Recent Changes to Federal Student Aid Programs for the 2014-2015 Aid Year

There are a number of new requirements for the federal student aid programs due to legislative changes in the Department of Education. These changes could impact your financial aid for the upcoming academic year and in the future. Most of these changes are effective with the 2014-15 school year (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015).

Federal Direct Loans

Interest Rates

  • The origination fees for direct subsidized loans and direct unsubsidized loans have increased to 1.072% and for direct PLUS loans (both parent and graduate) have increased to 4.288% for any loan where the first disbursement will be made on or after December 1, 2013.
  • Interest rates will be established each year for Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS Loans for which the first disbursement is on or after July 1 through the following June 30. The rate will be the sum of a uniform "index rate" plus an "add-on" that varies depending on the type of loan (Subsidized/Unsubsidized or PLUS) and the borrower's grade level (undergraduate or graduate/professional.) Thus interest rates will be the same for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans taken out by an undergraduate student, with a different rate for Direct Unsubsidized Loans taken out by a graduate/professional student and for PLUS Loans taken out by parent borrowers or graduate/professional student borrowers.

Federal Plus Loan Borrowers

  • Certain direct PLUS loan borrowers may be eligible to have their denied credit check reconsidered. Both the school and these borrowers have been notified by COD of this and if the borrower decides to take advantage of it their PLUS loan decision will be updated to Accepted.

For more information about Federal Direct Loans you can visit the Studentaid.gov website

150% Subsidized Loan Limits

  • First-time borrowers who receive a federal direct Stafford loan on or after July 1, 2013 will be subject to the 150% limit. This means that eligibility for direct subsidized loans have been limited to a period not to exceed 150% of the length of the borrower’s educational program. Under certain conditions, first-time borrowers who have exceeded the 150% limit may lose the interest subsidy on their direct Stafford loans. The Department of Education will be responsible for calculating a first-time borrower’s maximum eligibility period and subsidized usage periods, as well as determining whether a first-time borrower has any remaining eligibility period or will lose interest subsidy on the direct subsidized loans as a result of the 150% limit. Beginning immediately, the school is responsible for correctly reporting the direct loan academic year and loan period dates to COD, as well as providing entrance counseling to students for these new requirements. Beginning with the 2014-2015 direct loan processing year, the school will be responsible for reporting any additional program-identifying information and borrower enrollment information.

Federal Pell Grant

  • The Maximum amount of the Federal Pell Grant will increase from $5,645 to $5,730.
  • The Minimum amount of the Federal Pell Grant will decrease from $605 to $602.
  • The estimated family contribution (EFC) in which to receive a Federal Pell Grant has changed from a maximum EFC of 5,081 to 5,157.
  • Students are prohibited from receiving Pell grants from two different award years at the same time.
  • Students, who have attended and received a Pell grant at three or more schools, will need to sign an Identity and Educational Purpose Statement and provide the Financial Aid Office with copies of their transcripts (can be official or unofficial) from each college attended. This must be complete before any financial aid can be awarded.

Verification

 Submit an official Tax Return Transcript obtainable from the IRS at www.irs.gov after the 2013 Tax Return has been filed. (This is NOT required if the IRS Data Retrieval tool was used).

  • Now mandated by federal regulation without exception, students selected for Verification who have not used the IRS Data Retrieval when completing their FAFSA will be required to submit to the Financial Aid Office a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. The Financial Aid Office can no longer accept copies of the Federal Tax Return (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, Etc.)
  • JIU has partnered with Veritax, a company that can request Tax Return Transcripts from the IRS. Once the request has been made, Tax Return Transcripts are received by JIU within 48 hours. Eligible students will be provided this option to streamline the verification process.