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13-01 Managing Financial Aid/Cash Substitutes         


WS 13-01

January, 21, 2013


Expires:  Continuing



Career Offices
Financial Aid Payment Office


Mike Temple
David Baggerly
Lucretia Hammond


Managing Financial Aid/Cash Substitutes  


Review requirements to secure, issue, report and account for financial aid/cash substitutes accurately and timely.  This Issuance replaces WS 11-19.


In August 2011, we updated guidance on securing, issuing and accounting for cash substitutes to include using $20 bus passes and Chase cards in place of most other cash substitutes.

 We determined that Chase cards often confuse customers who use them, require more staff time to administer, and are more difficult to restrict for the intended use than a variety of vendor cash substitute cards.

 Beginning immediately:

  • Use vendor specific cards for financial aid of $200 or less when you are not sending a customer to Firestone for a repair or asking FAPO to issue a check.
  • Use Chase Reloadable cards for customers who complete a financial aid application and receive ongoing financial aid regularly. 

Cash Substitutes Policy

Each contractor for Workforce Solutions that disburses cash substitutes will write and implement operating procedures to secure, disburse, record and report expenditure of cash substitutes.

  • Contractors may write policies and implement procedures that exceed the requirements for Workforce Solutions, but may not exclude any of the elements in this issuance.
  • Contractors may use their own forms.
  • In offices with a very small number of staff, it may not be possible to comply with all requirements.  Contractors will write and implement procedures that adhere as closely as possible to this issuance.
  • In this Issuance, "office manager" refers to the person in charge of the office at the time.
  • Contractor management is always responsible for implementing adequate procedures and controls to secure, disburse, record, and report Workforce Solutions' financial aid.
  1. Storing Cash Substitutes
    • Every career office must have a locked safe or cabinet to store cash substitutes.  Office managers are responsible for making sure all cash substitutes are locked each evening when the office closes.
  2. Access to Cash Substitutes
    • Access to cash substitutes must be restricted to the smallest number of people who can effectively provide expeditious service to Workforce Solutions customers.  This usually means no more than three or four people in an office.
    • Someone authorized to distribute cash substitutes must always be present in the office.
    • The same person will not enter receipt and disbursement of cash substitutes into MIS systems and count and/or reconcile inventory with the Financial Aid Management System (FAMS).
    • The same person who loads funds into the Chase Agent Service Center may not enroll customers into the Chase system
  3. Receiving Inventory
    • Only authorized personnel may sign UPS, Fed EX or other delivery services paperwork for receipt of cash substitutes or other inventory from the Financial Aid Payment office.
    • On the day cash substitutes are received from the Financial Aid Payment Office, designated staff will count the cards and other inventory and compare it with the email notice from the Financial Aid Payment office showing the items shipped.
    • On the same day, career office staff will email the Financial Aid Payment office confirming receipt of the inventory and stating that it matches the notice of items shipped or stating the differences.
    • If an office cannot count the cash substitutes and report the day the office receives them, the office manager will file a written report with her or his supervisor and the Financial Aid Payment Office stating the reasons why the office cannot complete the procedure.  The office manager will file the written exceptions report by email on the day the cash substitutes are received in the office.
    • Any office filing two or more exceptions reports in a calendar quarter will be subject to additional regional quality assurance reviews.
  4. Disbursing Cash Substitutes
      • Before issuing any financial aid, career office staff must make sure that:
        • The customer has a job search map or formal employment plan when required
        • TWIST counselor notes, the job search map or the employment plan state why the customer needs the financial aid
        • TWIST counselor notes state each time the customer receives financial aid with a summary of the amount and justification
        • TWIST support service/actual amount tab shows the date, amount type and category of financial aid given to the customer that day.
        • TWIST support services has the correct fund code
        • The customer has signed the addendum and/or a financial aid application with the required back up documents.
        • There is an open program detail in TWIST for the customer.  If it is the customer's first day in the office, the staff person who provided service has given all paperwork necessary for creating the program detail to the staff member responsible for entering the information into Workforce Solutions databases.
