ED Releases Additional COVID-19 Guidance on Distance Education Flexibility, R2T4, Campus-Based Aid – NASFAA
The Department of Education (ED) on Friday released an electronic announcement detailing additional COVID-19 regulatory flexibilities, including those related to return of Title IV (R2T4) funds, satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and reporting requirements for institutions while extending the approval for distance education, among other things.
While the guidance provides answers to several of NASFAA’s outstanding questions, it does not provide any further clarification on a major outstanding question: how institutions are to determine if a student meets Title IV-eligibility requirements (for purposes of receiving emergency grant funding) without having a FAFSA on file. Although ED’s April 21 guidance stated that students were not required to have completed a FAFSA in order to receive emergency grants, having one on file would be the only practicable way for an institution to determine that a student meets all applicable eligibility requirements.
Extension of Distance Education Flexibilities
The announcement explained ED is expanding the broad approval for the use of distance education granted in the April 3, 2020 guidance to include payment periods that overlap March 5, 2020, or that begin on or between March 5, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.