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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 April 13, 2020.

The National Student Clearinghouse continues to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as more cases are confirmed in the United States and other countries.

We continue to use the best advice and guidance available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Our leadership team is meeting regularly to discuss and review the rapidly evolving situation regarding the spread of COVID-19 and how we can continue to support the schools, students, and others who use the Clearinghouse.

We have received several inquiries regarding the potential impact this outbreak may have on our services, and necessary coordination steps. To help provide additional insight, we have put together answers to several key questions. We will continue to provide updates and answers as they become available. 

How is Clearinghouse protecting its staff?

The Clearinghouse has developed and distributed a Coronavirus (COVID-19) employee reference guide to all our employees. In this guide we provide our employees with the necessary information on the Coronavirus, including its symptoms, what to do if you suspect you have been exposed to the virus, and how to prevent infection and/or the spreading of the virus. Additionally, we are observing handwashing guidelines and performing routine office cleaning and encouraging our employees to follow CDC guidelines for travelers.

What steps are in place with the closure of the Clearinghouse’s headquarters?

We have adjusted our working conditions to meet CDC guidelines. We are fully operational in all our front- and back-office functions. Our clients can rely on the Clearinghouse every day to provide reliable access to the services that are critical and that they count on.

We have implemented our business continuity plan to ensure critical functions continue to be fully supported.

Additionally, to further assist our college and university clients during this period of great uncertainty, the Clearinghouse is providing all institutions 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 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 actively communicating with NSLDS and the Department of Education on this matter 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.

If possible, 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 who 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, the Clearinghouse will continue to provide 24/7 service to your school and its students through our online transcript and verification services.

> Transcript Services

The Clearinghouse has posted messages to let transcript requestors (including via Student Self-Service) know there may be delays or disruptions in processing transcript requests by institutions that have had to close. Requestors have been directed to check the institution’s website for closure information. 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. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide the best possible service during this public health crisis.

> If your institution participates in SecurePrint

Our SecurePrint vendor has a business continuity plan in place. Our vendor has many strategic partnerships and relationships with third-party vendors for whom it is critical to ensure that the failure of a single vendor does not cause a loss of business continuity. As a result, our SecurePrint vendor is able to easily shift the business to another vetted and secure print facility so there will be no delays printing and mailing transcripts.

> Verification Services

The Clearinghouse has posted messages to let requestors know that they may experience delays in turnaround time whenever a DegreeVerify request requires research from institutions impacted. 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 Verifications 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. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide the best possible service during this public health crisis.

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

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

StudentTracker file submissions and report processing will not be interrupted but may be delayed during a possible office closure.

Is the Clearinghouse cancelling any upcoming conferences and/or Clearinghouse Academy events?

Clearinghouse staff regularly travel around the country for campus visits, Clearinghouse Academy meetings, as well as conferences. At this time the only changes we have made are postponing our March and April Clearinghouse Academy: Live in Your Neighborhood events. We are sending cancelation notices to all registrants who have RSVP’d for these events. 

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. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide the best possible service during this public health crisis.

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