Financial Aid offers a seamless interaction between online (manual) awarding, Auto Packaging, and background Mass Packaging.

 

Packaging plans are used by Auto Packaging and Mass Packaging, and the awards they generate appear on the same page you use for manual awarding. Award packages can be modified manually after they are generated by an automated process.

 

This lesson covers early decision awarding, reviewing information relevant to awarding, awarding and packaging financial aid, repackaging, auto repackaging, award notification, and award updating.

 

A note about terminology: Awarding and packaging are often used interchangeably. In this lesson, awarding indicates the offering of one financial aid item type (award) at a time manually to a student. Packaging refers to a process where many awards are given at one time to a student in a financial aid award package. Packaging is driven by rules predefined by the U.S. Department of Education and/or your institution through packaging plans.

 

To make early financial aid offers to students, use award categories instead of specific awards. Using award categories enables you to give "early decision" students an idea of what types of financial aid they may receive without committing to exact awards. Because you define the categories as you award early decision offers, you can decide what categories work for your institution. For example, you may use categories for loans, scholarships, work-study, and grants. When you award actual financial aid monies to the student, you must award specific financial aid item types using one of the methods of awarding or packaging.

 

Prior to awarding or packaging students, review information for selecting awards for these students, such as aggregate aid limits, restricted aid awards, and the student’s status in the financial aid cycle. You can view aggregate aid information by aggregate area, such as Perkins or Stafford. If your institution uses NSLDS totals for the federal Stafford Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Perkins, Pell and SEOG programs, ensure that NSLDS data has been correctly loaded and pushed to the aggregate tables for direct use by the awarding and packaging processes. NSLDS totals are pushed to a specific aid year and you can override them on the Incoming Aggregate Aid component. You can also view a summary of aggregate aid for a student or look at aggregate information by institution. Use inquiry pages to monitor a process used to award restricted aid to students. Graduate departments that award merit-based aid probably use the Restricted Aid pages. These pages provide information about the progress of the restricted aid awarding cycle so committee members can enter their final decision including the restricted aid award amount. This information can then be used to enter the restricted aid award for a student.

 

The Financial Aid Status page includes information about the status of the financial aid application, the student's institutional or federal verification status, a student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status, and information related to packaging. Use the fields on the Financial Aid Status to stop the awarding process if appropriate parameters are established. For example, you may want to award federal awards only if the student is meeting SAP or not to package students who are determined not "ready to package." To change a value on the Financial Aid Status page for a group of students, use Population Update to set a field to the desired value.

 

In addition to the fields on the Financial Aid Status page, there are links to other pages that enable you to review and, in some cases, make changes to a student’s information. These other pages contain Financial Aid Term (FA Term) summary information, ISIR data, database match information, the student’s financial need calculated with federal and institutional methodology (FM and IM), Pell processing information, Pell eligibility calculation overrides, restricted aid information, and the current financial aid award package information.

 

After reviewing the information, you are ready to award and package students. You can manually award online one student at a time entering awards one by one, or you can use one of two automated processes to package students individually or in a group. Auto Packaging is done online at the student level and uses a packaging plan (a set of institutionally defined rules for awarding) to award a student. After Auto Packaging has generated a financial aid award package for the student, you can make manual changes to those awards in the student's package prior to saving the information. Mass Packaging is a background process for packaging groups of students using one or more packaging plans. With Mass Packaging, you use a query definition to select your student population based on the selection criteria tied to the packaging plan. The system then assigns the appropriate packaging plan to each student. Finally, you initiate the Mass Packaging routine, which packages groups of students based on the packaging plan to which they were assigned. At each step, you can further define your targeted populations by removing individual students from the selection or packaging plan assignment process.

 

A validation process must be performed to check that all federal eligibility rules, aggregate aid limits, fiscal fund balances and rules, award rules and limits, and packaging plan rules are met. In Mass Packaging and Auto Packaging, this is done when the award package is generated. For manual awarding, click the Validate button to initiate the validation process.

 

Once a student has been packaged, they can be notified of their award package by a financial aid award notification (FAN). To generate a FAN, assign a communication to a student and use your choice of mail merge software. If awards change for a student, multiple FAN letters can be sent.

 

After you package a student, there might be considerable changes to the student's financial situation which might require the student to be repackaged. Repackaging is a new feature in People Soft 9.0 that reevaluates awards and maintains a package that adheres to the packaging philosophy of your institution.

 

If a student declines the financial aid offered or declines a category of aid, such as loans, you can make these changes using a mass action. Mass actions allow you to accept, cancel, or decline all or specific categories of aid.

 

After a student has been packaged, and throughout the aid year, you can view summary information regarding the student's awards and the disbursement of those awards. You can also review anticipated aid to see which awards have not been disbursed.

 

One important source of Financial aid is external awards. An external award can be defined as any award detail that is managed outside the realm of the Student Administration Financial Aid Packaging feature. Various data sources update the core set of External Award Staging tables. After external award data or transactions update the staging tables, a separate External Award Load process is run to determine whether and how the external award data is to update the student award tables. The result of the External Award Load process updates the processing status field that is maintained for each external award transaction.

 

Students can report external awards using self-service pages. Such awards can be reviewed and updated using the Manage External Awards Data component.

 

Prerequisites

Although you can award students manually, it is most efficient to package financial aid awards with Auto Packaging and/or Mass Packaging. You are encouraged to set up the parameters needed for Auto Packaging and Mass Packaging.

 

For manual awarding—assigning individual awards to students, one student at a time—you must set up your defaults (installation defaults and aid processing rule sets), financial aid item types, aggregate aid limits, disbursement plans and disbursement split codes, award adjustment reasons, and award messages for Financial Aid Notification letters.

 

Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to:

• Enter other educational resource information.

• View student packaging status.

• Update incoming aggregate aid information.

• View aggregate aid summary and aid by school.

• Manually award financial aid.

• Manage external awards.

• Auto package financial aid.

• Revise awards.

• Repackage an individual student.

• View anticipated aid.

• Expire anticipated aid.

• View award activity.

• View award notification summary.

• View the annual award summary.


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