Publication Date: August 9, 2001
Author: General Manager: SFA School Channel
Summary: GAPS implemented an edit which prevents a negative available balancePosted on August 9, 2001
On August 6, 2001, the Grants Administration and Payment System (GAPS) implemented an edit which prevents a negative available balance from occurring in the Pell Grant and Campus Based programs when a negative obligation is greater than the available balance. The effect of the edit is that downward adjustments in a program which are the result of changed student awards after a school has already drawn funds will not be viewable in GAPS until the implementation of new programming in October 2001. Schools will not be able to view an accurate account status because negative transactions will not be subtracted from authorization levels. We urge you to closely communicate with your business officer when you are initiating negative disbursements or are aware that the Department has initiated such negative disbursements on behalf of your school.
To mitigate the effect of this new edit on management of the Pell Grant program until GAPS is able to display these unprocessed deobligations in October 2001, RFMS will be changing the Electronic Statement of Account to reflect the negative adjustments which can not be viewed in GAPS. We expect this modification to the ESOA to be ready before the end of the month. At that time, instructions will be provided to assist schools in determining their correct award status in the Pell Grant program.
In the Pell program, a negative balance occurs when the net amount of funds drawn by a school through GAPS for a particular year exceeds the net amount of student level transactions accepted by RFMS. This can happen when a school reports a downward adjustment to a student's previously reported Pell disbursement without either (1) sending in additional disbursement records which result in an equal or greater authorization level, or (2) returning the unspent funds to the Department. A negative balance may also occur when the Department reduces an award. An example of this is when RFMS deobligates funds for students that had not completed verification but had received interim disbursements.
In the campus-based programs a negative balance can occur when the net amount of funds drawn through GAPS for that program and year exceeds the total expenditures reported on the school's FISAP. This generally happens when a school draws more funds than it actually used and reported, but fails to return the excess funds.
If you have questions please contact the GAPS Hotline at 1-888-336-8930 or SFA Customer Service Call Center at 1-800-433-7327.