the responsibilities of an institution in working with a third-party servicer, and reporting requirements related to third-party servicers. This session will also cover the most recent guidance provided by the Department related to third-party servicers.

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20. Cash Management Regulations Overview
This session will provide guidance on the final regulations that changed the requirements for institutions that partner with banks and servicers to offer debit cards, prepaid cards, student IDs with financial account capabilities, and similar products. We will provide an overview about why these regulatory changes were necessary and will explain, in detail, the new requirements for institutions including: the limitations on fees that can be charged to students, disclosure requirements, and limitations on sharing private student information. We will also provide information about other changes made in the final regulations, including confirming students' eligibility, paying credit balances before seeking reimbursement from the Department, and including the cost of books and supplies in tuition among other topics.

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21. How Modules Can Affect Title IV
Any course in a program that does not span the entire length of a payment period or a period of enrollment is considered to be a module. This session will explain how to administer Title IV aid when your standard term academic calendar contains modules. Modules may be included exclusively or in conjunction with full-term courses, year-round, or only during a summer term. All of these scenarios will be discussed. Other sessions will cover R2T4. This session will not.

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22. Understanding Federal Aid Policy and Practice for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
Unaccompanied homeless youth face the challenges of higher education on their own, without basic needs such as food and housing. Many also struggle with histories of abuse, neglect, or poverty. This session will explore the unique needs of this population and offer ways to implement financial aid policies and practices on their behalf. The session will also provide information about the education and human service professionals with whom financial aid administrators can collaborate to help these students navigate the postsecondary education system.

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23. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
At least once per year, institutions must assess whether students are making SAP. This session will offer instruction on how to evaluate SAP in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. It will also include an explanation of key concepts such as qualitative and quantitative assessments, pace of completion, and maximum time frame, as well as warning and probation periods, appeals, and academic plans. In addition, the session will cover the elements that a school is required to include in its SAP policy.

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24. Resolving Citizen and Eligible Noncitizen Issues
A student has to be a citizen or eligible noncitizen to receive federal student aid. This session will describe how the student's FAFSA information is matched with other agencies to determine citizenship status. We will also describe immigration documents that you may have to collect to verify that the student meets citizenship requirements.

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25. Gainful Employment (GE) Update
This session will provide an overview of the Gainful Employment (GE) regulations that became effective July 1, 2015 including information on the about to be released debt-to-earnings rates.

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26. Gainful Employment (GE) Disclosures
Session Description: This session will include information on the new Gainful Employment (GE) disclosure requirements that schools must comply with no later than January 31, 2017.

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27.Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans/Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans can provide critical relief for federal student loan borrowers. This session will provide an overview of the Department's income-driven repayment plans, including borrower eligibility criteria.

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28. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
In this session, you will learn more about the IRS processes for requesting tax return transcripts, which are required for some applicants (and parents) for verification. There will be time during the session reserved for questions.

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29. R2T4 and Credit-Hour Programs
Return of Title IV (R2T4) funds is an important process on your campus. This session will focus on R2T4 provisions for students enrolled in credit-hour programs, including instances where the payment period includes modules. There will be time during the session reserved for questions.

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30. R2T4 and Clock-Hour Programs
Return of Title IV (R2T4) funds is an important process on your campus. This session will focus on R2T4 provisions for students enrolled in clock-hour programs. There will be time during the session reserved for questions.

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31. Open Forum
This question-and-answer session will give financial aid administrators an opportunity to ask questions and offer comments and suggestions to Department of Education senior staff.

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32. FSA's Integrated Partner Management (IPM) Solution
In this session, you will be guided through a preview of the IPM Solution. IPM will modernize FSA's oversight and monitoring activities for schools (domestic and foreign), lenders, guaranty agencies, and third-party servicers participating in Title IV financial aid programs. Oversight functions include compliance audits and financial statements, program reviews, initial eligibility and recertification, and method of payment. Today, partners interact with Program Compliance through multiple systems (E-App, eZ-audit) and various types of correspondence. IPM will streamline and integrate decentralized processes, provide access to more data, and personalize the overall user experience by using robust technology to display content based on the user and task.

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33. Program Review Essentials and the Top 10 Compliance Findings
Would you like to learn about the program review process and the most common compliance findings? We will conduct a walk-through of the program review process, highlighting the areas with the current "Top 10 Program Review and Audit Findings." Learn what you can do to improve your school's program administration and to remain in compliance.

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34. Maintaining Your Institutional Eligibility
This session will cover what FAAs need to know about maintaining their school's eligibility and will include information about recertification and other changes that could impact a school's eligibility to participate in the Title IV programs. The session will cover what information a school needs to submit for different types of eligibility applications and what events trigger the need to submit an application. Presenters will explain when and how schools should report changes to maintain eligibility.

