Posted Date: January 7, 2019

Author:  Federal Student Aid

Subject: Reminder - Deadline for 2019-20 Underuse Penalty Waiver for the Campus-Based Programs is February 4, 2019

In accordance with sections 413D(d)(2) and 442(d)(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended (HEA), if a school returns more than 10 percent of its Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) or Federal Work-Study (FWS) allocations in a given award year, the allocation for the second succeeding award year is reduced by the dollar amount returned unless the Secretary waives this provision. The deadline to request a waiver of the 2019–20 Award Year penalty of FWS and FSEOG for the underuse of 2017–18 Award Year funds is February 4, 2019. This deadline was announced in the “2018–2019 Award Year Deadline Dates for Campus-Based Programs,” published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2018 (83 FR 356).

A school can determine if it is subject to an underuse penalty by reviewing its most recent Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP) or Campus-Based Tentative Funding Worksheet for 2019–20 (see sections below). The school may submit an underuse penalty waiver request if the school is able to explain that the underuse was due to circumstances beyond its control and why those circumstances are not expected to recur.

The request and justification for the waiver of the underuse penalty must be submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time (ET) on February 4, 2019.

The transmission must be completed and accepted by 11:59 p.m. ET to meet the deadline. Paper waiver request submissions will not be accepted.

Note: Schools impacted by the 2017 hurricanes and/or that received 2017–18 supplemental funds due to the hurricanes do not need to submit the underuse waiver. If any such schools return more than 10% of their 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 to apply for a waiver of the underuse of funds— the waiver will be granted automatically to impacted schools that received supplemental funding.

How to determine if there will be an Underuse Penalty prior to receiving the Tentative Funding Worksheets

To determine if a school is subject to an allocation reduction in its 2019–20 FSEOG or FWS funds, review the 2019–20 FISAP that was due October 1, 2018.

For FSEOG – Determine the underused percentage by dividing the unexpended 2017–18 funds in Part IV, Section E, Item 18 by the school's 2017–18 FSEOG allocation in Part IV, Section A, Item 1. If that quotient is more than 10 percent, the 2019–20 FSEOG allocation will be reduced by the total amount of unexpended 2017–18 FSEOG funds (Part IV, Section E, Item 18).

For FWS – Determine the underused percentage by dividing the unexpended 2017–18 funds in Part V, Section E, Item 19 by the school's 2017–18 FWS allocation in Part V, Section A, Item 1. If that quotient is more than 10 percent, the 2019–20 FWS allocation will be reduced by the total amount of unexpended 2017–18 FWS funds (Part V, Section E, Item 19).

Note: If a school returned 2017–18 FWS and/or FSEOG program funds to the Department of Education (the Department) via the reallocation process in August, it must include those funds among the total unexpended and allocation amounts for that program in order to determine the underuse percentage (even though this amount is not reported on the school’s FISAP).

How to determine if there is an Underuse Penalty based on the Tentative Funding Worksheets

The Campus-Based Tentative Funding Worksheets for 2019–20 will be posted to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Web Site by February 1, 2019. If the school failed to expend more than 90 percent of its 2017–18 program allocation(s), the underuse penalty will be applied to the tentative 2019–20 award allocations.

Schools may access their Tentative Funding Level worksheets from the COD Web Site, and from the School tab, select the link for Campus-Based. Once directed to Campus-Based, select “Self-Service”. The percentage of underused FSEOG funds is shown in the FSEOG Tentative Funding worksheet at Item 32. Underused Percentage, and the tentative FSEOG Allocation Reduction amount is shown at Item 33. Allocation Reduction. The percentage of underused FWS funds is shown in the FWS Tentative Funding worksheet at Item 35. Underused Percentage, and the tentative FWS Allocation Reduction amount is shown at Item 36. Allocation Reduction. The full explanation of all the fields in the Tentative Funding worksheet will be provided in an attachment to a forthcoming Electronic Announcement posted on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website.

How to Request an Underuse Penalty Waiver

Once logged in to the COD Web Site, navigate to the “Forms and Waivers” page, click on “Manage Application,” then click on the option to “Create” or “Edit” the underuse waiver.

In the comment box, the school must explain the following, in detail:

  • the circumstances that caused the underuse of the allocation

  • why those circumstances were beyond the school's control

  • why those circumstances are not expected to recur and/or how the school plans to prevent future underuse

  • indicate that the entire underused portion of the allocation has been returned to the Department through G5

Notes:

  1. Only schools that reported greater than 10% underuse for FWS and/or FSEOG on their FISAP will have the option to submit the underuse waiver.
  2. New for 2019: If a school did not already complete the underuse waiver via the FISAP submission process, it must use the “Forms and Waivers” page to create or edit the underuse waiver. Schools should not attempt to submit or edit the underuse waiver by accessing their most recently submitted FISAP.

What Happens Next

The Department will review the penalty waiver requests and justifications and will notify the school in an email to the school’s Financial Aid Administrator whether the request has been granted or denied.

If the waiver request is granted, the 2017–18 allocation for the program that was approved will be reduced by the unused amount, but the underuse penalty for that program will not be applied when final awards for 2019–20 are made.

If the waiver request is denied, the 2017–18 allocation for the program that was denied will be reduced by the unused amount and the underuse penalty for that program will be applied when final awards for 2019–20 are made.

Contact Information

For questions regarding an underuse penalty waiver justification, contact the COD School Relations Center at 1-800-848-0978. You may also email CODSupport@ed.gov.

   

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