About Our Service
What is Clearinghouse enrollment reporting?
Our Enrollment Reporting provides U.S. postsecondary institutions with automated enrollment verification and deferment reporting on their financial aid students to the education finance industry and the Department of Education.
How does enrollment reporting work?
Once your institution signs our participation agreement, the Clearinghouse becomes your agent for confirming the enrollment status of your student financial aid recipients. Periodically, you need to report the enrollment status for all your students to the Clearinghouse via secure FTP. The Clearinghouse, in turn, provides status and deferment information, on your behalf, to guaranty agencies, lenders, servicers, and the Department of Education's NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System).
The Clearinghouse process identifies borrowers who:
- Withdraw from school and need to begin repayment
- Transfer from one school to another
- Return to school and may be eligible for a deferment
- Continue in school and are eligible for deferment extension
What do you do with the data we send to you?
Once your data is received, we check it thoroughly for accuracy. After it has passed our edits and we have resolved any discrepancies with you, we compare your school's enrollment list to our student loan borrowers list, provided by our participating guarantors and lenders. When we find or "match" students who appear on both your list and the lender/guarantor lists, the Clearinghouse electronically passes them onto to those students' lenders and guarantors. Non-participating lenders and servicers receive enrollment data from their guarantors.
In addition, the Department of Education, guarantors, lenders, and servicers use the Clearinghouse to check student enrollment status, either current or historical. For example, the NSLDS submits borrower files to the Clearinghouse as frequently as every 30 days. We update the borrowers' enrollment status and return the files to the NSLDS, helping to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Some lenders send deferment forms to students, which are then forwarded to us by our participating schools to complete using the enrollment data they have provided to us. Many Clearinghouse guarantors, lenders, and servicers query our participating institutions' data directly through our secure Web site to verify the dates when students graduated or withdrew.
What happens when a lender contacts the Clearinghouse to verify a student's information?
If a lender participates in the Clearinghouse, we provide the requested information. The Clearinghouse has a contractual relationship with its participants, ensuring that their requests are authorized and legitimate. Non-Clearinghouse lenders, however, must submit their enrollment verification to us through the school.
As a Clearinghouse participant, what information do I have access to?
Once you join the Clearinghouse, you will receive a password to access our school secure site, from which you can instantly confirm the enrollment information you have sent us. You can also verify that the Clearinghouse has notified lenders, guarantors, and the NSLDS of a student's enrollment status, including the dates that the Clearinghouse processed deferment forms. In addition, you can review your submission processing status and schedules.
Compliance, Audits & Data Security
Does participation in the Clearinghouse comply with FERPA?
Yes. The U.S. Department of Education has stated that a school's release of personally identifiable information from student education records to the Clearinghouse does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Their letter is available upon request.
How can I respond to an auditor wanting to know if I have completed my NSLDS SSCR?
Does the Clearinghouse retain historical data?
The Clearinghouse has made the maintenance of historical information and audit trails a key priority.
Upon request, we will provide:
- History, by participating school, of all status records submitted to the Clearinghouse
- History, by participating school, of status and deferment information requests by lenders and guarantors as well as our response to those requests
- History, by student, of all status updates received from schools and reports to lenders and guarantors
Access to enrollment information and notification histories is available to participating schools, guarantors, and servicers via our secure site.
How can I be sure that the Clearinghouse will provide enrollment information only to legitimate entities?
Your agreement with the Clearinghouse allows us to share personally identifiable enrollment data only with stipulated authorized entities, including a student's guarantor, lender, servicer, the U.S. Department of Education, or the student's former school for compliance with the Student Right to Know Act. Acting as each participating school's contractual agent, the Clearinghouse ensures that enrollment information is shared only with student loan providers or other legitimate entities by enforcing the following operational procedures:
- Only schools and student loan providers (guarantors, lenders, and servicers) and other authorized entities are can participate in the Clearinghouse.
- Schools and student loan providers must sign a contract warranting that they will seek status information only on former students (if they are a school) or borrowers (if they are a loan provider).
