FAFSA Completion Agreement

Word version

TO:                       THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED

FROM:                 Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education

                            Michael Williams, Commissioner of Education

DATE:                  January 27, 2015

SUBJECT:            FAFSA Completion Agreement – Signature required for LEA to receive student FAFSA filing status information 

Since 2012, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in consultation with United States Department of Education staff, has piloted a project designed to provide high school counselors access to information regarding the status of their students’ Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs).  The FAFSA is the students’ gateway to federal and most state financial aid for college. Initial results from the project show that high schools that have access to FAFSA completion information can post impressive increases in the number of FAFSA filers and enabled the participating schools and their guidance counselors to target their outreach efforts and resources more effectively. The project is now moving from a broad pilot phase to full implementation under the Federal FAFSA Completion Initiative. 

Under this new initiative, states are required to execute a revised Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) Agreement with the Department of Education.  Although the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) already receives FAFSA information under the existing SAIG agreement, the revised and recently executed SAIG agreement provides the THECB the authority to continue to share FAFSA Filing Status Information in accordance with applicable laws and regulations with secondary schools, districts, and designated entities under the new SAIG parameters.

In order for local education agencies (LEAs) to be or continue to be eligible to receive their student’s FAFSA data, the district must enter into a FAFSA Completion Initiative Participation Agreement for Texas Public Secondary Education Entities (“Agreement”) with the THECB, signifying its careful management of access to the data and protection of it in accordance with FERPA.  A copy of the required Agreement, signed by THECB, is attached.  Districts (or SEEs) must complete and return the Agreement by:

- Entering the contact information for the district’s Lead Administrator or Counselor in Section 6.0 (S),

- Entering the Texas Public Secondary Education Entity name and 6-digit TEA district number in the heading of the Signatures table in Section 7.0, along with the superintendent name, title and date,
 
- Signing the agreement on page 11, and
 
- Scanning and emailing the Agreement to the THECB.  

The signed Agreement should then be sent to the attention of Jane Caldwell, Director of Student Support, applytexasapplications@thecb.state.tx.us by no later than 5:00, p.m., February 27, 2015Districts failing to submit the MOUs by this date will be denied access to the data until they have completed and submitted the document.  If you have questions, please send your queries to Jane Caldwell at the above email address.

Thank you for your cooperation.  We look forward to working with your counselors on this important initiative.

Enclosure - ISD THECB MOU