News & Insights
The end of the school year is approaching, and we know you are busier than ever.

As you may also be aware, in April the U.S. Department of Education issued recommendations for colleges to improve the transparency of financial aid offers. The recommendations largely reflect those in a report last year, which found that financial aid offers from colleges used inconsistent terminology and often failed to reflect the full cost of attendance. 

It’s important to note that lawmakers are also paying closer attention to the transparency of financial aid offers. Legislation introduced this year would require that colleges use a standardized financial aid offer for admitted students. 

We’ll stay abreast of these issues and bring you the latest news when, and if, changes are made. In the meantime, if you have questions or need help, please reach out and let us know how we can support you.

-The HEAG Team
Does the Federal Work-Study Program Need Reform?
The federal work-study program was implemented nearly 55 years ago as part of the campus-based aid program where the U. S.Department of Education (ED) provides colleges with a lump sum to distribute to students who meet the rather broad eligibility criteria. The intent was to create a financial aid program to assist with indirect expenses such as books and food. There continue to be many benefits to the program including convenience (most jobs are on campus) and flexible scheduling, but has the program outlived its effectiveness? 
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Although it was created more than 10 years ago as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is still a mystery to many college administrators. So, it is no surprise that borrowers don’t quite get it either. It also explains why when the first borrowers became eligible to apply for forgiveness only 96 of approximately 28,000 applicants qualified. If you counsel students on loan repayment options, you should know that to qualify for forgiveness, a borrower must make 120 qualifying payments on eligible loans while working full-time for an eligible employer. Keep reading for definitions of these key terms and to learn about a proposed bill to allow partial loan forgiveness.
Cohort Default Rates - What You Need to Know
On February 25th, 2019, the U.S. Department of Education released each institution’s draft FY2016 Cohort Default Rate, which will become the official rate unless incorrect data is challenged through the incorrect data challenges (IDC) process. To summarize our January post on the topic, if you suspect incorrect data may be inflating your institution’s rate, that your institution is losing valuable processing benefits or may be susceptible to costly sanctions, challenging your data might be a priority. Find out what you need to know to conduct the research necessary to challenge your institution's rate.
Consultant Spotlight
How long have you been with HEAG? 
I started working with HEAG in June 2018.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was raised in Texas and Ohio. Prior to my 14 years in higher ed financial aid, I taught K-12 and coached basketball.

What was your first job?
When I was 12 years old, I worked at a local supermarket bagging groceries and running the lottery machine.
What are some of the general tasks you have performed and excelled at as an FA consultant? 
Verification reviews and re-reviews are where I excel and where I can really add value. I have saved schools substantial sums of money during the review and re-review process by uncovering the reasons funds are not being released. This can be a learning process for financial aid professionals, and I have been able to identify and resolve issues at the staff level that may have been overlooked. For example, I may uncover that a counselor consistently misses a line item on a tax transcript or the student's verification forms are filled out incorrectly or incomplete. This can easily be addressed by putting appropriate processes in place and educating the counselor about what the regulations say and how we can reach the right conclusion.  

What makes HEAG unique or special compared to your work experiences elsewhere?
HEAG’s online project management tools are a real differentiator. HEAG consultants utilize these tools to collaborate on ideas, issues, and challenges and develop a common approach to handling questions, concerns, policies and procedures. A college may be working with only one HEAG consultant, but they have the resources of the entire HEAG team.

What advice would you give to a school looking to bring in an FA consultant?   
To have a clear understanding of the direction the school is headed and what type of characteristics are needed for the person you are bringing in. You want to get the right fit – both in terms of experience and personality. 

When you’re not consulting, what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Outside of consulting, I am working to improve and broaden my technical skills because I am getting into the more technical end of financial aid consulting, including SQL. When I am not working to better myself, I enjoy watching sports and listening to music.
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