Schools and student loan providers commit, in their Clearinghouse contract, to request data only for students whose enrollment data they have a right to know in carrying out their responsibilities under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, the Student Right to Know Act, and other authorized purposes.
Deferments & Deferment Forms
Why do we still get deferment forms?
Servicers that do not yet participate in the Clearinghouse still request paper deferment forms. However, most of the largest servicers offer "paperless deferments" whereby students from a Clearinghouse school can request a deferment over the phone. These servicers rely on electronic enrollment status supplied by the Clearinghouse instead of using paper forms.
Which deferment forms should we send to the Clearinghouse?
Forward FFELP and Direct Loan program deferment forms to the Clearinghouse. Please make sure that your students fill out the deferment forms before you forward them to us, including the lender's name and address and the student's Social Security Number. If you like, we can also process Perkins and private loan program deferment forms for a small fee. The fee is waived if your institution participates in our free EnrollmentVerify service.
Should students mail deferment forms directly to the Clearinghouse?
No. It is much more efficient — and the student will likely receive the deferment quicker — if deferment forms are regularly bundled together and sent to the Clearinghouse by the school rather than individually by students. Please instruct your students to return their deferment forms to you. That way, you can be sure that only the appropriate forms are sent to the Clearinghouse.
Should we tell students to contact the Clearinghouse directly?
Students should only contact the Clearinghouse if they have a problem that cannot be resolved in your office. Most student questions can be answered by accessing our secure Web site or contacting the student's servicer. (Contact your school's Clearinghouse Web administrator for authorization to access our secure site and obtain a password.) We also offer answers to the questions most commonly asked by students on our Web site, www.MyStudentCenter.org.
Why haven't our students' deferments been processed yet?
This situation can occur for various reasons. Here are several questions you can answer that will allow you to identify and correct the problem.
Was your enrollment data reported on schedule? Check our secure Web site to find out when you were scheduled to deliver your enrollment data to us, when your data was actually submitted, and when the Clearinghouse processed it. The Clearinghouse cannot notify your students' lenders until you submit data to us. If you are late in submitting your data to us, we cannot pass updated enrollment information onto your students' lenders and guarantors in a timely fashion, which may result in lenders prematurely contacting your student borrowers for repayment. You may wish to talk to your staff about the importance of adhering to your Clearinghouse schedule, as they may not be aware of the consequences when data arrives late.
On our secure Web site, you can also find out when the Clearinghouse electronically notified an individual student's lenders and when we completed that student's deferment forms. (Contact your school's Clearinghouse Web administrator for authorization to access our secure site and obtain a password.)
- How far is your end-of-registration period from the beginning of the term? If your end-of-registration period occurs significantly after the beginning of the term, you may want to schedule an "early registration file." Submitting an early registration file enables the Clearinghouse to send out enrollment information almost as soon as the term begins rather than waiting several weeks.
- Is the student enrolled in a special program of study? If so, the student may be enrolled part-time at your school and part-time somewhere else, with neither school reporting the student as full-time and thus eligible for deferment.
What are the most common enrollment file errors?
The two most common errors are:
- Decreasing in status without the new start date (201 error)
- Not reporting students previously enrolled in the term (208 error)
How can I reduce the number of errors in our enrollment file?
Print out the errors displayed on our Online Error Resolution application and take the list to your student information system vendor or IT department. These data elements are in your system and should be extracted when you create your files. Ask your IT staff to explain why these data elements were omitted or have them correct the omission.
How do I correct name mismatches (Error #251, 289, 253, and 290)?
You should confirm that the student's Social Security number is correct in your student information system (typos and transposed numbers happen all the time). If it is correct, fax a copy of the Social Security card or other government-issued ID to the Clearinghouse's secure fax number, 703-742-7792. If it is incorrect, correct the student's Social Security number in your student information system to ensure that we receive the correction in your next data file.
Why do we need to provide an Anticipated Graduation Date (AGD)?
