TASFAA COVID-19 Response Page

As events unfold that affect TASFAA as a result of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, TASFAA will be updating the information on this page. you may wish to bookmark it and return frequently throughout the response period. TASFAA is doing everything possible to keep you informed throughout this time.  Newest information is at the top of the page.  


Recordings of May 4th & 6th TASFAA Panel Discussion on CARES and HEERF

(Posted 5/13/2020 at 8:00am)

May 4th Recording (four-year schools)  /  Password: 1G&5Jo=*
May 6th Recording (two-year schools)  /  Password: 0u&80Wn^

TASFAA President's Message Regarding the Fall Conference

(Posted 5/1/2020 at 3:20PM)

TASFAA President - Lyn W. KinyonHello TASFAA Friends and Colleagues:

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy! 

This year is proving to be a very challenging one for the TASFAA Board of Directors as we attempt to navigate the obstacles placed in our path as a result of the pandemic.  We have had to make some very difficult decisions concerning the expected annual services normally provided by TASFAA for our membership. 

As you know, we made the call earlier in the spring to cancel the Regional Training Workshops as well as the New Aid Officers Workshop during the onset of the pandemic and the resulting requirements of social distancing.  After careful consideration of the current environment and in anticipation of extended social distancing, travel, and budget restrictions, the Board made another very tough decision late yesterday afternoon to cancel the upcoming TASFAA 2020 Annual Conference.  Though this is something we truly hated to do, we felt it was in the best interest of our membership and our Association.  We will be working with the Wyndham Riverwalk in San Antonio, the cancelled 2020 hotel site, to reschedule the use of their facilities in 2022.

To explore possible options of providing an alternative on-line platform for some type of professional development training for our membership in lieu of the cancelled trainings, a task force has been established.  The Electronic Training Initiative Task Force, led by Christina Pikla (19/20 Board Member), is looking into the feasibility and logistics of successfully implementing such an endeavor for the Board to consider.   The Board will review the recommendations of this task force and make plans accordingly.

Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times.  If you have questions or concerns you would like to share, I encourage you to reach out to me or any of the TASFAA Board Members. 

Please stay safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Lyn W. Kinyon
2019-2020 TASFAA President

TASFAA Panel Discussion Plus Q&A on CARES Act and HEERF

(Posted 4/29/2020 at 4:10 PM)

Recognizing the need for guidance that schools throughout our state have regarding CARES Act provisions and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), TASFAA has organized a panel discussion on those matters that will be lead by experienced financial aid professionals around the state. This panel will clarify rules, discuss issues, and address questions submitted by registrants. This is a great opportunity for Texas colleges to use our collective minds to help each other with these shared issues and to get our questions answered.

This panel discussion is being hosted by Trellis Company via Zoom. To accommodate Zoom's participation limits, this panel discussion is being held on two separate dates. To allow for the maximum number of registrants, please register for only one date. Recordings of both dates will be made available later.

Select the link that corresponds with your institution type and REGISTER TODAY!

4-year institutions / Monday, May 4th from 10:00-11:30am

2-year institutions / Wednesday, May 6th from 10:00-11:30am

Panel discussions will be lead by:

  • JoEllen Soucier / Houston Community College System - Executive Director, Financial Aid
  • Karen Krause / University of Texas at Arlington - Executive Director, Financial Aid
  • Delisa Falks / Texas A&M University at College Station - Assistant Vice President, Scholarships & Financial Aid
  • Bryan Ashton / Trellis Company - Vice President, Community Investment & Government Affairs
  • George Torres / Retired - TG/Trellis

Trellis Emergency Aid Toolkit and COVID-19 Resources

(Posted 4/29/2020 at 12:10 PM)

Bryan Ashton, Vice President of Community Investment & Government Affairs at Trellis Company, announced today that Trellis has created an Emergency Aid Toolkit to assist schools with administering emergency aid programs. The Toolkit includes recommendations for emergency aid policies and procedures, student-friendly application forms, and free ready-to-send student communications among other things.

Schools can also find a complete list of Emergency Aid and COVID-19 related resources and a complete listing of Trellis webinars on the Trellis Company website.


