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The Monthly Memo Archive

The Monthly Memo

December 1, 2000

Dear Colleagues,

Please visit our web page. The site address is heab.state.wi.us.

Points of Interest:

  1. Just a reminder for those who have not yet returned the 2000-01 Reconciliation or the 1999-00 WISSISS Data Forms, that these forms need to be completed and returned as soon as possible. Based on what has been received to date in terms of reconciliation, it appears that funds may not all be spent under the UW and WTC WHEG programs. Therefore, we will be exploring whether or not to adjust formulas to spend more or to extend funding for summer school. Data to date also indicates that the potential exists where not enough funding will exist to provide all grants under the WTG program. W codes have been placed on student ISIR records received as of November 28th and thereafter. The potential exists also that spring WTG awards will need to be reduced. We expect to work, as we have in the past, with each sector in the coming weeks and months to determine the best approach to take given the circumstances involving the various programs.

  2. This past spring you were asked to review the new Policy and Procedure Manual. Originally you were asked to provide feedback by May 30, 2001, with implementation planned for July 1, 2001. Due to requests made by Financial Aid Administrators in our community, the May 30th deadline for feedback was moved to January 1, 2001. The reason for moving the deadline to January 1st was to allow adequate time for the final copy to be approved in February and to give schools the time necessary to update publications, etc. for 2001-02 if needed.

    One issue within the manual that has been discussed extensively throughout the aid community, is the "return of funds" policy. Based on these discussions, it appears that additional time is necessary to develop a policy that addresses the concerns related to this issue. Given the circumstances, the following terminology will be added to what is currently in the manual and a one year extension is granted to provide feedback on the "return of funds" policy. The January 1, 2001 deadline still exists for feedback related to all other parts of the manual. However, feedback related to the "return of funds" is now due January 1, 2002, with implementation planned for July 1, 2002.

    RETURN OF FUNDS POLICY (This policy has not been finalized. Feedback is due January 1, 2002 with implementation planned for July 1, 2002. This is a DRAFT.)

    Please contact me at (608)264.6181 or send email to jane.hojan-clark@heab.state.wi.us if you have questions. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  3. Please note that the notification lists that were originally scheduled to run this past Tuesday, November 28th were instead run last night, November 30th. This process was delayed due to the implementation of programming that will allow WTG award recipients with "special tuitions" to calculate in an automated fashion rather than a partially manual process.

  4. Eighteen schools still have not spent any of their institutional TIP funds yet. Of these eighteen schools, eleven have not committed (awarded) any of their institutional TIP funds either. Please submit your TIP nominations to Sandy Dercole at WEOP.

Policy Related Discussion Items:

The following issues are being considered and need your input. Your feedback and perspective will be very helpful as these items are reviewed. I have asked WASFAA's State Issues Committee to consolidate and submit your feedback to me. Don Seymour and Kathy Sahlhoff currently co-chair that committee. Input will also be requested from WEOP, each sector or system, and from other appropriate organizations or State agencies. As always, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. Thank you to those who have already submitted a response.

  1. Distance Learning and Other "Nontraditional Learning Approaches"
    The majority of the programs the Higher Educational Aids Board administers require that the recipient of funds be enrolled at least half time in an approved degree or certificate program. The programs also operate under a nine month academic year, beginning some time in August or September and ending some time in April or May. Since distance learning and other "nontraditional learning approaches" have taken hold in the higher education community; schools have begun exploring twelve month academic years, less than nine month academic year programs, and numerous other program structures. There are many issues related to distance learning or "nontraditional learning approaches" in relation to the programs HEAB administers that need to be explored. In order to understand what all of the issues are, it would be helpful if you would take a moment and provide a response to the following questions:

    Has your school established distance learning education programs and/or other programs with "nontraditional learning approaches?"

    If so, what is the structure of the program/s?

    What impact has the implementation of distance learning or "nontraditional learning approaches" had in relation to the financial aid programs HEAB administers?

