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Clearinghouse’s 2015-2016 Annual Audit Now Available

The Clearinghouse’s 2015-2016 Annual Audit and Division of Responsibilities are available on the Resources page of the Audit Resource Center site. RSM US, LLP, conducted the independent audit of the Clearinghouse’s compliance with applicable Federal Student Financial Assistance programs. The annual audit covers the time period from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. The review was conducted in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education’s audit guide, “Audits of Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs at Participating Institutions and Institution Servicers.” The Clearinghouse received no audit findings.

How to Find Out When Your School’s Enrollment Information Was Sent to NSLDS

You can log on to the Clearinghouse secure site to see when your enrollment information was sent to NSLDS. On the “Student Reporting” tab, select “Enrollment Reporting” and then select the “NSLDS Reporting” tab. This will display a summary of the enrollment data reported to NSLDS by the Clearinghouse on your behalf, as shown in the image below.

NSLDS Reporting Tab

You can use the Clearinghouse secure site to find out when your school’s enrollment information was sent to NSLDS.

The rows with “NSLDS” listed in the “Originator” column show when the Clearinghouse sent your enrollment information to NSLDS via the SSCR process. The Clearinghouse has a schedule in place that shows when an SSCR Roster is due from NSLDS for your school every month of the year. Typically, we receive SSCR Rosters within the first few business days of each month and, once received, begin processing them almost immediately. If the Clearinghouse receives and processes new information from your school between the 3rd and 11th of the month, we may opt to re-process the original SSCR in the middle of the month (this is the mid-month SSCR process).

For rows with “NSLDS” listed in the “Originator” column:

  • “SSCR Creation Date” is the date that NSLDS created the SSCR Roster
  • “Clearinghouse Receive Date” is the date the Clearinghouse received the SSCR Roster from NSLDS
  • “Clearinghouse Processed Date” is the date the Clearinghouse sent the SSCR Response to NSLDS

The rows with “CH” listed in the “Originator” column are associated with our Supplemental SSCR Roster Reporting process, whereby the Clearinghouse requests that NSLDS add students to your SSCR Roster. This process, which the Clearinghouse implemented in December 2015, helps ensure that students who should be on your SSCR Roster are added.

As part of our Supplemental SSCR Roster Reporting process, whenever the Clearinghouse receives an updated status from you for a student, we check to see if that student has been on an SSCR Roster for any school during the past 10 years. If the student has appeared on an SSCR Roster within the past 10 years, and is not currently listed on your SSCR Roster, the Clearinghouse will request that NSLDS add the student to your SSCR Roster.

You can review the students the Clearinghouse is requesting NSLDS add to your SSCR Roster by clicking the “CH” link in the “Originator” column and then selecting the “Students to be Added” tab.

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Registrar and Financial Aid Offices: Developing and Maintaining a Working Relationship

If an audit began today, would your registrar and financial aid offices be ready to collaborate seamlessly? A strong collaborative relationship between the registrar and financial aid office is integral in compliance reporting, especially during an audit. Our grounding is based on the 100 plus emails and calls the Audit Resource Center receives monthly from schools requesting our assistance during an audit. We have learned that institutions that have a good relationship between the registrar and financial aid offices can quickly assess the actions they need to take to ensure compliance reporting.

Each office owns important pieces of student enrollment information and has expertise that must converge to create the complete record. The challenge is how to make it work.

Opportunities for collaboration:

  • Communication: Communication between offices is key to effective collaboration, but this is an issue everywhere, not just between the registrar and financial aid offices. The questions are: How are those offices that have successful relationships addressing this challenge and making it work? What are the dos and don’ts for ensuring the two offices maintain good communication channels?
  • Technology: Properly implemented, technology enables efficiency gains. However, if one office is completely or partially excluded, the technology can prompt disagreement. Something else to consider is that, even if the technology is successful, it can turn into an impediment if it becomes a substitute for open and regular communication between the offices. Once again, how are offices that have successful implementations (including updates and other significant changes) making the cross-office collaboration work?
  • Processes and procedures: Most offices have well documented policies and operational processes, but there is a lot of sharing of the data between the two offices. Is there a mutual agreement on what data elements belong to which office and how they should be managed? Does each office know the effect changes to procedures can have on the other office? Are these documented, so if changes take place, the offices are prepared to take them into consideration?

These are only a few of the opportunities where the registrar and financial aid offices can work together to improve the rapport between their offices. The positive effects can expand well beyond an audit. So, what can be done to overcome the challenges that prevent some offices from moving into a collaborative relationship?

We have learned that the best advice comes from colleagues who have gone through some of the same trials. Share your experience and let us know: Have your offices successfully developed a beneficial relationship? What challenges have you faced? How do you maintain a collaborative relationship? What is working and what should be avoided?

We encourage you to share your feedback in the comments section.