Posted Date: September 27, 2013

Author:  James W. Runcie, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Potential Government Closure - Federal Student Aid Processing and Customer Service Guidance

In the event of a closure of the federal government (more commonly referred to as a shutdown or furlough), there will be minimal impact on schools, lenders, and guaranty agencies and their ability to administer the Title IV Programs. While our federal offices would be closed during a federal government closure, the majority of our Title IV processors, contact centers, and Web sites will remain operational. In this announcement, we provide operational guidance about Federal Student Aid's communications, customer service contact centers, processing systems, and training events should a federal government shutdown occur.

If a federal government shutdown occurs, we will operate as follows:

Communications

We will provide updated information related to the shutdown on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site, as feasible. We will not post routine guidance. Please monitor the IFAP Web site for further information, particularly following the reopening of the federal government.

Customer Service Contact Centers

Most of our customer service contact centers will remain open. For complete information regarding the operational status of the various customer service contact centers, refer to the attachment to this announcement titled "Operational Status of Customer Service Contact Centers During Federal Government Closure."

Note: The new Reach FSA voice-activated phone number (1-855-FSA-4-FAA or 1-855-372-4322) will remain operational.

Processing Systems

Campus-Based Program Processing

The eCampus-Based (eCB) Web site will remain operational in the event of a shutdown and institutions will be able to submit the Fiscal Operations Report for 2012-2013 and the Application to Participate for 2014-2015 (FISAP). In the event of a shutdown, however, we will extend the October 1, 2013, filing deadline for the FISAP due to the closure of the Campus-Based Call Center. The closure of the Campus-Based Call Center is noted in the attachment to this announcement.

Central Processing System (CPS)

FAFSA on the Web, the Federal Student Aid PIN Web site, and FAFSA4caster will be fully operational for students and parents. FAA Access to CPS Online (including the ISIR Analysis Tool and R2T4 on the Web) and the CPS Web Applications Demo System will be available to schools. CPS will accept data from schools and applicants and will process Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) and Student Aid Reports (SARs).

Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System

The COD System will continue to process Direct Loan promissory notes and will accept and process data from schools and send back responses/acknowledgments. Schools will be able to receive federal funds (see G5 information below).

The COD Web site, StudentLoans.gov Web site, and the TEACH Grant Web site will remain operational.

Direct Loan Consolidation System

We will continue processing consolidation applications, and the Direct Consolidation Loans Web site will remain operational.

Electronic Application for Approval to Participate in Federal Student Financial Aid Programs (E-App)

The E-App Web site will remain operational.

Electronic Cohort Default Rate Appeals (eCDR Appeals)

The eCDR Appeals Web site will remain operational.

Federal Student Loan Servicing and Debt Collection Systems

All federal student loan servicing and debt collection systems and related Web sites will remain operational.

G5

The G5 Web site will remain operational, and schools will be able to draw down funds.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

The NSLDS Student Access Web site will be available to students and NSLDS Professional Access will be available to all authorized users. NSLDS users will be able to request and receive both automated and on-demand reports. Data providers will be able to submit information to NSLDS.

Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG)

The SAIG Enrollment Web site and the SAIG Mailbox Portal will be operational. Schools will be able to send and receive data using their SAIG mailbox.

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge Processing

The Nelnet Total and Permanent Disability Servicer will process TPD applications, assignments, and referrals.

School Eligibility, Oversight and Monitoring

Schools can continue to submit eligibility actions using ED's Web site http://www.eligcert.ed.gov.

Compliance audits and financial statements can be submitted through ED's Web site: http://www.ezaudit.ed.gov. All other inquiries can be sent to:

Any program reviews scheduled during a shutdown will be rescheduled.

Lender/Guaranty Agency Processing Functions

FFEL Program lenders and guaranty agencies should maintain all operational activities, including the filing of claims and their review and payment. Federal Student Aid will accept for processing the Lender’s Interest and Special Allowance Request and Report (ED Form 799/LaRS). Guaranty Agencies will be able to submit the Guaranty Agency Financial Report (Form 2000) but they will not be reviewed for further processing.

Training Events

Any webinar or training workshop scheduled during the shutdown will be cancelled, including any Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration training workshop that is scheduled during that time. We will notify affected participants through our registration system. Following the reopening of the federal government, we will provide information about rescheduled sessions through Training Announcements posted on the IFAP Web site.

Federal Student Aid staff will not be able to attend state and regional conferences in the event of a shutdown. Every effort will be made to contact the conference chair to inform them of the situation.

Contact Information

If a federal government shutdown does occur and you need assistance, contact the appropriate customer service contact center. As explained above, most of our contact centers will be open during a shutdown. Otherwise, we will be ready to serve you upon the federal government’s reopening.

Attachments/Enclosures:

Operational Status of Customer Service Contact Centers During Federal Government Closure in PDF Format, 40KB, 2 Pages

   

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