Assessment & Compliance

Operational Review

This comprehensive assessment includes an evaluation of the people, processes, and technology that are part of a school’s financial aid operations. Following the operational review, we provide schools with a customized action plan to reduce compliance risks, improve efficiencies, and streamline the flow of paper and electronic data.

Similar to a federal program review, our service begins with an on-campus visit during which we will interview staff, and review institutional eligibility  documents, policies and procedures, and student files. In addition, we analyze the staffing level and expertise in the financial aid office, examine how operations are coordinated at the institution, and evaluate the school’s general use of technology to support financial aid processing. By conducting an inventory of existing policies and procedures, and reviewing how the policies and procedures are applied in a sampling of student files, we can help uncover any processing gaps or compliance shortfalls. We will then provide detailed recommendations to help put your school on the right track for meeting regulatory requirements and best practices in the financial aid operations.

ECG’s operational review service provides a preventive risk assessment before  your next audit or program review.

Audit & Program Review Resolution

Responding to an audit or program review can be time consuming, particularly if your school is required to complete a file reconstruction or implement other corrective actions. With our hands-on campus experience and subject matter expertise covering regulatory and compliance issues, we can help your school resolve findings and reduce potential liabilities from an audit or program review.

Beforehand, we will help prepare the files and materials required by the auditing firm or program reviewer. During the site visit, we can provide on-campus support to answer questions from the auditor or federal officials. After the site visit has concluded, we will assist with:

  • Reviewing findings cited in the audit report or program review determination
  • Researching regulatory issues
  • Performing any required file reconstructions
  • Designing and implementing corrective actions
  • Preparing the school’s response to the U.S. Department of Education, including appeals

Our audit and program review resolution service will allow your financial aid staff to focus on the important tasks of administering financial aid for your students, and help minimize the extra pressure from these periodic reviews.

Consumer Disclosure Assessment

Schools are required to disclose a broad range of information for students and families, updated annually, and report certain data to the U.S. Department of Education each year. Under this service, we will complete a thorough inventory and risk assessment of your school’s current practices related to consumer disclosures and reporting.

The mandate to disclose consumer information and related data affects several different areas of a school and failure to meet these requirements has been cited as a top audit/program review finding. As a final deliverable for this service, we will design a customized matrix that can be updated annually to help track your school’s ongoing compliance with consumer disclosure and reporting requirements.

Policies & Procedures Development

Maintaining up-to-date policies and procedures is not only a compliance requirement for the financial aid office, it is also essential for helping ensure that the financial aid staff processes aid consistently. Even so, for many schools, finding time to document their financial aid policies and procedures is an ongoing challenge.

ECG will review and assess your school’s policies and procedures to determine if all compliance areas are adequately covered and whether the documentation  meets minimum federal requirements. We can also assist with drafting school-specific policy statements and procedural documentation, including system  documentation, and provide strategies for updating the information on an annual basis.