  2. Review of the Handicapped Student Grant Program
    The Handicapped Student Grant Program was established to provide funding for Wisconsin residents, enrolled at least half-time at an in-state or eligible out-of-state public or independent institution. The student must show financial need and have a severe or profound hearing or visual impairment. Students are eligible to receive up to $1,800 per year for up to ten semesters.

    The need to serve students with various handicaps continues to exist. This program as it currently exists provides funds to students with very specific impairments. To better serve these students and possibly those students with other handicaps, it would be helpful to know the following:

    How extensive is the financial need of students with profound hearing or visual impairments?

    What other types of handicaps do students who are not currently being served have?

  3. Review of the Talent Incentive Program Grant Awarding Criteria
    The Talent Incentive Program Grant provides grant assistance to the most needy and educationally disadvantaged resident students attending colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin. The maximum award per year for freshmen enrolled at least half-time is $1,800. Upper class students enrolled at least half-time are eligible for up to $1,250 in 2000-01 if enrolled consecutive terms and continue to show financial need. Eligibility cannot exceed ten semesters. Funding for the TIP Grant is provided by both the State of Wisconsin and the Federal Government.

    Some of the language in the Administrative Rules that regulate this program has become obsolete. References are made of programs that no longer exist and some of the need or student status criteria may no longer apply. To better serve students from a disadvantaged background it would be helpful to better understand your perspective on the following:

    Are any of the need or student status criteria no longer applicable?

    If so, how should the criteria be altered?

Points Related to Processing:

2000-01

  1. 2000-01 notification lists and associated reports are scheduled to print 12/12/00 and 12/27/00 (note that this is one day later than normal given the holidays.)

  2. We will continue to run the 2000-01 vouchering process on Tuesday and Friday nights of each week with the exception of December 26th. The vouchering process will run the 27th instead of the 26th again because of the holidays. Just a reminder that we cannot guarantee that your request can be loaded on the same day it has been received if the information arrives after 12NOON. Please keep in mind that it takes two to three business days after the vouchering process runs before checks are physically printed. So please plan accordingly. Please only voucher funds for students who are registered for coursework. Contact me if you have any questions.

  3. 2000-01 award commit for WHEG and WTG is as follows:

      UW WHEG Award Commit = % (last year at this time it was %)
      UW WHEG Spent = % (last year at this time it was %)
      WTC WHEG Award Commit = % (last year at this time it was %)
      WTC WHEG Spent = % (last year at this time it was %)
      WTG Award Commit = 122.61% (last year at this time it was 111.34%)
      WTG Award Spent = 48.62% (last year at this time it was 40.42%)

  4. Please remember to submit TIP nomination forms to Sandy Dercole.

Other Points:

  1. Here are a few tips for bringing in your electronic Notification Files:

    1. set all margins to 0.25"
    2. set paper orientation to landscape
    3. set font to Courier (or Lucida Console if you have it)
    4. set point size to 9

  2. If you encounter problems opening the file directly from email, try saving it to your server or hard drive using either Notepad or WordPad to open it. If this doesn't work, please give Barb Moermond a call at (608) 266-3091 and she will work with you to try to find a solution.

  3. If your school transfers data to HEAB via an FTP site, please notify Barb Moermond at barbara.moermond@heab.state.wi.us as soon as possible whenever any changes in your FTP set-up, software, IP, etc. occur. Once notified, Barb will make all the necessary changes that need to be made at our end in order for HEAB to continue to be able to transfer data to and from your school.

  4. To all schools using the HEAB templates for file maintenance and voucher requests: Please refer to the Information for Financial Aid Administrators section on the HEAB web page (http://HEAB.state.wi.us) where you will find the formatting guides for both templates. Please use the guides and verify that both templates are formatted exactly the way the guides indicate. There have been an increasing number of problems with files not being formatted properly when they had been fine previously and this means that the file maintenance changes and/or voucher requests that have been submitted aren't going through. Please contact Barb Moermond (barbara.moermond@HEAB.state.wi.us) if you have any questions.