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35. How to Detect and Deter Federal Financial Aid Fraud
Special agents from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) will discuss the OIG's mission to combat fraud and abuse in federal student aid programs and what you can do to help safeguard those programs for your neediest students. Special agents will illustrate complex and common fraud schemes, brief you on indicators that can help you detect internal and external fraud, discuss the criminal and civil remedies sought by the OIG, and how you can report potential fraud to the OIG. The Special agents will clarify what actions are taken by OIG as it pertains to fraud. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to ask questions to the Special agents that investigate student aid fraud schemes.

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36. Foreign Schools: Orientation to the FSA Training Conference
Members of the Foreign Schools Team will provide an overview of the Department of Education, the role of Federal Student Aid, and the various offices within FSA. Brief information will be provided on all the foreign school track sessions, and there will be recommendations on which sessions foreign school representatives should attend to complement the sessions offered during the foreign school track.

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37. Foreign Schools: Navigating IFAP and Completing the Electronic Application
This presentation will demonstrate how to navigate the Foreign Schools Information page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website as well as other published information on IFAP that will assist foreign schools in successfully administering the Title IV programs. In addition, there will be an in-depth discussion of how to correctly complete and submit an E-App for recertification or for a required update. There will be a discussion of the types of supporting documents a foreign school must submit with the E-App, and why a foreign school may be asked to submit additional documentation or provide clarification on previously submitted information.

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38. Foreign Schools: Student Eligibility, SAP, and R2T4
This session will discuss the student eligibility criteria and requirements and institution must follow to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid. Information will be provided on determining a student's enrollment status, completing verification, and resolving conflicting information. In addition, there will be an in depth discussion of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements and Return of Title IV Aid (R2T4).

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39. Foreign Schools: Direct Loans and the COD System
The Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System is integral to processing Direct Loan awards for U.S. students. This session will highlight originating Direct Loan awards with the Direct Loan Origination Tool; using the online COD Reporting website; tracking accepted and rejected batch data; and generating reports.

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40. Foreign Schools: Awarding Direct Loans
This session will cover the key concepts vital to awarding Direct Loans. The essentials in awarding loans such as academic year requirements, loan periods, loan limits, Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan requirements, proration, and the 150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit will be discussed in detail.

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41. Foreign Schools: Cost of Attendance
This session will provide information on the costs that can and cannot be included in a student's cost of attendance. There will be suggestions on how to establish general costs for all students such as accommodation and transportation. Fluctuating currencies and the impact on the cost of attendance will also be covered. In addition, there will be information on cost of attendance for periods of other than nine months.

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42. Foreign Schools: Professional Judgement
The Higher Education Act grants financial aid administrators the ability to make certain exceptions affecting a student's eligibility for federal student aid. Using these exceptions is known as performing professional judgement. This session will discuss the various types of professional judgement options most applicable to Foreign Schools. The options will include the use of dependency overrides, adjusting cost of attendance, adjusting Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula components, denying or reducing a Federal Direct Loan, and how to deal with a parent who, both refuses to complete a FAFSA and refuses to support a dependent student.

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43. Foreign Schools: Cash Management Overview and Q&A on Citizen and Eligible Noncitizen
This is a special session for foreign schools about the new cash management regulations with a dedicated Q&A to address citizenship and eligible noncitizen issues. ED staff will provide guidance about the new cash management regulations that have been in effect since July 1, 2016 and how they relate to foreign schools. Topics will include: how a foreign school may request funds; maintaining and accounting for funds; the disbursement of funds; confirming eligibility before disbursement; and new books and supplies provisions. We will also answer any questions on citizenship and eligible noncitizen issues as they relate to foreign schools. Note that there are other dedicated sessions relating to cash management and resolving citizen and eligible noncitizen issues.

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44. Foreign Schools: Title IV Reconciliation
This session will focus on the reconciliation of the Direct Loan program. You will learn the actions that your school needs to take in order for the monthly internal records to be consistent with FSA systems, as required by regulation. The session will cover end-of-year processing and closeout for the Direct Loan program. Information will also be provided on the COD and G5 reports to help reconcile a school's student account ledger.

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45. Foreign Schools: Foreign School Potpourri
This session will include an assortment of important participation requirements, including distance education, letters of credit, post-withdrawal disbursements, timing requirements when returning excess cash, credit balance refunds, and return of funds. The session will also discuss required disclosures and reporting requirements, ineligible courses, arrangements with ineligible entities to provide a portion of the institution's programs, and the limited exception that permits study in the U.S.

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46. Foreign Schools: Internships/Externships and Written Arrangements
This session will discuss the required oversight of internships and externships offered at foreign schools, as well as the written arrangement requirements, and detailed information on the two types of written arrangements.

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47. Foreign Schools: Update and Q&A
This session will provide an opportunity for foreign school participants to ask questions of Departmental policy and operations staff.

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48. What FAAs need to know about Cybersecurity Initiatives, Data Protection, and Identity Theft
This session is ideal for FAAs and IT managers and will provide information about how to protect your school's student information. The session will provide a brief overview of some of the recent Federal IT security initiatives and how they impact the Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, and institutions. There will also be an overview of best practices for managing information and information systems to protect data, prevent identity theft, and provide security for students and their information.

