By: Sherry Gray, Nick Michiels

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has requested comments regarding Form 270, which is the certification ED requires schools to submit when requesting federal funds under the Heightened Cash Monitoring 2 (HCM2) or Reimbursement payment methods.  The deadline for comments is August 14, 2017.

Background

ED places a school on HCM2 or Reimbursement in order to more closely monitor Title IV awards and disbursements.  Schools that have been placed on HCM2 or Reimbursement must credit a student’s ledger account for the amount of federal student aid funds the individual is eligible to receive, and pay the amount of any credit balance due, before the school submits a request to ED for funds.  In its request to ED for funds, the school must submit a completed Form 270 (along with other information required by ED).  All funds requested by the institution must be indicated on the Form 270.  Using the Form 270, two parties certify the information submitted is accurate:  (1) the President, Owner, or Chief Executive Officer of the institution and (2) the comptroller or third-party servicer for the institution.

Request for Comments

Last week, ED published a notice in the Federal Register requesting an extension of, and public comment on, Form 270.  82 Fed. Reg. 27252-53 (June 14, 2017).  The Supporting Statement issued by ED confirms the agency is not requesting changes to Form 270, which was last revised in December 2014.

Notably, ED asks for comments regarding whether its estimate of burden on the institution is accurate.  In the Supporting Statement, ED assumes the institution’s Financial Aid Director will work on this submission, and assumes that employee has an annual salary of $74,787 (equating to a salary cost per hour of $36).  ED estimates the Financial Aid Director will spend five hours per month on Form 270, and thus concludes the annualized cost for the institution will be $2,160.  ED’s burden estimate, however, does not appear to address that other school officials must execute the Form 270 certification and may spend time on the submission.

ED also requests comments on whether the information will be processed and used in a timely manner, and ways ED might enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected.  Institutions that have used Form 270 in the past may have valuable input on these issues.

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If you have questions or would like assistance in submitting comments to ED, please contact any of the Powers Education Group attorneys listed below:

Sherry Gray (Email: Sherry.Gray@PowersLaw.com; Phone 202-872-6778)

Stanley Freeman (Email: Stan.Freeman@PowersLaw.com; Phone 202-872-6757)

Joel Rudnick (Email: Joel.Rudnick@PowersLaw.com; Phone: 202-872-6763)