EnterChapterTitle: Introduction and General Program Information
The Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook explains the policies
and procedures required in the proper administration of the Student
Financial Assistance (SFA) Programs. Defined in law, in regulation,
or as guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), these
policies and procedures facilitate the effective operation of the
federal processing system and of the reporting systems for individual
programs. The Introduction for Chapter 1 lists the SFA Programs and
contains a brief discussion of the contents and structure of this
handbook. Chapter 1 contains two sections: General Program
Information and References and Resources.
[[Actions that conflict with ED guidance may be determined to be
Schools should understand the context in which the information in
this handbook is given. The preamble to the General Provisions
regulations published April 29, 1994 (34 CFRÐPart 668) clarifies
that guidance issued from ED in the form of manuals, handbooks,
other publications, and "Dear Colleague" letters DOES NOT have
the same legal force as regulations issued pursuant to formal
rulemaking. Such guidance DOES, however, constitute a useful
foundation for measuring how reasonable a school's (or a third-party
servicer's) conduct is. Accordingly, school actions that conflict with
guidance from ED may be determined to be improper if the actions
indicate that the school did not make a good faith effort in
administering the SFA Programs. Schools may be subject to
penalties for such actions.
The Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Programs
The term "Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Programs" refers to
programs administered by ED's Office of Postsecondary Education
(OPE). The specific programs listed below and on the following page
are authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, so
they are often collectively referred to as the Title IV programs.) The
SFA Programs comprise the
- Federal Pell Grant Program,
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program,
- Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program,
- Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program,
- Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program,
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- State Grant and Scholarship Programs.
These programs are covered individually in Section 1 of this chapter,
beginning on page 5.
How the SFA Programs are covered in the Handbook
This publication consists of 11 chapters that cover the SFA Programs
from the vantage point of the school's financial aid administrator.
Chapter 1 provides a general introduction. Chapters 2 and 3 cover
eligibility issues. Chapters 4 through 11 are program-specific. Each
chapter title and purpose are covered below.
Chapter 1--Introduction and General Program Information
This chapter provides general information and references.
Chapter 2--Student Eligibility and Financial Need
This chapter addresses general student eligibility requirements (such
as citizenship, satisfactory progress, financial need, and packaging)
that apply to all the SFA Programs. Most of these requirements are
based on the General Provisions regulations (34 CFR-Part 668).
Chapter 3--Institutional Eligibility and Administrative Requirements
This chapter explains school and program eligibility requirements
that are common to all the SFA programs. These requirements are
based on the Institutional Eligibility regulations (34 CFR-Part 600)
and on the General Provisions regulations (34 CFR-Part 668).
Chapter 3 also covers the general participation requirements, such as
the use of financial aid transcripts and the NSLDS, refund and
repayment procedures, recordkeeping and administrative procedures,
and cash management requirements.
Chapter 4--Federal Pell Grant Program
This chapter explains how to calculate Pell Grant payments and how
to report payments to ED.
Chapter 5--Campus-based Programs (Common Elements)
This chapter provides general information common to the three
campus-based programs (Perkins, FWS, and FSEOG), while specific
requirements for each campus-based program are covered in CHAPTERS
6 THROUGH 8.
Chapters 6--Federal Perkins Loan Program
Chapter 7--Federal Work-Study Program
Chapter 8--Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
These chapters cover the campus-based programs individually.
Chapter 9--State Grant Programs
This chapter discusses the state grant and scholarship programs
(SSIG, Byrd, Douglas, and NEISP).
Chapter 10--Federal Family Education Loan Programs
This chapter covers the FFEL Program (Federal Stafford and Federal
Chapter 11--William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
This chapter covers the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan
Program (Direct Stafford and Direct PLUS).
Other useful contacts within the Department
Your school may come into contact with several other offices within
the Department of Education. These offices include the Office of
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), the Office
of Vocational And Adult Education (OVAE), and the Office of
Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA).
Two other Department offices you may have contact with are the
Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Office for Civil Rights
[[New payment system will take effect during 1997-98]]
When your school requests funds from the Department for the
Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, FWS, Perkins Loan, or the Direct Loan
Program, the request is handled through the ED Payment
Management System (ED/PMS, which is located with the Office of
the Chief Financial Officer. Please note that ED/PMS will be
replaced during the 1997-98 year by the Education Department's
Central Automated Processing System (EDCAPS). More information
on EDCAPS will be provided to schools at a later date.