Maintained for Historical Purposes

This resource is being maintained for historical purposes only and is not currently applicable.

Information Summaries on SARs and ISIRs

AwardYear: 1997-98
SectionNumber: II
SectionTitle: Information Summaries on SARs and ISIRs
PageNumbers: 11-22


As mentioned in the Introduction, the SAR is only one way that
institutions receive processed information from a student's financial
aid application. More than 7000 postsecondary institutions
participate in some aspect of the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE).
These institutions can send application data from the school or
through a servicer (either one is called a "destination point"), and
receive processed student records (ISIRs) at the destination point.
An EDE school will receive ISIRs for all students who listed that
institution on the FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA, or FAFSA Express.

Each type of CPS output contains an Information Summary of
student data and information for the FAA. The SAR, but not the
SAR Information Acknowledgement, also has a Part 2 that allows the
student to correct the data.

Appendix G contains the print format for the ISIR. Student and FAA
information will print out on two pages, with an additional page for
NSLDS Financial Aid History. Note that in general schools will not
need to print hardcopy ISIRs, but in this guide, we will use the print
format as a tool to discuss the codes that appear on the ISIR record.
The format is identical for ISIRs received via EDE and for ISIRs
received via tape and cartridge.

Beginning with the SAR, we'll look at the information summary and
the FAA information sections for each type of official CPS output.


The top left of the page prints the ED seal, identifies the award year
(1997-98), the document--Student Aid Report--and the part of the
SAR: Part 1. The box at the top, center, position shows the Office
of Management and Budget (OMB) form-clearance number and the
expiration date. Previously letters identifying the FAFSA
processors appeared above this box, but these are no longer used.
Each of the two FAFSA processors will handle data entry for any
SAR or application received, so the identification is no longer

[[The graphic on page 11 is currently unavailable for viewing on the
SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document or download the
pdf files for additional information.]]

The student's social security number (SSN) appears below the OMB
box. This is the SSN that the student originally reported on the
FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA, or Correction Application. Directly under
the SSN are the first two letters of the student's last name (the last
name originally reported on the application), a dash, and a two-digit
code that shows the transaction number for this SAR--that is, "01"
indicates the first transaction, "02" a second transaction, and so forth.
Next to the code appears the student's four-digit Personal
Identification Number (PIN). The PIN can be used by schools
participating in EDE to gain access to the student's electronic
application record if they were not originally listed on the student's
application or SAR.

The following page compares several features of the front pages of
the SAR and the SAR Information Acknowledgement.

Beneath the headings appear the student's name and address, the
number of SAR pages to expect, and the date the CPS processed the
application. The number appearing above the student's name and
address is a tracking number for the FAFSA Processors and the CPS,
and is not used for any institutional purposes. Below the processed
date is the student's EFC.

[[The graphic on page 11 is currently unavailable for viewing on the
SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document or download the
pdf files for additional information.]]

The EFC printed here is always the primary EFC, calculated for a
nine-month academic year (see page 21 for information on the
primary EFC). An asterisk printed next to the EFC indicates that
the student was selected for verification by the CPS. A "C" printed
next to the EFC means the student has an eligibility problem
identified by the data matches that must be resolved.

[[The graphics "SAR--Page One" and "SAR Information
Acknowledgement--Page One" on page 12 are currently unavailable
for viewing on the SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document
or download the pdf files for additional information.]]

One of two messages might appear below the EFC--BA DEG REC'D
means the student reported in question 19 on the application, or in a
correction transaction, that he or she had received a bachelor's
degree. GRAD/PROF appears when the student answered "Yes" to
question 42, that he or she will be enrolled in a graduate or
professional program during 1997-98. In addition to these labels,
SAR/ISIR comment text will also inform the student and FAA when
a student reports that he or she will have a BA or be enrolled in a
graduate or professional program. A student who answers "Yes" to
either question is not eligible for a Pell Grant. Such student records
are not sent to the Pell Payment System, and if a school attempts to
report a Pell Grant payment, the payment system will not recognize
the student and will reject the payment record.

The FAA Information sections on the SAR, SAR Information
Acknowledgement, and ISIR will print a "Y" for the Pell Eligibility
Flag to identify students who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants
based upon their EFCs and class levels.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Even though all income and asset
information is correct and the EFC is less than the maximum Pell
EFC, if a student incorrectly indicates that he or she has a BA degree
or is a graduate/professional student, these items must be corrected
on the SAR or through EDE, and processed through the CPS. Only
then will the payment system be able to identify the student as
eligible to receive a Pell Grant.