The federal government requires schools to provide an anticipated graduation date (AGD) for each student. Lenders depend on AGDs to determine the start of their collection process if they have not been notified of the students' actual graduation or withdrawal from school. The AGD is also used to schedule the exit interview process for students. In addition, AGDs enable lenders to validate student deferments until the AGD (or until the student withdraws or graduates) and not just for the current term.
Why is enrollment information on all students reported?
Some students may have received student loans at a previous institution before transferring to your institution without receiving a new student loan. If you reported enrollment data only on students who receive student loans at your institution, the Clearinghouse would be unable to correctly report to guarantors and lenders that the transfer-in student borrower was enrolled and eligible for loan deferment. Additionally, it is operationally simpler for most schools to report on all students.
How do we report a student who did not attend our current term?
You should not report a student who did not attend your current term. The Clearinghouse calculates the student's last date of attendance for you based on the student's enrollment history.
How does the Clearinghouse generate graduate only files from DegreeVerify?
At your request, the Clearinghouse will append the graduated status from your DegreeVerify file to your enrollment record once you submit your DegreeVerify file after the term ends.
Should we report our non-degree seeking students?
While we advise that you report all students to the Clearinghouse, whether or not you report non-degree seeking students depends on your school's policy.
Can I report international students?
Yes, but you must report additional data elements to the Clearinghouse, including College Student IDs. As long as you provide valid College Student IDs, the Clearinghouse can accept records for students who do not have Social Security numbers, like international students. Once you start reporting international students, their enrollment data will become available for verification through our free Student Self-Service and EnrollmentVerify services, if you participate.
When should enrollment reports be sent to the Clearinghouse?
Timing and frequency of enrollment reporting vary from school to school and depend on each school's calendar, clock methodology (clock hours, semester, trimester) and break periods. We recommend that semester schools generate a report four times during the term:
- Census date
- Every 30-45 days (subsequent-of-term)
- Term end
You can contact the Clearinghouse for guidance in developing a reporting schedule tailored to your school's needs, if necessary.
How do I update or change my transmission schedule?
You can submit updates and changes to your transmission schedule via our school secure site. On the Student Reporting tab, select the first option "Create or Edit Future Transmission Schedule" under "Select Query Type."
When should we report our First-of-Term File?
We recommend that you report your First-of-Term file after the first add/drop period, which usually occurs two to three weeks into the term. To ensure your institution's compliance, your First-of-Term file must be received, processed, and reported to the lending community within 30 days of the term begin date.
When is the earliest that we can submit an Early Registration file?
Early registration file can be submitted 30 days before the term's start date and up to 10 days after the term begins.
Should I send in an Early Registration file for a non-standard term?
No. An Early Registration file is not necessary for non-standard terms (although, if you participate in Student Self-Service, we recommend that you submit an Advanced Registration file).
Why do you need summer data if it isn't a required term?
Sending summer data to the Clearinghouse enables us to accurately report the student's last date of attendance and provide a complete enrollment history for the student. If you offer summer programs, you should report them to the Clearinghouse. It also allows the student to obtain enrollment verifications from our secure Web site, if you participate in our free Student Self-Service.
How can I verify that you processed my information?
You can verify that your information has been processed by checking the secure portion of this web site. (Contact your school's Clearinghouse Web administrator for authorization to access our secure site and obtain a password.)
Gainful Employment Reporting
What is Gainful Employment Reporting?
Gainful Employment Reporting is a new option available under our Enrollment Reporting service (also known as Core) in which the Clearinghouse will submit a participating postsecondary institution's Gainful Employment (GE) to the Department of Education on its behalf, as required under §75 FR 66832.
What benefits can my office realize by participating in your Gainful Employment Reporting service?
Adding our free Gainful Employment Reporting option affords you the convenience and efficiency of outsourcing all your compliance reporting through the Clearinghouse. On your behalf, the Clearinghouse:
- Performs appropriate edit checks on your GE data set and provides the edited submission for your review and approval.
- Submits your student-level GE reports to the Department of Education after you have approved your GE file.
- Provides you with an aggregate view on our school secure site of the information you are reporting to NSLDS.
We only need to report a small number of students, why is this service still valuable to us?
Reporting your Gainful Employment data through the Clearinghouse enables you to quickly review and correct your file before it's submitted to NSLDS, reducing the likelihood that it will be rejected by NSLDS.
Is there a cost to participate?
No, our Gainful Reporting service is free to collegiate institutions.
What is the deadline for submitting gainful employment reports to NSLDS?
The deadline for the 2011-2012 Award Year is October 15, 2012.
What format should we use to send our Gainful Employment file to the Clearinghouse?
You should use one of the two file formats created by NSLDS and available in their Gainful Employment User Guide, which can be found on the FSA's Gainful Employment page. Once your file is ready to be submitted, you can send it to us via your existing Clearinghouse secure FTP account.
Must we provide information for all of our students? If so, what programs need to be provided?
You only need to provide information for programs that you have previously identified as Gainful Employment programs, and the students who participated in them during the reporting period.
How will error resolution be handled? Will NSLDS contact us? Who fixes errors in our files?
Once we receive your file, the Clearinghouse will automatically perform edit checks on your Gainful Employment data set. You will receive an email with instructions when the file is ready for your review on our school secure site. (If your GE contact with the Clearinghouse does not have a User Web ID, please see the Clearinghouse User Administrator at your institution to obtain one.) Any edits that we performed along with any file errors or warnings that we identified will be displayed. Upon review, you can approve your file for release to NSLDS or reject it.
You will also receive an email from us if the Clearinghouse is notified by NSLDS that it has rejected one or more records in the Gainful Employment data file that we submitted on your behalf. Federal regulations require that you submit corrected data within 10 days of our receipt of this file, which you can view on our school secure site. You are responsible for correcting and resubmitting to the Clearinghouse any records that were rejected by NSLDS within that period. Once your resubmitted file is ready for review and approval, we will send you an email.
How do we sign up?
- Sign and return the addendum to your existing Clearinghouse agreement.
- Once we receive your signed addendum, we will send you a Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) form, which will note the areas that you need to sign in order to designate the Clearinghouse as your school's third-party servicer.
- Sign and mail the original copy of your SAIG form to the Clearinghouse for processing with NSLDS. Once we receive your SAIG form, you can begin submitting your Gainful Employment files.
CORA: Online Enrollment Reporting for Small Institutions
What Is CORA?
The Clearinghouse Online Reporting Application (CORA) is a secure online application that enables small colleges (fewer than 250 students) to participate in the Clearinghouse's compliance reporting service. CORA allows your school to eliminate processing your SSCR (Student Status Confirmation Report) and deferment forms, freeing your staff to focus on other tasks.
What kind of programming does CORA require?
No programming is needed. You will update the enrollment data for your students via the secure CORA Web site.
What computer applications do I need to use CORA?
You need Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.
Do I need a secure FTP account to use CORA?
No. CORA automatically encrypts and transmits your enrollment report to the Clearinghouse through secure FTP.
My school has more than 500 students, but has issues with our student information system vendor. Can we use CORA for our compliance reporting?
Yes. However, because CORA was designed for very small institutions, updating more than 500 student records can be time consuming.
Can we use Microsoft Excel instead of CORA to transmit our student enrollment to you?
Yes. We can provide you with an Excel Guide for our Enrollment Reporting Service (aka, Core), which contains instructions on how to create an enrollment file using Excel. You will need a secure FTP account to securely transmit your Excel file to the Clearinghouse. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of our Excel Guide.
How do we update our graduated students' enrollment on CORA?
Submit the graduated statuses in a subsequent-of-term transmission at the end of the term. If you discover later that a student record needs to be updated with a graduated status, you can submit an additional subsequent-of-term transmission. In the "Name of Academic Term" field, add "grads" to the term name (e.g., "Fall2010grads"). Only those records where the student status has changed to graduated should be updated.
What do I do if I forgot my CORA username and/or password?