Office of Federal Student Aid
FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF FSA COMPONENTS
A. 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.
Business Intelligence Staff
The Business Intelligence 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 chairs the Information Management Council, serving as the business lead for FSA’s core customer and program data repository.
Partner with FSA’s Technology Data Architecture to ensure that FSA’s global data architecture supports its long-term business strategy. Partner with FSA system owners and developers to eliminate barriers (technical and organizational) to effective interface of customer and program reference data across FSA systems. Increase the understanding and awareness of data governance across key leaders in FSA. Ensure the development of rigorous business cases for strategic data initiatives that yield benefits to cross-functional FSA business units and escalate deviation from non-strategic goals
Develop, implement and maintain an integrated FSA reference data strategy to support FSA wide processes, such as customer segmentation, risk aggregation, business productivity, and financial reporting. The group ensures that FSA effectively manages the following data types to provide information for optimal decision making:
- Customer Data
- Transactional Data
- Program Data
- Financial Data
- Operational Data
Serve as FSA business liaison for Department data projects to ensure that FSA partners effectively to share data where appropriate across the Department of Education. Ensure appropriate sharing of all data with regards compliance requirements. Optimize use of 3rd party vendor data across the platform to enhance internal and external data flow. Implement metrics and tracking to chart progress in implementing data standards. Work closely with FSA Technology, Risk Management, Operations, Compliance, Customer Experience and Finance groups in the development and deployment of FSA data strategies.
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:
- Developing, executing, and continually improving 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;
- Developing and maintaining the assessment of key Federal Student Aid metrics;
- Tracking and measuring Management Council and/or Chief Operating Officer assigned initiatives (e.g., Annual Performance Plan). Communicating results of annual plans and Management Council initiatives on a bi-weekly, quarterly, and annual basis;
- Implementing measurement processes to ensure the necessary and needed performance information is available, including employee surveys, customer surveys, and performance metrics;
- Providing support to the organization concerning performance reporting and performance measures mandated by, e.g., the Office of Management and Budget; and
- Performing data analysis and reporting (e.g., program data and Congressionally mandated reporting).
Communications & Outreach Staff
Communications & Outreach is responsible for managing all activities within Federal Student Aid related to internal and external communications and conferences as well as special outreach initiatives. To accomplish this mission, the office is divided into the following service areas:
- Communications & Information Resources Team
- Conference & Outreach Services Team
- Correspondence Services Team
Communications & Information Resources Team
- Communications & Information Resources seeks to build and sustain Federal Student Aid's image, ensure consistency in communications, and compile, track and report relevant enterprise and industry performance metrics. In particular, Communications & Information Resources is responsible for the following functional areas:
- Communications Management: Provides the best-in-business communication service to the public and the Federal Student Aid organization. This functional area is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to effectively disseminate information to various public and stakeholder groups through the media, established inter-governmental channels and proactive campaigns. Internally, this functional area facilitates communications within Federal Student Aid to employees and contractors through several print publications and online outlets, including Federal Student Aid's Intranet. Communications Management is also responsible for the compilation and dissemination of general enterprise and industry performance metrics for use by Federal Student Aid and its constituents.
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 Federal Student Aid-sponsored conferences as well as the enterprise conference strategy. This team is also responsible for coordinating Federal Student Aid'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 FOIA and Privacy Act. Requests, as well as any extensions needed, will be tracked.
- This unit also receives reviews, disseminates for appropriate action, and tracks controlled correspondence.