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The Clearinghouse’s Response to the Coronavirus

by NSC Blog | Apr 13, 2020 | Announcements, Clearinghouse News, coronavirus |

This response has been updated as of September 22, 2021.

The National Student Clearinghouse continues to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and its variants. We also continue to consult guidance available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health departments, and other authorities. Our leadership team meets regularly to discuss the current status of the pandemic and our response, including how we can continue to provide uninterrupted support to the schools, students, and others who use the Clearinghouse’s services.

The following are answers to several key questions we have received, which we will update as needed.

How is Clearinghouse protecting its staff?

In March 2020, the Clearinghouse implemented a remote work plan enabling virtually all staff to work from home, so that we could protect staff while continuing to serve our customers. We have implemented policies and procedures designed to protect staff and other individuals with whom staff interacts, in accordance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidance. These policies and procedures enable certain work activities in the Clearinghouse’s offices, subject to workplace safety requirements. Since the pandemic began, we have been providing staff with information about COVID-19, as well as our policies and procedures for responding to the pandemic, through written communications and regular meetings.

How have these changes affected the Clearinghouse’s operations?

We remain fully operational in all our front- and back-office functions. The pandemic response measures that we implemented are designed to ensure that our clients will be able to continue relying on the Clearinghouse every day to provide access to the services that are critical and on which they depend.

The Clearinghouse also continues to provide all colleges and universities with access to additional options for support across our various services, to help them better support their students. Please visit Clearinghouse COVID-19 Support for Institutions, which provides additional information on these options.

What impact will this have on our institution’s ability to maintain reporting compliance as well as fulfill transcript and verification requests?

 

> Enrollment Reporting and Compliance

The Clearinghouse will continue to work closely with you to ensure your enrollment reporting compliance processing meets National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) timelines. We are in regular communication with NSLDS and the Department of Education on this matter, as well as other compliance-related issues, to determine how we can best support your institution, and will share that information via our Compliance Central blog. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog so you can receive updates as soon as they become available.

We recommend that you continue to process all your enrollment files. Be sure to address any NSLDS errors we route to you in a timely manner. Federal Student Aid (FSA) has published a comprehensive guide for institutions that require guidance for study interruptions related to the Coronavirus. If you have questions not addressed in the guide, you can contact the FSA at COVID-19@ed.gov.

If your campus is forced to close or to adjust staff hours or resources due to the pandemic, the Clearinghouse will continue to provide 24/7 service to your school and your students through our online transcript and verification services.

> Transcript Services

The Clearinghouse has posted messages to let transcript requestors know that there may be delays or disruptions in processing transcript requests by institutions that have had to adjust staff hours or resources due to the pandemic. Requestors have been directed to check the institution’s website for information about service adjustments. You can add a custom message on your Welcome Page via the Transcript Services tab on our school secure site. If you need assistance or would like us to post a transcript message for you, our Customer Service teams are available to handle online support requests M–F from 9am–6pm, ET or contact your Client Success Manager.

> If your institution participates in SecurePrint

Our SecurePrint vendor has implemented its business continuity plan, so there should be no delays in printing and mailing transcripts.

> Verification Services

If you would like to let requestors know when to expect a response to research requests from your institution, you can create a pending message alert via the Verification Services tab on our school secure site. If you need assistance or would like us to post a DegreeVerify pending alert for you, our Customer Service teams are available to handle online support requests M–F from 9am–6pm, ET or contact your Client Success Manager.

If your institution participates in Myhub and/or Student Self-Service, your students will continue to have 24/7 access to them.

What impact will this have on submitting StudentTracker files and processing reports?

StudentTracker file submissions and report generation will not be interrupted but delays may occur periodically.

Is the Clearinghouse offering Clearinghouse Academy events?

Before the pandemic, Clearinghouse staff regularly traveled around the country for campus visits, conferences, and Clearinghouse Academy meetings. For the safety of our staff and other individuals with whom staff interacts, we have restricted business travel, including client visits and conferences. Therefore, the Clearinghouse has indefinitely postponed its in-person “Clearinghouse Academy: Live in Your Neighborhood” events and replaced them with live online sessions, “Clearinghouse Academy: Virtually to You.”

Additional Public Health Information Links on COVID-19

If you or your school have additional questions/concerns or need our assistance, our Customer Service teams are available to handle online support requests M–F from 9am–6pm, ET or contact your Client Success Manager. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide the best possible service during this public health crisis.

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