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TG Updates


Shoptalk Online 488, January 27, 2009
 

TG Updates

TG to begin using new software for encryption

On a daily basis, TG staff handles thousands of s that contain non-public personal information (NPI). NPI refers to any data used to identify or locate a person, such as loan data, address information, or Social Security numbers. TG works to protect the privacy of its customer NPI, as well as all customer information. For example, TG currently secures outbound messages through Tumbleweed®, a software product that identifies and encrypts TG based on specific criteria.

On January 31, 2009, TG will switch to a new encryption software service developed by Cisco Systems®. All TG customers, including schools and lenders, should be aware that s will be deleted from any Tumbleweed account 30 days after TG terminates its Tumbleweed service. School and lender business customers may want to save — that is, copy and paste — any important s they've received through Tumbleweed before that 30-day period is over.

Easy login and use
TG customers will find that the Cisco Systems product offers a robust, flexible encryption service. Encrypted comes as an attachment to a regular , which registered users can print, save, or forward, much as they do with regular attachments.

To read encrypted , recipients will register with Cisco Systems. An invitation to register will come with the first encrypted . The will contain a link to a registration page, where the recipient can enter personal information, choose a password, and select a security question, which serves as a prompt in case a password is forgotten or lost. The Cisco product can "remember" login information, which means that users won't have to provide their password each time they receive an encrypted .

TG's new encryption service offers several other features that users will like. Recipients can keep encrypted s as long as they want. s are not automatically deleted after a certain period of time. Passwords can also be easily reset if necessary, and the Cisco product provides easy prompts for changing a password or receiving help in case a password is forgotten.

Setting a standard of protection
TG strives to be a strong and effective steward of its borrower data. Besides using software to protect NPI, TG also trains staff to be vigilant while working with borrower information. TG's privacy policy and internal information security program establish specific guidelines for protecting the integrity of borrower data.

Questions
For questions about TG's new encryption software, contact TG customer assistance at (800) 845-6267, or send an message to cust.assist@tgslc.org. Customers will also find information about the new software on TG Online at www.tgslc.org/security/secur.cfm.

Cisco Systems is a registered trademark of Cisco Systems, Inc.
Tumbleweed is a registered trademark of Tumbleweed Communications.

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TG launches new training to help schools establish financial literacy programs

Financial literacy is a growing area of focus for schools across the country. Students are graduating with average loan debts of over $20,000. At the same time they're entering an economy and job market deeply affected by recent credit liquidity issues. How the market may shift over the next few years is anyone's guess, but more schools are taking no chances and educating students in skills that will prepare them for a lifetime of money management.

TG is working to be part of that effort by reaching out to students and schools with an expanded set of offerings for its comprehensive workshop series on financial literacy and default aversion — Positive+Balance™. Schools especially will benefit from a new training initiative — Developing and Implementing a Financial Literacy Program — which forms one module in Positive+Balance. The Developing and Implementing a Financial Literacy Program provides practical guidelines and strategies to help financial aid professionals launch a financial literacy program on their campus.

Participants in the training learn different types of financial literacy programs and the role such programs can play in helping students succeed after college. The module leads participants through every stage of program development and provides recommendations to help them succeed at each. Program trainers walk attendees through conceptualizing a financial literacy program, securing approval and funding, implementing a program, and improving a program.

Constructive solutions, everyday challenges
TG trainers can facilitate the Developing and Implementing a Financial Literacy Program training. However, the presentation and accompanying workbook can also be downloaded free of charge from the Positive+Balance CommunitySM, TG's online resource for educators and financial aid professionals seeking financial literacy solutions and support.

"Schools need reliable and relevant information that can help them teach their students about financial literacy and smart spending strategies," said Margie Harvey, TG's financial literacy program manager. "This new training module addresses the issues that schools face when launching a new program, and provides constructive solutions to everyday challenges."

To learn more
If you would like TG's assistance in developing, implementing, or improving your financial literacy efforts, contact your account executive, or send an message to positivebalance@tgslc.org.

To sign up for a free membership to the Positive+Balance Community, visit www.PositiveBalance.org.

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Austin workshop to spotlight TG's support for lenders

Lenders and their business needs are a priority with TG's lender consultants and product development team. These TG professionals work with an extended team, designing and creating products that can help add efficiency to lender processes and potentially cut costs. TG's upcoming Austin lender workshop offers time to learn more about these products. The workshop also provides an opportunity for finding out more about TG's financial stability and its plan to maintain and grow its business.

TG will hold its 2009 Lender Workshop on February 12 at the Marriott's Austin Courtyard Downtown across from the Austin Convention Center. TG invites interested lenders and servicers to attend the one-day workshop, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., CST. There is no charge for attending the event.

This year's keynote speaker is Harrison M. Wadsworth III, a principal in the Washington law firm, Washington Partners, LLC. Wadsworth has expertise in a variety of areas, including media relations, the legislative and political process, higher education, finance, communications, and trade association management. He is an expert in the federal student financial assistance programs and the Higher Education Act and heads two education-related trade associations.