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49. Complying with the Clery Act
Is your school ready for the new campus safety and crime prevention rules? This session will provide a clear explanation of the crime awareness and drug and alcohol abuse prevention requirements that apply to all schools that participate in FSA programs, including new provisions added under the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Learn how to avoid common mistakes, and walk away with steps you can take to improve compliance at your school.

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50. Federal Student Aid Feedback System
The President's Student Aid Bill of Rights, announced in 2015, directed the Department of Education to "create a responsive student feedback system" for customers of federal student aid programs. On July 1, the FSA Feedback System became operational, enabling customers to provide feedback to the Department related to their student aid experience and to receive clear resolutions faster and easier than ever before.

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51. Listening and Learning about Early FAFSA® and Prior-Prior Year
Due to the success of last year's Stand Ready! FAFSA® Early Submission is Coming session, Federal Student Aid invites you to once again let us know your thoughts regarding the recent changes to the implementation date of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the switch from using prior year tax information to prior-prior year tax information in the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) calculation. This year, we would like to hear what you've learned as you've planned for the changes at your institution, and hear your thoughts about potential future changes. For example, should the Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) and Student Aid Report (SAR) continue to provide schools and students with detailed information from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and should the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System consider making any specific changes in response to the earlier availability of the FAFSA?

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52. Financial Literacy: Small Investment - Big Return
This session will explore ways to help students learn to better manage their finances in college. Attendees will learn about free resources geared toward helping students make good choices about borrowing for college and learn basic money management skills. Campus programming designed to grab students' attention and promote financial education will also be discussed. All resources shared in this session can be implemented on a shoestring budget.

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53. Serving Those Who Serve: Meeting the Needs of Military Students
Would you like to learn more about military students participating in higher education? This session will provide an overview of the Department of Defense (DoD) education benefits to include the Tuition Assistance program and Troops to Teachers. We will explore the financial aid needs of military students and discuss DoD initiatives and tools that empower informed service member decision-making when considering the financial cost of attendance at an institution.

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54. Integrating Information on Public Benefits in Higher Education
The Department of Education is participating in a government-wide initiative to provide low-income students and families with information about the wide variety of federal public assistance programs for which they may be eligible. We invite you to this session to discuss how information on public benefits is being integrated into campus services and financial aid in order to assist students with program completion.

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55. Using Student Aid Data for Program Evaluation and Research: Legal Requirements and Best Practices
Institutions of higher education and State higher education governing boards are increasingly interested in using student aid information for program evaluation and research purposes. This session will examine the laws governing the privacy and confidentiality of various types of student aid data, including the Higher Education Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Attendees will learn which laws and restrictions cover which types of student aid data, along with best practices for protecting student privacy when using financial aid data for program evaluation and research. The presenters will also highlight existing and forthcoming guidance and technical assistance resources on privacy and security from the Department's Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).

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Birds of a Feather Networking Sessions

BOF1. Bursars and Business Officers
In this session, bursars and other school staff will meet to discuss issues important to their business offices, including the cash management rules and Title IV financial responsibility standards.

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BOF2. Experimental Sites Initiative - Dual Enrollment and Second Chance Pell - Pell Grants for Incarcerated Students
In this session, schools selected for participation in the Dual Enrollment and Second Chance Pell experiments will have the opportunity to share with institutional colleagues best practices, challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and exchange ideas related to these experiments. These experiments are not currently accepting additional schools for participation but conference attendees interested in learning more about these experiments may attend.

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BOF3. Experimental Sites Initiative: Competency Based Education, Prior Learning Assessment, Limited Direct Assessment, and EQUIP
In this session, schools selected for participation in the Competency-Based Education (CBE), Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Limited Direct Assessment (LDA), or Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) experiments will have the opportunity to share with institutional colleagues best practices, challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and exchange ideas related to these experiments. FSA staff will be in attendance to answer any implementation questions. These experiments are not currently accepting additional schools for participation, but conference attendees interested in learning more about these experiments may attend.

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BOF4. Minority-Serving Institutions: HBCUs and PBIs
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) will meet with FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSDs) staff. Participants will discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future MSURSD initiatives.

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BOF5. Minority-Serving Institutions: Tribal Colleges and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNHs)
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at Tribally-Controlled Colleges and Universities and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions will meet with FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSDs) staff. Participants will discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future MSURSD initiatives.

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BOF6. Minority-Serving Institutions: Hispanic-Serving and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)
In this session, financial aid stakeholders at Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions will meet with FSA's Minority-Serving and Under-Resourced Schools Division (MSURSDs) staff. Participants will discuss best practices, current challenges and opportunities, provide feedback, and make suggestions for future MSURSD initiatives.





BOF7. Community Colleges
In this session, community college financial aid professionals will meet to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.





BOF8. Graduate and Professional Schools
In this session, financial aid professionals from graduate institutions will meet to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.





BOF9. For-Profit Institutions
This session will provide for-profit financial aid professionals an opportunity to meet collectively to discuss best practices, current challenges, and opportunities.
































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