This is something that students aren't really aware of, but FA professionals know all about. A Policies & Procedures Manual is the ultimate rule book for a Financial Aid office. This is literally the collection of rules and policies for the FA office of a school. There are many places to find FA rules (FSA Handbook, Federal Reigster, etc.), but each school has differing rules which have to be kept somewhere.
The P&P Manual is very important to the operation of the FA office. Most issues that come up in the day to day routine can be fixed using information from the manual. New hires are typically given a manual to read over and study in order to become familiar with the school's FA policies and procedures. When the Dept of Education comes into the school, a P&P Manual is the first thing they will ask for.
So, you might wonder what's in one of these manuals. There is no one template or preferred style for the manual. Some schools have information in catalogs, on their website, in pamphlets, or in handbooks. The collection of these items is their manual. I always preferred to have all the information in one place so that if it's asked for by the Dept of Education, we can hand them a binder with the info included.
Our P&P Manual has five sections and three appendixes. The sections are:
- Introduction - This section has addresses of the campuses, association memberships, code of conduct, charges and fees, and definitions of credit hours, academic years, and students statuses.
- Practices of FA Administration - This section has admissions practices, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Leave of Absence and withdrawal policies, crime awareness, and drug prevention.
- FA Programs - This section has information on student eligibility and information on the different FA programs that are offered at the campuses.
- General Administration - This section has information on the FA job description, packaging information, general FA appointment interviewing procedures, dependency override policy, professional judgment policy, verification procedures, default prevention, student status confirmation reporting, and student file documentation.
- Fiscal Management - This section has information on requesting funds, institutional refund policy, and Return of Title IV Funds.
- Common FA Acronyms and Terms
- Online Resources
- Supplementary Documents - This section includes citizenship information, default management plan, organizational chart, pell grant payment schedules, sample loan repayment chart, regional Dept of Education office information, and an Exit and an Entrance Counseling booklet.