  5. Please note that when sending file maintenance, all "adds" must be sent as "adds" and all "changes" must be sent as "changes." Therefore, please remember to code students who do not appear on your notification list (these are students being added to your school) as "EA" and to code students who do appear on your list (you are making changes to their records) as "EC". Think of these codes as Edit Add and Edit Change. If the information is not sent under the correct code, the change or add may be rejected.

  6. There have been a number of schools who have been sending file maintenance for students who are not enrolled at their school. Therefore, new awards keep recalculating based on file maintenance sent in by the school where the student is not attending. The school where the student is attending has to keep sending file maintenance to correct what the other school has sent. To eliminate this problem, please only send file maintenance for students who you know are attending or plan to attend your school.

  7. When you send file maintenance, which includes contribution changes, you must always include the SC and PC along with the new EFC for dependent students. This is important for maintaining our internal student system particularly when working with the TIP grant.

  8. Please be aware that it is not necessary for schools to submit an award amount via file maintenance. This information is not used. Including this information consumes resources both at HEAB and at your school. Awards are calculated prior to each voucher and re-calculations are triggered by changes to any of the five key fields (dependency status, year in school, marital status, household size and EFC).

  9. Please note that the only proper procedure for correcting a student's Social Security number is to submit a separate email to the general HEAB address ( heabmail@heab.state.wi.us). Please include the student's name, the incorrect number, and the correct number. Also, please remember that when you submit a Delete for a student, you are deleting your school from the student's record, NOT the student's record from our system.

  10. For schools whose students receive WTG funding: If you have students with "special tuitions," please identify those students with their special tuition WTG code each time file maintenance is submitted for them.

  11. If your school receives the electronic report file of the notification list, please note that a 1 or a 2 in the child support column means that the student is delinquent (1 or 2 = DELQ).

  12. Please be aware that if you request a disbursement of less than $250 for a term or a semester or if the student has used nine semesters of eligibility, the voucher request is manually handled through a "special voucher" which is run on Wednesday nights.

  13. Also be aware that you cannot voucher funds for a student you just sent FAFSA changes for to the federal processor. Please voucher funds for students after they are reflected on the notification list. Our agency will calculate an award the Tuesday or Friday night after file maintenance is received or after the student is loaded from the federal record (which we draw down daily). However, the notification list which communicates the student award to you is run every other Tuesday. Please keep all of this in mind when you are making student record changes or vouchering funds. Please also keep in mind that we calculate awards on the most recent information that is received either through file maintenance or from the federal processor.

  14. Just another reminder that students can receive up to ten semesters of a combination of WHEG/WTG rather than ten semesters of each.

  15. Please be aware of the following errors that have been made in the processing of refunds. The errors fall into two categories:

    1. Schools returning more money for a student than was originally vouchered.
    2. Schools sending in duplicate refunds.

    Please take a moment before sending in refunds to check and make sure that:

    1. You are returning the proper amount.
    2. You have identified the proper program.
    3. That the same refund has not been sent to us previously.

  16. The next training sessions will be held:

      January 18, March 16, May 17, and July 19

    The program begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends no later than 3:00 p.m. It is held at the HEAB offices at 131 W. Wilson St, Suite 902, Madison, WI. We have room for up to 6 people at each session.

    If you want to register for a session or need more information, please call Jim Buske at (608) 267-9865 or send email to james.buske@heab.state.wi.us.

I appreciate your feedback and thoughts! My phone number is 608.264.6181, FAX: 608.267.2808, EMAIL: jane.hojan-clark@heab.state.wi.us and SNAILMAIL: HEAB, P.O. Box 7885, Madison, WI 53707-7885.

 

Jane Hojan-Clark, Executive Secretary
Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board

 

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