Recently, the Department of Education (ED) informed schools participating in the Quality Assurance (QA) Program that QA will be discontinued in its current form at the end of the 2016-17 award year (check out NASFAA’s article).
Currently, about 140 institutions participate in the Quality Assurance Program which allows them to establish their own customized criteria for selecting, verifying, and determining documentation requirements for Title IV applicants. These schools will need to transition to the federally-defined verification process in subpart E of the General Provisions regulations (for details on these regulations, see page 7-88 of the Student Assistance General Provisions).
For many QA schools, this change brings an increase in the number of students selected for verification. Under federally-defined verification, about 30% are selected for verification – a higher percentage than many QA schools manage today. Naturally, this change has QA schools wondering how to budget, staff, and manage this transition.
At CampusLogic, we’ve worked with more colleges and universities than anyone else to automate their student verification process through our cloud-based software. We’ve compiled three tips to help as you start planning your transition to federally-defined verification.
1. Use Technology to Do the Work for You.
The federally-defined verification process brings a new set of rules and processes to QA schools. Instead of staffing additional personnel, use technology to carry the load. Look for a cloud-based, student self-service portal designed to manage all activities for the verification process and facilitate student notifications, document collection, data validation, and school communication. Students, parents, and schools will complete verification more easily and much faster while maintaining accuracy and compliance. Plus, you won’t have to add staff or paper to manage the new verification process.
Also, make sure you have a product that provides e-sign. Your students and their parents are busy. Make the process of completing important financial aid paperwork convenient for everyone with an e-signature capability.
2. Empower Students to Manage the Verification Process.
The level of student frustration around financial aid and student verification is all over social media (especially Twitter). Students want an easier process that’s available online and on their mobile devices. Self-service software puts your school in your students’ pockets, purses, and backpacks. You go where they go. They submit documents, manage verification tasks, and complete verification processes anywhere, anytime, and on any device. And, the whole process is easier and faster.
3, Make Sure Students Can Manage Verification on Any Mobile Device.
Speaking of anytime, anywhere access, paperwork is not mobile. It has to be mailed or submitted in-person. Student self-service software lets students submit docs or fill out forms from any mobile device, day or night. Students and their parents may live in separate states, but geography presents no boundary or delay. So make sure students can upload documents and manage verification tasks from their mobile device, while your Financial Aid professionals can send automated reminders via text and email to speed the document collection process.
According to NASFAA, ED will provide additional information and assistance to QA schools within the next few weeks. As you’re planning this transition, we’re also here to help. Contact us for a free demo of our StudentVerification software to learn how technology can automate and simplify your transition to federally-defined verification.