February 20, 2013
Dear Student Support Services Project Director:
This letter is in regard to the Student Support Services Program (SSS) Annual Performance Report (APR) submission for the 2011-12 reporting year. Beginning February 20, 2013, please visit https://trio.ed.gov/sss to access the Web application. The deadline for submitting the APR is March 22, 2013.
It is imperative that you review all of the information contained in this letter carefully, with special attention to the following itemized information, prior to completing and submitting your APR for this reporting year:
- Cohort Interpretation for Graduation/Certificate and Transfer Objective (Two-year Institutions Only);
- Minimum Funded Rate Requirement (90% Rule);
- Consequences of Submitting Incorrect or Fraudulent Information on the APR;
- Prior Experience (PE) Report; and
- Minor revisions to the APR Record Structure, APR Instructions, and Web Application.
1. Cohort Interpretation for Graduation/Certificate and Transfer Objective (Two-year Institutions Only)
For this reporting period, when submitting the 2011-12 APR, two-year institutions are required to select, from two options provided, which interpretations of the cohort (denominator) will be used to calculate Prior Experience (PE) points for the associate’s degree or certificate and transfer to a four-year institution objective. This required one-time selection will determine how the graduation/transfer objective will be assessed for the 2011-12 reporting year and the remainder of this grant award cycle. Please note that once the selection is made, you cannot change it during the 2010-15 grant cycle.
The process for selecting the cohort will be provided in the Standardized Objectives Report of the Web application. Below is a brief description of the two opions; for a more detailed description, please refer to section H of the APR instructions "What’s New-Cohort Interpretation for the Graduation and Transfer Objective?" and the Appendix to the PE Report, which discusses the policies and procedures for the PE assessments. The two options are:
C2, Option 1: Number of new participants who transfer from a two-year to a four-year institution with an associate's degree or certificate within four reporting years of first entering the project.
C2, Option 2: Number of new participants who complete an associate's degree or receive a certificate and transfer from a two-year to a four year institution within four reporting years of first entering the project.
2. Minimum Funded Rate Requirement (90% Rule)
The Secretary does not award PE points for a given year to any grantee that does not serve at least 90 percent of the approved number of participants approved for the project year under consideration (see 34 CFR 646.22(b)). The approved funded number of participants is the total number of participants the project requested in its application submitted to the Department and approved by the Department at the time of funding.
3. Consequences of Submitting Incorrect or Fraudulent Information on the APR
The Department will not accept any changes to the project's APR data (or re-calculate the PE points) once the APR has been successfully submitted for the assessment year. However, if subsequently, other information such as audit reports, site visit reports, and project evaluation reports indicates the APR data used to calculate PE points are incorrect or fraudulent, the Department may decide to adjust the PE scores or not to award PE points for the assessment year being considered (see 34 CFR 646.22(a)(3)).
4. Prior Experience (PE) Report
So as to foster a more transparent process, the Department's goal is to provide, on an annual basis, SSS projects their PE scores. New to the 2011-12 reporting period, SSS projects will receive their PE scores for assessment year 2011-2012 upon successful submission of their annual performance reports.
The PE report will contain the policies used to assess your PE points, a table that summarizes the project’s approved and actual attained rates along with the PE scores (i.e., for each objective and overall). The formula for the PE calculations are provided in the Appendix to the PE report and will also be available for download via a link once the project has successfully submitted their APR data.
5. Minor Revisions to the 2011-2012 APR
The 2011-12 APR has undergone the following minor revisions:
Record Structure –
Field #31, option #5 (2nd Bachelor's degree) is no longer an option.
Field #31, option #11 has been modified as follows: Option 11 will collect information on participants who attained an associate's degree and transferred to a four-year institution within the academic year or by the beginning of the next academic year.
Field #31, option #12 is a new option and will collect information on participants who received a certificate and transferred from a two -year to a four-year institution within the academic year or by the beginning of the next academic year.
Web Application—Cohort Comparison Report
The Cohort Comparison Report provides critical information on the number of participant records for each cohort year for the previous reporting years. Maintaining the pre-established cohort numbers that your project verified last year during the Tier 1A Student Verification Process is critical when calculating a project's PE points as any variation may impact the final score.
Based on information provided by some projects during the 2010-11 APR data collection cycle, namely increases to the number of participants for the pre-established cohorts, the Cohort Comparison Report, beginning in 2011-12, will contain an edit validation check alerting projects when the number in each cohort has increased between 2010-11 and 2011-12. The Web application system will prompt the project to either return to Section II (i.e., student records) and make the necessary corrections or confirm that the increase is correct. By selecting "Confirm," the records that are being added become part of your data file. Therefore, please be advised that once you add records to the cohort(s) you will not be allowed to drop these records in subsequent reporting periods. Also, please note that in subsequent years, you will not be permitted to add any participant records to previously established cohorts.
For your convenience, the following information is being provided concerning your access to the Web application:
All grantees must register for a userid and password in order to protect the security of the APR data. Register by clicking on the "Register Here Each Year" link and enter your name and e-mail address. If your name and e-mail address match our records, you may proceed to the next step in the registration process, which is to select and answer two security questions. You are required to provide responses to these questions should you need to use the "Forgot Password" link to receive a new, temporary password. In most cases, you will not have to call the Help Desk in the event you have forgotten your password.
If you are a new project director or have recently changed your e-mail address, it is likely that your name or e-mail address will not be in our records. In this situation, you will receive an e-mail message from the Help Desk informing you that your Department's grants specialist must approve the changes before you can complete the registration process. The Help Desk will forward the request to Department staff that typically can approve these changes within 48 hours. Once the changes have been approved, you will receive an e-mail informing you that you can proceed with registering and submitting your APR.
The Help Desk
If you encounter technical problems accessing the Web site or using the Web application, please contact the Help Desk by either telephone at (703) 846-8248 or e-mail at SSSWEB@cbmiweb.com. Please note that the Help Desk will try to contact projects within 24 hours of receiving the telephone call or e-mail. The Help Desk will be available to respond to your questions on weekdays that are not Federal holidays from February 20, 2013 until March 22, 2013. During the holidays and peak times, it may take longer for you to receive a response, thus, we encourage you to prepare and submit your performance report as soon as you have collected complete data.
Please remember that, after you submit the completed APR electronically, you must also fax a signed copy of Section I of the report form to 703-832-1360 that certifies that the information submitted electronically is readily verifiable and that the information reported is accurate and complete. If for any reason you need to revise your performance report data after you submit it, please do not fax the corrections; you should contact the Help Desk for information on revising your report and resubmitting it electronically. Please note that generally the Department will be able to accommodate revisions only until the due date for submitting your APR. If you have questions regarding the performance report requirements, please contact your grants specialist directly. To ascertain your grants specialist's name, telephone number, and e-mail address, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/triostudsupp/staff.html.
Thank you for the time and effort you dedicate to performance reporting each year and for your commitment to providing complete and accurate data. Please retain source documents in a readily accessible form so that they can be verified during an on-site visit.
Eileen S. Bland
Student Support Services and
Child Care Access Means Parents In School Programs Division