Advocacy quick hits: Your weekly FAFSA update


The U.S. Education Department this week released another update on its plans to help students and colleges correct and complete Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that had been rejected due to errors.

As a reminder, after a student completes and submits a FAFSA, ED transmits information to colleges in the form of Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs). Colleges use these records to package and issue financial aid offers.

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 due to an error or incomplete information. ED confirmed this in its update, noting that at least 16% of FAFSA applications – or more than one million students – will have to submit a correction to generate an SAI.

After a series of delays and glitches, the department announced this week that students are finally able to correct their submitted FAFSAs. The agency will send emails to applicants and their contributors informing them that they have “Action Required” on their forms. These communications will detail the most common issues requiring corrections, including missing signatures, missing consent to access federal tax data, only indicating interest in unsubsidized loans and incomplete submissions.

In the same update, ED announced that it will begin reprocessing 10% of ISIRs affected by known system errors in small batches. In total, more than 30% of submitted FAFSAs – more than two million students – have been affected by system, processing and vendor errors. In previous announcements, the department has promised that all ISIRs will be reprocessed by May.

Read more in 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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