Advocacy quick hits: ED updates FAFSA timeline

Photo: AACC

The U.S. Education Department (ED) this week issued an electronic announcement (EA) updating the timeline for the processing of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data and sending Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) – the financial aid information colleges need to package financial aid offers – to colleges.

The new EA clarifies that students can expect to be able to make corrections to their forms, add missing signatures and add additional recipients early next week. Colleges should receive new ISIRs from these students in one to three days after the correction is submitted.

Over the past few weeks, colleges and universities have reported a higher than usual error rate – receiving ISIRs where a Student Aid Index (SAI; the new needs analysis measure) could not be generated. The EA confirms this, noting that at least 16% of FAFSA applications – or more than one million students – will have to submit a correction to generate an SAI.

The new EA also presents a timeline for when inaccurate ISIRs affected by system glitches will be reprocessed and delivered to schools. Around 30% of applications – or roughly two million students – were impacted by processing and data errors at ED and the IRS.

As ED previously announced, each of these ISIRs will be processed and sent to schools in order to ensure that colleges are packaging aid offers with accurate SAIs. Around 10% of the FAFSAs were affected by a vendor error that miscalculated need for dependent students with assets. These ISIRs will be corrected and sent to colleges mid-April.

The remaining 20% – those affected by tax data issues – will not be transmitted to colleges until May 1. The department will send lists of student records to institutions and states to help them identify which received ISIRs include a processing error.

Read the rest of this week’s Advocacy Quick Hits.

About the Author

Kathryn Gimborys
Kathryn Gimborys is a government relations manager at the American Association of Community Colleges.
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