COMMENTS. On both the SAR and the SAR Information
Acknowledgement, the initial comments inform the student about
eligibility for federal student aid and give basic instructions on
reviewing the application information and making corrections if
necessary. Other comments relate to specific problem areas, such as
missing or illegible information or eligibility problems. On the SAR,
comment text is continued on a subsequent page if necessary.

The SAR will carry up to 20 comments, and an application that
generates more than 20 comments will be rejected (Reject 20).

The SAR Information Acknowledgement comments are fewer and
less detailed, and generally refer the student to the FAA for
assistance in making corrections or resolving problem issues. A
SAR Information Acknowledgement is sent to the student only when
application or correction data are entered electronically by a school
through EDE. In these cases, the student and the school are already
in contact and generally the student is enrolling in the school that
transmitted the data.

To assist in situations where a student might take the SAR
Information Acknowledgement to a new school, we print the PIN
and the full set of SAR/ISIR comment codes in the Processing
Results section on the document (see Appendix D for comment
codes and text).

RE1199456 12345567891 321-54-00087 ST 01

On the SAR, two strings of numbers appear at the bottom of every
page. The left-hand numbers are processing codes used by the
FAFSA Processors and the CPS for tracking and quality control
purposes. The right-hand numbers are the student identifiers: the
original SSN and first two letters of the student's original last name,
and the transaction number.

On the SAR Information Acknowledgement, the top of page one
shows the student identifiers, transaction number and PIN in a
similar position as these appear on the two-part SAR. Only the
student ID is repeated at the bottom of the SAR Information
Acknowledgement page.

NOTE: If a student changes his or her social security number or
changes his or her name in the CPS, the original social security
number and first two letters of the original last name will continue
to be used as the student identifier during the rest of that award year.
The SAR fields that show the last name and the SSN--fields 1
and 8--will carry the corrected name and SSN. However, when used
as an identifier--on correspondence or in requesting duplicates--the
student should use the original SSN and name.

If the student applies in the following award year using the correct
name and SSN, the records for that year will carry the correct

Correction Applications are not needed except to correct a situation
when two students are using the same social security number.
Correction Applications are obtained by calling the Correction
Applications Coordinator for ED at (202) 260-9988.


The back of page one displays in condensed form every numbered
question from the FAFSA and prints the answer the student gave to
that question or the value the CPS assumed.

EXCEPTION: If the student's application is rejected and an EFC is
not calculated, the back of page one will not have an information
summary, but will contain the FAA Information section instead.
The NSLDS Financial Aid History page will also not appear on a
rejected SAR. Part one of rejected SARs consists of a single, two-
sided page, whereas part one of a non-rejected SAR consists of two
two-sided pages.

[[The graphic "Back of Page One, SAR and SAR Information
Acknowledgment" on page 14 is currently unavailable for viewing
on the SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document or
download the pdf files for additional information.]]


The student's processed application information appears on the
electronic ISIR in a two-column, two-page format with an
abbreviated version of each FAFSA question on the left and the
student's response on the right. Information is divided into sections
like the FAFSA sections, e.g., A. Yourself. Questions are not
numbered individually, but each section heading identifies the range
of FAFSA questions included.

[[The graphic on page 15 is currently unavailable for viewing on the
SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document or download the
pdf files for additional information.]]


An FAA Information section allows the FAA to find every relevant
piece of information about a student's eligibility in one place,
whether on a SAR or ISIR. The formats and content vary
somewhat between the SAR and ISIR, but all codes and flags have
the same meaning wherever they appear.

The FAA Information box on the SAR appears at the end of Part 1,
following the last comment to the student. On the SAR Information
Acknowledgement, a section headed "Processing Results" on the
back of page one contains information and codes for FAAs. On the
ISIR, FAA information is printed on the second page following the
summary of application data. Descriptive labels are intended to help
the FAA identify reject codes, match flags, intermediate values, and
so forth.

Using the SAR information section as a basis, here are identifications
for the codes and flags that appear as FAA Information, reading from
top to bottom for each column. Primary and secondary EFCs and
Intermediate Values will be discussed later.

[[The graphic "The SAR" on page 15 is currently unavailable for
viewing on the SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document or
download for additional information.]]


Agency Source

The agency source code identifies a FAFSA processor or other
source of the application.

1 Electronic Application
2 Electronic Renewal Application
4 FAFSA Express
5 ACT (American College Testing)

MDE Record Type

This identifies the type of input that produced a transaction.

Blank Original application
R Renewal application
C Correction application
H History correction
D Duplicate request
S FAFSA Express

Record Type

This code distinguishes an application from a correction that was
made to a prior or existing transaction.

