Posted Date: September 13, 2017

Author:  Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Guidance related to Title IV participants affected by Hurricane Irma

The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) is taking numerous steps in response to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma, which is a federally declared major disaster (disaster) as defined in The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122(2)).

Information for students, parents, and borrowers is available at StudentAid.gov/naturaldisaster.

Institutions of higher education in the affected region with specific questions about Hurricane Irma’s impact on the administration of the Title IV programs should contact the School Participation Division for your area.

The contact information for each School Participation Division is:

  • Atlanta: 404-974-9303 or AtlantaSPD@ed.gov
  • Chicago/Denver: 312-730-1511 or Chicago.Denver.SPD@ed.gov
  • Dallas: 214-661-9490 or DallasSPD@ed.gov
  • Kansas City: 816-268-0410 or KansasCitySPD@ed.gov
  • Multi-Regional: 202-377-3168 or Multi-RegionalSPD@ed.gov
  • New York/Boston: 646-428-3750 or NYBostonSPD@ed.gov
  • Philadelphia: 215-656-6442 or PhiladelphiaSPD@ed.gov
  • San Francisco/Seattle: 415-486-5677 or SanFrancisco.SeattleSPD@ed.gov

Third-party servicers should contact the Department’s Third-Party Servicer and Oversight Group at 816-268-0543 or by email at fsapc3rdpartyserviceroversight@ed.gov.

Guaranty agencies in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program with questions about the disaster should contact your regional Financial Partners representative. For a list of regional Financial Partners representatives, visit the Financial Partners’ portal. Locate the “Contact Resources” button at the top of the page, and choose the “Financial Institution Oversight Service” link for a list of regional office representatives.

To help affected parties, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided general guidance for regulatory relief to students, institutions, lenders, guaranty agencies, and their servicers in administering the federal student financial aid programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The regulatory relief described in Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-08 applies to:

  • all recipients of Title IV aid and their families who, at the time of a disaster, were residing in, employed in, or attending an institution located in the federally declared disaster area; and
  • institutions, guaranty agencies, and their servicers that are located in such areas.

To determine whether a student, institution, guaranty agency, or servicer is located in the federally declared disaster area, refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) website. Please note that while the FEMA website lists numerous federal disaster declarations, only disasters designated for “Individual Assistance” are eligible for the relief described in Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-08.

As more information becomes available related to assisting students and their families impacted by Hurricane Irma, we will share it on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals website.

   

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