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Particularly for institutions with a smaller budget or staff shortage, it can be hard to keep up with changing federal regulations, myriad verifications, funding demands and reporting deadlines. With all the work to be done, how does your office find time for the VIPs: students?
This is where a third-party financial aid servicer like Financial Aid Services (FAS) comes in. We process the FAFSAs, perform verification of the student data, originate Pell Grants, certify the Direct Loans and deliver the funds in a timely manner. We help digest federal regulations, streamline communication, and maintain accuracy and timeliness in reporting so YOU can focus on the students. Read on to learn more about what a third-party servicer is and how FAS can help improve the operations of your financial aid office.
What is a third party financial aid servicer?
In layman’s terms, a third-party financial aid service is your financial aid office’s best friend: they help you stay organized, compliant, and efficient. Usually this means outsourcing the bulk of your Title IV Federal Aid processing to the servicer, sometimes this means having a friend check your work or just be a good listener offering some advice: whatever your needs, a third-party servicer can step in and help.
According to the Department of Education, a third-party servicer is an entity or individual that administers any aspect of a U.S.-based institution’s participation in the Title IV programs, including, but not limited to, services and functions necessary:
- For the institution to remain eligible to participate in the Title IV programs,
- To determine a student’s eligibility for Title IV funds,
- To account for Title IV funds,
- To deliver Title IV funds to students,
- To perform any other aspect of the administration of the Title IV programs.
What does a third-party servicer do?
When you hire a third party servicer, they are jointly liable for accuracy and violations, meaning they (and their reputation) will be on the hook for any mistakes. This keeps them fully committed to accurate and timely reporting on your behalf!
Each provider will be different, but in general, a third-party servicer helps with administration of Federal Title IV funds. See here for examples of scope from the Department of Education.
Here at Financial Aid Services, our experts can help with consulting and processing. We provide assistance in the following areas: processing services and school management software to help with communication with the Department of Education, State and Accrediting, annual reporting, return to Title IV calculations, verifications, and student eligibility reviews. We also assist in regulation compliance; policies and procedures maintenance; certification and eligibility; accreditation assistance; publications; training; and on-site auditing assistance.
How do you get started?
To begin working with a servicer, your institution and the third party must enter into a contract that clearly and thoroughly describes the services and functions the servicer is responsible for providing or performing on your behalf. This delineates liability and responsibility: should problems arise, there are clear parties (or joint-parties) to hold accountable.
Once you establish workflow and responsibilities, your office will be able to focus on what matters most: the students!
Want to learn more?
Our mission at Financial Aid Services is to perform an upfront assessment of your institution to familiarize ourselves with school culture and systems. Depending on your needs, we then can streamline operations with our technology and value added hands-on processing while maintaining your processes. Our integration of consulting, processing, and software applications offer a “one stop” opportunity for owners who need to reach beyond the talent and resources available at their own institutions.
We aim to keep the school completely administratively capable: as we work, we educate your school staff so that they are in control of the school’s Title IV Programs and can make decisions and answer to officials if necessary.
We will always deliver our assistance with a friendly and compassionate approach by being adaptable and flexible to your needs. Building a personal relationship with our clients is as important as building a business relationship.
FAS has a large staff of seasoned professionals who can take your call and answer any of your questions. When you pick up the phone to call us, your call will be answered by one of our experts each and every time.