      •  Each customer who receives financial aid must sign a log or a form stating what kind of cash substitute, the amount, card serial number, and name of staff member issuing the card.  The customer must also date her or his signature on the form or the log
          • Exception: When adding money to a Chase reloadable card by telephone it is not necessary to have a customer signature. Put the Chase receipt in the customer paper file, or an electronic copy in the customer's electronic file, and record appropriately in TWIST and FAMS.
    •  If a customer returns a defective card or loses the card, A FAPO staff member will check to see that the customer has not used the card.  Regular procedures for issuing a new cash substitute apply to issuing a replacement card.  Staff will email the Financial Aid Payment Office contact that they are returning the defective card. The Financial Aid Payment Office will remove the card from the office inventor.
  1. Using Reloadable Chase Cards
    • You may use these cards as a cash substitute when you expect the customer to need over $200 in financial aid paid with a cash substitute other than a bus pass or other transportation coupon. 
    • Workforce Solutions WIA eligibility proof for financial aid over $200 is always sufficient to meet Chase bank's identification requirements. No further identification is required.
    • Other customers need two forms of government identification on file before they may receive the reloadable Chase card.  Acceptable ID is the same as that required for an I-9 Work Authorization form. 
    • I-9 (PDF)
    • The customer must provide a physical address. Chase will not issue a card to a customer with only a post office box address.
    • Recording Financial Aid
    • All of the items checked in item 4 above must be recorded by career office staff
    • Staff will record all transactions in FAMS on the day they occur.  If this is not possible record them prior to issuing the first cash substitute the next morning.  The same staff member will not issue the financial aid and enter the transaction into FAMS.
    • Staff will record correct fund sources in TWIST and FAMS
  1. Daily Reconciliation
    • Managers are responsible for making sure designated staff conduct a daily comparison of physical inventory with customer signed logs or forms and with the Financial Aid Management System (FAMS).
    • Staff can print a "Physical Inventory Worksheet" from FAMS and record the physical count next to the system count.
    • If an outstanding issue in FAMS causes the counts to differ, staff will note that on the sheet.
    • If there is a discrepancy between the physical count and FAMS the staff will note the discrepancy on the sheet.  
    • The staff member will sign the sheet.
    • Discrepancies must be resolved before the end of the month reconciliation and unaccounted for cash substitutes replaced. 
  2. Weekly Reconciliation
    • After the close of business on Friday - or by 10:00 a.m. the following Monday - a designated staff member who did not perform the daily reconciliation will reconcile the physical inventory with the on-hand inventory in FAMS. 
    • The office manager/designee will sign attesting to the accuracy of the physical count.
  3. Monthly Reconciliation
    • At close of business on the last day of the month, the office manager or her/his designee, will conduct a physical count of all cash substitutes on hand.
    • The office manager, or designee, will enter the number of cash substitutes on hand on the "Physical Inventory Worksheet" and the manager will sign the sheet confirming its accuracy.
    • If the physical count is the same as the FAMS on-hand count the manager will forward the signed FAMS "Monthly Reconciliation Report" to the Financial Aid Payment Office.
    • If the manager is unable to make corrections resulting in reconciliation by the end of the next workday, she/he will send the report noting the differences to the corporate office.
    • If there are differences in the physical count and the FAMS "Physical Inventory Worksheet" the manager will research the differences and correct errors.
    • The monthly reconciliation sheets will be available to quality control staff in both the corporate office and the career office.
    • The corporate office is responsible for making sure any unaccounted for cash substitutes are replaced at the end of every month.  


1.      Each contractor who provides cash substitutes to Workforce Solutions customers must have a written up-to-date policy and procedure in place.   Forward your written policy to your contract manager no later than February 4, 2013

2.      Stop using one time Chase cards and begin using vendor specific cards for financial aid under $200 on February 4, 2013.


Staff should first ask questions of their managers or supervisors.  Direct questions for Board staff to your contract manager.

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