Office of Federal Student Aid
FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF FSA COMPONENTS
Chief Operating Officer
The Office of the Chief Operating Officer is responsible for effective management of Federal Student Aid (FSA) as a Performance-Based Organization (PBO). The Chief Operating Officer (COO) manages operations and support functions to ensure that best-in-business performance is consistently delivered.
Policy Liaison and Implementation Staff
The Policy Liaison and Implementation Staff serves as the principal advisor to the COO on all FSA program policy issues and facilitates FSA’s involvement in the development, implementation and dissemination of FSA program policy.
Policy Issue Identification
- Identify policy issues affecting the administrative, accounting and financial management of the FSA (FSA) delivery system and refer these matters to the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) for resolution.
- Assist the COO in providing advice to OPE in development of regulations, policies, administrative guidance and procedures affecting the information systems administered by FSA and other functions performed by FSA.
- Identify legislative and regulatory changes for improving service to FSA recipients and for improving the efficiency and integrity of the student financial assistance programs and recommend such changes to OPE.
- Develop and submit policy options, including impact statements, for consideration of senior Departmental political and executive management.
- Advise and collaborate with OPE in the development of regulations, policies, and administrative guidance affecting the information systems administered by FSA and other functions performed by FSA.
- Work with all relevant FSA offices to implement OPE policy decisions.
- Report to the COO and OPE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation on status of the implementation of those policy decisions.
- Provide policy guidance and OPE policy interpretations to both internal ED colleagues and to external partners and customers (e.g.; schools, lenders agencies and associations).
- Respond to policy queries submitted by internal and external parties either directly or through other FSA operating units (e.g.; customer service, system call centers, Case Management, Financial Partners and FSA Training Branch).
- Draft Bulletins and Dear Partner letters (i.e., administrative communications to participating entities related to policy implementation and operational issues).
- Support FSA training on new and existing policies.
- Ensure consistency and integration of FSA policy across FSA programs and operations.
- Support FSA program operations and assist management in implementing FSA policy decisions and serving as liaison between FSA offices and OPE in resolving issues related to policy implementation.
- Prepare and publish Federal Register Notices for Data Matching Agreements, Systems of Records, etc.
- Develop and prepare for government clearance various forms required for the FSA programs.
Communications & Outreach Staff
Communications & Outreach is responsible for managing all activities within FSA related to internal and external communications and conferences, special outreach activities, Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act, and controlled correspondence. The Director’s office manages the overall operation, and in doing so, seeks to build and sustain FSA’s image by ensuring consistency in communications. The staff compiles, tracks, and reports relevant enterprise and industry performance metrics. Strategy is developed to effectively disseminate information to various public and stakeholder groups through the media, established inter-governmental channels, and proactive campaigns. The development, design, and delivery of an internal communications strategy through a variety of media to support the needs of FSA and its business units, and to aid in making FSA one of the best places to work in government is a key responsibility,
The staff is divided into the following service areas:
- Conference & Outreach Services Team
- Correspondence Services Team
Conference & Outreach Services Team
- Conference and Outreach Services provides management of Federal Student Aid's enterprise conference strategy and coordinates the annual FSA conferences. It also assists the Department, when requested, in planning and delivery of conference activities. The organization is also responsible for planning and development of outreach initiatives. In particular, Conference and Outreach Services is responsible for the following functional areas:
- Conference Management: The conference management team plans and manages FSA-sponsored conferences as well as the enterprise conference strategy. This team is also responsible for coordinating FSA's support of and participation in conferences held by the student financial assistance and higher education communities. Furthermore this unit provides assistance, when requested, to the Department in planning and managing conference events.
- Outreach: From time to time, the COO will call upon this unit to support planning and execution of outreach initiatives to various constituencies. The unit will define requirements to be met, design (or supervise) the design of the delivery means, and provide the oversight to assure that the implementation of the communications service fulfills the intent of the COO.
Correspondence Services Team
- As needed, in coordination with the ED Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act Officers, this team is responsible for establishing systems, procedures, and controls to coordinate and fulfill, within regulatory timeframes, requests for information under the FOIA and Privacy Acts. Requests, as well as any extensions needed, will be tracked.
- This unit also receives reviews, disseminates for appropriate action, and tracks controlled correspondence.
Business Intelligence Staff
The Business Intelligence (BI) Staff is responsible for the creation, maintenance and quality of all FSA Enterprise Data Standards for key customer and program reference data along with enforcement of data acquisition, management and distribution methods, procedures and policies across FSA. This group is the business lead for FSA’s core customer and program service depository, This staff partners with FSA technology data architecture to ensure that FSA’s global data architecture supports its long term business strategy. The staff collaborates with FSA system owners and developers to eliminate barriers (technical and organizational) to effective interfacing of customer and program reference data across FSA systems. It is responsible for increasing the the understanding and awareness of data governance across the FSA enterprise. It ensures the development of rigorous business cases for strategic data initiaitves that yield benefits to cross-functional FSA business units and escalates deviation from nonstrategic goals.
BI develops, implements, and maintains an integrated FSA reference data strategy to support FSA-wide processes, such as customer segmentation, risk aggregation, business productivity, and financial reporting. The staff ensures that FSA effectively manages data to provide information for optimal decision making.
Strategic Planning And Reporting Staff
The Strategic Planning and Reporting Staff provides strategic measurement initiatives and data in order to track program and organizational performance. Staff will leverage internal administrative assistance as well as a production team to focus efforts on strategic value-adding tasks and activities and performs the following functions:
- Develops, executes, and continually improves the strategic planning process so that the organization has a clear and consistent approach to improving performance. The outputs of this process include an annually updated Five Year Performance Plan as well as the associated annual plans;
- Develops and maintains the assessment of key Federal Student Aid metrics;
- Tracks and measures Management Council and/or Chief Operating Officer assigned initiatives (e.g., Annual Performance Plan). Communicates results of annual plans and Management Council initiatives on a bi-weekly, quarterly, and annual basis;
- Implements measurement processes to ensure the necessary and needed performance information is available, including employee surveys, customer surveys, and performance metrics;
- Provides support to the organization concerning performance reporting and performance measures mandated by, e.g., the Office of Management and Budget; and
- Performs data analysis and reporting (e.g., program data and Congressionally mandated reporting).