Secretary DeVos Releases Guidance

(Posted 4/10/2020 at 9:55 AM)

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released guidance on the availability and use of CARES Act funding to institutions, half of which is designated for student emergencies. There is an agreement form that each institution must sign and then funds can be drawn down through the G5 system.

 Here is the Department’s letter. In order to access these funds, all institutions must sign and return the Certificate of Funding and AgreementHere is the amount that each institution is designated to receive and the minimum amount that must be provided in student emergency funding.


Other COVID-19 Resources

(Posted 4/8/2020 at 9:30 AM)

TASFAA volunteers have shared other resources that are available to you as you explore ways to assist your students in need.  Check them out!

If you discover a resource that you believe is helpful for your colleagues and wish it to be included here, please share it with us!

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

A Summary

(Posted 4/1/2020 at 2:05PM)

Friday, March 27, 2020, the House signed the CARES Act into law for COVID-19 legislation regarding student aid. 

Of the 30 billion appropriated for the Education Stabilization fund, a little less than half or 14 billion is earmarked for Higher Education, and of that, about 12.5 billion will go directly to institutions. Whatever an institution receives in funding is required to go towards Emergency Grant Aid with the remaining half covering expenses such as costs for transitioning to online education or faculty and staff salaries.   This bill includes multiple stipulations regarding Federal Student Aid. 

Student Loans

The CARES Act provides regulatory relief for student loans with regards to the suspension of loan payments and interest accrual on federally held student loans for the next 6 months or September 30, 2020, while utilizing the National Emergency period to consider student loan borrower payments for the purposes of rehabilitation and credit reporting for Public Service Loan Forgiveness purposes.   There will be a suspension of involuntary collection and required notification to borrowers within 15 days of passing.  In addition, there are 6 required notices beginning August 1, 2020 informing borrowers of resuming payment obligations.  The stimulus bill creates a new tax benefit for employers to support repayment of student loan debt, by paying up to $5,250 of an individual’s debt, annually, tax free, but there are time constraints involved.

Financial Aid

This bill offers institutions the ability to continue to pay Federal Work-Study wages to students enrolled with institutions that close or move classes online, providing the institution continues to pay its essential faculty and/or staff.  These payments can extend up to a year if students are unable to fulfill all or part of their obligations. 

An additional waiver allows unused Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) allocations to be used for emergency aid and permits an award up to the maximum of a Federal Pell Grant.  100 % of Federal Work-Study allocations can also be transferred to FSEOG, waiving the non-Federal share.

Also, students who cannot complete a semester, due to this emergency, are not to be counted in a period of enrollment for the purpose of a Subsidized Federal Direct Loan or the Lifetime Eligibility Used of a Federal Pell Grant.

The institutional Return of Title IV is waived for students who withdraw as a result of the National Emergency, but there will be associated reporting and includes some loan cancellation provisions.

An institutions Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy also has flexibility to exclude from the quantitative component, any attempted credits not completed by the student without an appeal.

Expanded Higher Education Provisions

Based on the amount earmarked to an institution from the stimulus bill, half must go towards Emergency Grant Aid for students.  Funds will be allocated by 75% of enrollment of Federal Pell Grant recipients and 25% based on full-time enrollment.  Funding will be distributed by the Secretary in the same manner as other Federal Student Aid. There are no specified timelines regarding the receipt of funds, as it is related to the length of the emergency and may go into 2020-2021.

Additionally, approximately 3 billion will be directed to Governors for utilization of stabilizing education in their states.  Historically Black Colleges and Universities receive deferments for the duration of the National Emergency.

The bill includes funding for the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid to continue implementing COVID-19 related changes and the ability to carry forward certain Title III, V, and VII funds.

Summary provided by:
Cynthia S. Butler
TASFAA Board Member at Large and Chairperson of Legislative Issues Committee
Executive District Director, Financial Aid - Dallas County Community College District Office

 


 

President's Second Address to TASFAA Community

(Posted 3/18/2020 at 1:05PM)

Hello TASFAA Friends and Colleagues:

 I hope you are all healthy and coping well with the local, regional, and national events of the past few weeks. 