Wadsworth has been a long-time member of the Consumer Bankers Association and involved in a variety of student lending initiatives. For TG's lender workshop, Wadsworth will provide an assessment of current efforts to strengthen FFELP in the face of the credit crisis. He will also offer some thoughts on what's still needed to position the FFELP as a strong and viable program that can help students for years to come.

Workshop highlights
TG's workshop offers a series of short discussions on a variety of topics, including TG's business profile, its focus on helping lenders and schools through effective service and potential cost-cutting, and TG's newest financial literacy products.

TG recently unveiled a series of new financial literacy tools designed to help teach students the principles of money management. Lenders may find these offerings of benefit since such tools can help borrowers manage money better.

To learn more
Lenders and servicers can find out more about the workshop agenda as well as register for the program by going online to www.tgslc.org/training/lender/index.cfm, or by calling (800) 252-9743, ext. 4507.

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TG debuts new webinar training series

As part of our continued commitment to meeting our customer's evolving training needs, TG will launch a new live, Web-based, cost-free training series beginning in February 2009. TG understands that with the time constraints and financial considerations in today's financial aid world, your staff needs maximum flexibility in its training format and delivery.

To address these considerations, TG's policy and regulatory experts will provide webinar training to financial aid professionals on a variety of topics of interest. The webinars will focus on current issues in the financial aid industry, as well as financial aid fundamentals.

You can participate from the comfort of your office or conference room. All you need is a computer with Internet access and, depending on the training format, either a toll-free number (provided following registration) or the ability to use speakers with your computer.

For each session, TG will provide presentation materials for downloading, viewing, or printing as you follow along with the speaker. The presentation portion of the session will be followed by time for questions and answers.

Upcoming webinars
Join us for the following training events:

  • Introduction to the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) — Thursday, February 19, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., CST.

    Participants gain introductory-level knowledge of the key participants in the FFELP, develop an understanding of the phases of a loan, explore the types of loans included in the FFELP, and discuss the various participants involved in the FFELP community. They're also provided a functional overview of schools, lenders, servicers, secondary markets, guarantors, and ED.

  • Verification in the Financial Aid Office — Thursday, March 19, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m., CST.

    Whether you’re a new or experienced aid administrator, verification can be a frustrating and intimidating process without the right knowledge and tools. In this session we will review basic verification requirements; discuss what information must be verified versus what schools may choose to verify; and address common, recurrent questions and difficult situations.

To register
You can register for these webinars at www.tgslc.org/training/webinars/industry.cfm. Click each webinar link to begin the registration process.

Schedules for additional webinars will be published quarterly and announced in Shoptalk Online.

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Meet Paul Lewis, TG's director of product management

Paul Lewis

When it comes to application and loan management, TG's director of product management Paul Lewis understands what schools and lenders need. And he's uniquely qualified to provide for those needs. Thanks to early training in a financial aid office, coursework in information systems, work on an industry electronic standards committee, and his broad TG experience, Lewis brings both expertise and a comprehensive view of student loans to his job.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Lewis grew up on Air Force bases here in the U.S. and abroad. His family settled in Texas where Lewis earned a bachelor's in human resource management and a minor in computer information systems from the Stephenville campus of Tarleton State University. He went on to get a master's of business administration at the same school.

Lewis got a close-up view of financial aid early in his career, working part time in the office of student financial aid at Tarleton. "I was eventually promoted to loan coordinator where I was responsible for certifying student loans and releasing all student aid to student accounts," said Lewis.

Lewis' work gave him some excellent training in loan processes and prepared him for his first position at TG — integrating TG's products with school and lender systems. As a TG product installer, Lewis traveled across the nation, serving TG's customers. He broadened his technical knowledge and discovered something about his vocation — he liked providing a technical solution that added efficiency to loan processes and helped borrowers at the same time.

Going above and beyond expectation
Lewis built on this technical experience, eventually earning his present assignment as TG's director of product management.

"I work with many qualified and committed professionals who design TG's products and services," said Lewis. "Our objective is to understand what schools, lenders, and borrowers need from technology in terms of student loans. We keep track of emerging technologies with an eye to using them in existing or new products. We also ensure our products meet our customer needs and continue to provide great service."

Lewis has a strong feel for what the industry as a whole needs. He's represented TG for many years on various industry committees, including the Electronic Standards Committee of the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP), and ELM Resources' Operations Committee.

Like others with a technical calling, Lewis likes the challenge of fitting a customer need to a new product or technology. "It's good to be able to implement functionality that goes beyond customer expectations," said Lewis.

Outside work, Lewis and his wife are devoted parents of three girls, each of whom keeps busy playing volleyball, performing in dance recitals, or singing in choir. He also enjoys golfing and participates in softball leagues throughout the year.

To learn more
TG provides a wide array of application and loan management tools. To find out more about these products, contact your TG regional account executive at (800) 892-1357, or send an message to relationship.management@tgslc.org.

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© 2009 Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation