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Training for New Financial Aid Professionals

Fundamentals Training Series

This training is a comprehensive, two-course series that covers the basics of administering the Federal Student Aid programs. It is required when schools apply for initial participation in the Federal Student Aid programs and, in some cases, when a change of ownership occurs. It is also open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Please note: Both the owner/CEO (or a high-level school official designee) and a financial aid administrator must complete both courses in their entirety to fulfill the training requirement for schools that are seeking to begin participation in the Federal Student Aid programs, that are undergoing a change in ownership, or that are required to attend by the U.S. Department of Education for some other reason. Read the training announcement.

The two courses are:

  • FSA Coach Fundamentals (formerly known as Introduction to Federal Student Aid), an online self-paced tutorial that introduces the concepts, processes, and systems that schools must utilize in administering the Federal Student Aid Programs. This online course must be successfully completed by anyone who wishes to register for the second required course, Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration.
  • Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration, a 3.5-day in-person, instructor-led course offered either at one of the Department's regional offices or at a location near a regional office, which reinforces and applies the concepts of Federal Student Aid administration introduced in the online course.

You must successfully complete the online course, FSA Coach Fundamentals, before you will be able to register for one of the Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration workshops. The online course may take 20 to 30 hours to complete, so please plan accordingly.

Access the online course

  1. To access the online FSA Coach Fundamentals course and receive information about the registration process, go to the Federal Student Aid E-Training website at
  2. Log in using your username and password. If you do not have a username and password for Federal Student Aid E-Training, click on "Create new account" on the homepage and follow the instructions to create a username and password.
  3. After logging in, click on the Fundamentals Training Series box in the middle of the homepage.
  4. Click on the Let’s Get Started tab, the link in the first bullet, and the FSA Coach Fundamentals course.

View the dates and locations of Fundamentals of Federal Student Aid Administration workshops scheduled for November 2019–September 2020. Classes are held for everyone from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 9 a.m.–1 p.m. on Friday. There are also additional required classes for owners/presidents/CEOs on Wednesday and Thursday beginning at 8 a.m. Please make your travel plans accordingly.

This year we are offering two workshops that are exclusively for schools with clock-hour programs (though clock-hour schools may enroll in any available workshop). The clock-hour-only workshops are scheduled for February 25–28, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia, and May 5–8, 2020, in Dallas, Texas. Again, only schools with clock-hour programs will be allowed to attend these two workshops.

Q's & A's about the Fundamentals of FSA Administration workshop


FSA Coach Web-based Training

FSA Coach is a suite of interactive courses for new and experienced financial aid administrators in the essential knowledge and skills needed to successfully administer the federal student aid programs.

The 2017–2018 Basic Training course is a comprehensive and self-paced online course that is written at an introductory level. It offers 37 lessons in the fundamentals of federal student aid program administration and provides more than 35 hours of instruction.

To complement the Basic Training course, the 2017–2018 Intermediate Training course offers training in these specific areas of interest to more experienced financial aid administrators:

  • Beyond the Basics of Packaging: Awarding for Summer Sessions and Modules
  • Beyond the Basics of R2T4, Including R2T4 for Modules
  • Limits to Direct Subsidized Loan Interest Benefits
  • Monitoring for Pell Grant LEU and Resolving Unusual Enrollment History Flags
  • Administering Federal Student Aid Programs in Nonstandard Terms (new for 2016–2017)

The Advanced Training course is updated for 2017–2018 and will be of interest to financial aid directors, supervisory staff, and experienced financial aid staff seeking to learn more about these advanced topics:

  • A Primer for New Financial Aid Directors
  • Audits and Program Reviews
  • Cash Management

The 2017–2018 Basic Training for Foreign Schools course offers a self-paced, interactive training opportunity for financial aid administrators and school officials working in foreign schools. It comprises 26 lessons and more than 25 hours of training in the fundamentals of federal student aid program administration with a focus on foreign school participation in the Direct Loan Program.

FSA Coach lessons can be completed individually or as part of a full course, allowing users to tailor the training to their specific needs. In addition, the lessons feature hyperlinks to other Federal Student Aid information and products, interactive exercises, review questions, and quizzes that help learners assess their mastery of the course material.

To access the training, log in to Federal Student Aid E-Training with your username and password. After logging in, point your cursor to "FSA Coach Suite Courses" on the main menu bar and choose "Coach Basic," "Coach Intermediate," "Coach Advanced," or "Coach Basic for Foreign Schools," as appropriate, to launch the course.

Note: If you do not have a username and password for Federal Student Aid E-Training, select "Create new account" from the home page and follow the instructions to create a username and password.

The training may also be accessed from the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website at

go to FSA COACH website

Web Demo: FAFSA on the Web and FAA Access to CPS Online

The CPS Web Applications Demo System offers demonstration versions of FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) and FAA Access to CPS Online. The demo site contains all of the features of the production versions of the websites.

Financial aid staff can learn about FOTW and FAA Access to CPS Online, including the Return of Title IV Funds on the Web, and they can also show students and parents how to use FAFSA on the Web.

Test student IDs and PINs are available for preloaded renewal application and correction records. These test records can be accessed in both the FOTW and FAA Access demos. FAA IDs and PINs are available for FAA Access. The data you enter is saved for the day you enter it and is cleared from the database each evening.

The CPS Web Applications Demo site is located at


Last updated July 24, 2019

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