Due to the unprecedented challenges we are currently facing with the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the federal/state guidance issued for limiting social gatherings, the TASFAA Spring Regional Training Workshops as well as the TASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop have all been cancelled.  Any received registration payments for the New Aid Officers Workshop will be refunded and will be issued as early as this week.  For those who paid by check, a refund will be issued by check.  For those who paid by credit card, a refund will applied to the credit card.

It has been suggested that TASFAA consider an on-line format to deliver these cancelled trainings to interested members.  Though this would be a viable option in normal times – the times we are in are anything but normal.  TASFAA’s training opportunities are coordinated and provided by volunteers.  These volunteer committee members and presenters are already stressed with interruptions and changes to their regular work lives, personal lives, and daily routines.  I do not want to add an additional burden or stressor to an already complicated situation.  I hope you, the members of TASFAA, will understand and support this decision.

I have asked the appropriate committees to investigate the possibility of providing enhanced training opportunities during the Fall Conference in October to compensate if at all possible for these cancelled training opportunities.  We will explore our ability to offer a new aid officer’s track during the conference as well as a NASFAA credentialing pre-conference opportunity if possible.  More information to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you all for your understanding and support of TASFAA.  Please feel free to contact me or any of your TASFAA leaders with questions or concerns. 

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Lyn W. Kinyon

2019-2020 TASFAA President


 NASFAA Holds Webinar

(Posted 3/17/2020 at 1:55 PM)

On Tuesday 3/17, NASFAA held a webinar "COVID-19 and Federal Student Aid:What We Know" in which several topics were discussed including R2T4, Federal Work Study, SAP, and Study Abroad programs, as it pertains to campus closures and transitions to online-learning. NASFAA has made a recording of the webinar available to NASFAA members.  For more information, see NASFAA's Coronavirus Web Center. (Edited 3/18/2020 at 10:31AM)


 

Remaining Regional Training Events Canceled

(Posted 3/16/2020 at 8:55 AM)

The Regional Training events previously scheduled at DFW and Lubbock have been canceled upon the advice of the CDC regarding gatherings of 50 or more individuals. Those who have registered do NOT need to cancel their registrations.

At this time no decision has been made concerning the New Aid Officers Workshop.  Stay tuned to this page for additional updates.


 Regional Training at El Paso Canceled

(Posted 3/15/2020 at 8:33 PM)

The Regional Training previously scheduled for El Paso has been canceled. The Regional Training Committee and the TASFAA Board of Directors are working hard to explore alternatives. Those individuals previously registered do not need to cancel.

 


Regional Trainings at Houston and San Antonio Canceled

(Posted 3/12/2020 at 3:19PM)

The Regional Trainings previously scheduled for Houston and San Antonio have been canceled by the hosting locations. The Regional Training Committee and the TASFAA Board of Directors are working hard to explore alternatives. Those individuals previously registered do not need to cancel.


TASFAA's President's Statement Regarding COVID-19

(Posted 3/12/2020 at 3:01PM)

Hello TASFAA Friends and Colleagues:

The TASFAA Board is monitoring developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the potential impact on the scheduled Spring Regional Training Workshops and the New Aid Officers Workshop.  Any changes to the status of these events will be posted to the TASFAA website and communicated to all registered attendees as well as the membership as needed. New information will be posted here as it is available.

We are staying in touch with all host institutions for the regional training workshops concerning the status of events on their campuses.  Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, the site of the New Aid Officers Workshop, is taking extra precautions but is otherwise operating normally.  They are implementing enhanced sanitation measures and more frequent cleansing of public areas with disinfectant solutions, adding hand-sanitation stations, and encouraging guests to partake in more regular and rigorous hand-washing.

In the event registered participants need to cancel their registration due to their institution’s travel restrictions, etc., TASFAA will be flexible concerning refunds.  The safety and well-being of our membership is a top priority

We will continue to monitor the situation as we maintain our commitment to delivering the training and information sharing you rely on to best support you and the students you serve.

 

Lyn W. Kinyon

2019-2020 TASFAA President