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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

ED Moving to Two-Factor Authentication

December 16, 2011

One of the more than 50 educational sessions offered at the Department of Education’s annual Federal Student Aid Conference two weeks ago highlighted forthcoming network security enhancements which will impact all institutions participating in the Title IV programs. Video and PowerPoint presentations for this and most other conference sessions are now available on the Web.

Two-Factor Authentication

ED plans to distribute more than 90,000 tokens to authorized users of its federal student aid network services as it implements a two-factor authentication process intended to better secure its computer systems. The tokens generate one-time passwords that are used in conjunction with the current user name and password log-in. The designated Primary Destination Point Administrator (P-DPA) for each institution—usually someone in the financial aid office—will be the control point for distribution of the tokens to employees. Business and bursar office staff that need access to ED systems should make sure that the P-DPA knows why they should be on the list. This change will be phased in on a state-by-state basis over the next year.

Recommended Sessions

NACUBO staff who attended the conference, along with more than 7,500 others, suggest the following sessions for business office and bursar staff with student aid-related responsibilities.

GS #1 Welcome and Federal Update

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke on college costs, and a panel of top officials from the Office of Postsecondary Education and the Office of Student Financial Aid presented on current issues.

#45 Return of Title IV Funds—New Regulations

The program integrity regulations that took effect in July 2011 made significant changes to R2T4 calculations for modular programs (including most summer sessions) and redefined what it means to be “required to take attendance.”

#54 Financial Access, Education, and Consumer Protection for Students

Officials from Treasury, FDIC, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discussed federal efforts to improve Americans' financial capability and decision-making. Specific topics include private education loans, prepaid debit cards, and federally-insured deposit accounts.

#56 Two-Factor Authentication

This session provided the details of the implementation of this new security initiative.

#60 Protect Your School from Fraud in Distance Education

Officials from the ED Office of Inspector General discussed their recent findings, along with presenters from two institutions who shared what they are doing to combat student aid fraud.

Many other sessions may also be of interest. The sessions are in order by session number on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site. Download the slides for the presentations first, and then watch the video (click on the camera).


Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Bryan Dickson
Senior Policy Analyst