The U.S. Department of Education issued guidance to institutions that closed as a result of the California wildfires and power outages in the Fall of 2019 allowing flexibility in paying FWS wages to students who were unable to work due to the school being closed. In a recent electronic announcement from Federal Student Aid said that although the requirements at 34 CFR 675.16 (a)(5) consider FWS wages earned when a student performs the work, affected campuses can pay students wages if the campus closure prevented them from working as long as certain conditions are met.
First, your institution must have closed as a result of either the California wildfires, or the power outages associated with them. Affected students qualify if they received a FWS award for the award period during which the institution was temporarily closed due to the wildfires and related power outages, earned FWS wages from the institution for that award period, and have been prevented from fulfilling their FWS obligation for all or part of the FWS award period because of the temporary campus closure(s) due to wildfires and related power outages. Finally, institutions that choose to implement this flexibility must also meet their federal share requirements when paying these wages.
FSA is instructing institutions to maintain documentation for any future audit or program review if they decide to use this flexibility to pay FWS wages to affected students.
TENTATIVE 19-20 CAMPUS BASED FUNDING LEVELS RELEASED
Tentative 2019-2020 award year Funding Levels for Campus -Based FSA Programs were released on the Common Origination and Disbursement website today. For the 2019-2020 year, $1,130,000,000 in Federal Work-Study Program Funds and $840,000,000 in Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program funds have been appropriated. To see how much your school will receive for the upcoming award year, check out this electronic announcement from Federal Student Aid.
If your school participates in the Federal Perkins Loan Program you need to update your 2017-2018 FISAP. Beginning on October 26, 2018, all schools that participate in the Federal Perkins Loan Program must update their “Cash on hand and in depository” as of October 31, 2018. This information is reported on Part III, section A, Line 1.2 on the FISAP for 2017-18. This information must be submitted to the Department of Education by December 14, 2018.
REMINDER TO UPDATE PERKINS CASH ON HAND FOR 2017-2018 FISAP
To assist schools, FSA offers several tips:
- Remember to submit the updated FISAP – Simply validating and/or saving the new data entry does not result in submission to the Department. After updating and validating Line 1.2, it is imperative that schools complete the process by using the “Submit” button.
- Verify that changes/corrections have been received by the Department – Schools should log in to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Web Site, and from the School tab, select the link for Campus-Based. Once directed to Campus-Based, select “Self-Service” then “Submission Log” to view the log and verify submission of the update.
- Signature not required for FISAP changes – Currently, schools are not required to re-send signature pages when changes are made to a previously submitted FISAP.
The Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Education Relief Act of 2017 extended certain flexibilities to schools that may impact their information reported on 2017-18 Award Year activity on the Fiscal Operations Report. The Department of Education identified schools that were impacted by the 2017 hurricanes or had students enrolled who were impacted by the hurricanes and awarded 2017–18 supplemental Federal Work-Study (FWS) and/or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) funds to all identified schools.
Any unexpended 2017-18 supplemental FWS or FSEOG funding may be carried forward and spent in 2018-19. The maximum amount that may be carried forward is up to 100% of the supplemental award, OR up to 10% of the total (original plus supplemental) allocation for the program. Any amount carried forward must be reported on the FISAP.
If a school returns more than 10% of its 2017-18 total (original plus supplemental) FWS and/or FSEOG allocation, the school will not receive a penalty to its 2019-20 FWS or FSEOG allocations. A school does not have to take any action in Part II, Section C of the FISAP to apply for a waiver of the underuse of funds- the waiver will be granted automatically to impacted schools that received supplemental funding.
Schools that received supplemental funding were not required to provide an institutional match to their 2017-18 FWS or FSEOG allocations. If this is applicable to your school, report any amount of institutional share your school did provide accurately on the FISAP.
If a school encounters Edit Errors (including but not limited to 08030, 08090, and 09060) during the FISAP validation process because of this guidance, you will have the option to log an explanation for the edit citing your status as a school that received supplemental funding. However, you may proceed to submit the FISAP with or without explanation.
Earlier this year, schools with excess FSEOG or FWS funds deobligated their unexpended funds so that ED could reallocate them to institutions with a shortfall.
The Department of Education is getting ready to release 2018-2019 supplemental campus-based funds to eligible institutions for Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant Funds (FSEOG). Schools will be notified by email by the end of September 2018, if they received supplemental Campus-Based funds. This email is typically sent to the Financial Aid Administrator identified on the most recently submitted FISAP. Keep your eye out for an email and check your Statement of Account on the COD website on or after that date to see if your school was allocated these additional funds.