Blank Original application (either FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA, or
FAFSA Express)
C Correction application
H History correction

Verification Type

Blank Not selected for verification
* Student was selected for verification on a transaction later
than this one
99 Student was selected for verification on a transaction prior
to this transaction
A-C, Selected for verification, codes identify criteria for selection

The codes identified as TSC A through C and TSC 1 through 37
(targeted selection criteria) are used primarily by ED for statistical
and analytic purposes. An FAA only needs to know whether or not a
student's information must be verified. The required documentation
and procedures for the school are the same regardless of the reason
the applicant was selected for verification.

Verification Flag

The verification tracking flag may also be set as A, B, or C, or a
number 1 through 37. See the explanation under Verification Type.

"Verification flag" is connected to the code appearing in "verification
type." Example: If an applicant is selected on the 01 transaction,
"verification type" will carry a code of A through C or 1 through 37
and "verification flag" will be blank. Suppose that verification type is
set to "24" on the 01 transaction. If the applicant then makes a
correction, the 02 transaction will show verification type as
"99"--meaning the applicant was selected on a previous transaction.
The "24" code now appears as the verification flag.

If an applicant was not selected for verification on the 01 transaction
but then is selected on the 02 transaction, an asterisk is automatically
set on the 01 record. If the student requests a duplicate of the 01
transaction (not previously selected), the asterisk appears on the
duplicate SAR as "verification type," and alerts the FAA that the
student was selected for verification on a later transaction.

Pell Digit

The Pell Digit appeared on the SAR Part 3 (Pell Grant Payment
Voucher) until the voucher was eliminated in 1996-97. The
character is derived using a mathematical formula. It is used to
validate a student's identification when entering original student
payment records using the EDExpress software for the electronic and
Floppy Disk methods of reporting Pell payments. The Pell Digit
displayed by the software should match the character printed on the



D Dependent
I Independent
X Rejected dependent
Y Rejected independent

Duplicate Copy

Blank Not a duplicate SAR
D The SAR was requested as a duplicate copy


These codes identify a system-generated transaction that was
initiated by the CPS, rather than resulting from an application or
correction sent to the CPS. The codes show why a record was
automatically generated by the CPS:

Blank Not system-generated
A Applicant released from drug abuse hold file
D Duplicate request, and hold status has changed
H Applicant released from verification hold
L Duplicate request and NSLDS match data have changed
R Applicant processed after rematching
S Duplicate SSN and no activity
Z Reprocessed transaction

Dependency Override

The flag identifies a record that resulted from an application or
correction on which a successful dependency override request was
made. The applications allow an override in only one direction:
from dependent to independent. The SAR and electronic system
allow an FAA to cancel a previous override.

Blank No dependency override
Y FAA override from dependent to independent
N Dependency override cancelled

Special Handling

Blank No special handling
* MDE requested special handling
@ ED requested special handling
P Address too long; requires special handling
L Late processing authorized by ED

*Reprocessing Code (new for 1997-98)

As discussed in the overview, this code will provide information
about batches of records that are reprocessed by the CPS for any
reason. When the SysGen flag is set to "Z," this position will contain
a two-digit number, beginning with "01" and incrementing each time
that a subset of records is reprocessed. Check the SFA BBS for
announcements that will define the reason associated with a
particular code.


FAA Adjustment Flag

The flag indicates that a transaction resulted from a professional
judgment adjustment. Comment 27 also notifies an FAA of this
adjustment. When an FAA requests an adjustment, the CPS always
recalculates the EFC.

Blank No adjustment processed
Y FAA adjustment processed

Reject Reasons

Up to seven reject reason codes can be printed in this position. Refer
to Appendix A for the reject reason codes and the comment numbers
associated with certain types of rejects. As discussed in the
Introduction, one new reject (Reject 4) was added in 1997-98, and
Reject S was changed to Reject 18.

Application Receipt Date

This date shows the date the paper application was received by the
FAFSA processor, or the date an electronic transmission was
received by the CPS. In the paper system, the maximum time
allowed by contract with the processors to enter and transmit the
application data (turnaround time) is 7 days for original applications,
6 days for Renewal Applications, and 5 days for corrections. The
maximum CPS processing turnaround time is 3 days.

These days are defined by the contracts as "work" days (Monday
through Friday), not calendar days. The maximum time allowed
from receipt of an application or correction to mail-out of the
SAR would be 14 work days for original applications, 13 work days
for Renewal Applications, and 12 work days for corrections. These
totals for maximum turnaround time do not include mailing time for
the application or correction to reach the FAFSA Processor or for the
SAR to reach the student.

*Transaction Receipt Date (new for 1997-98)

The date appearing in this position will indicate the date that a
processor or the CPS received the input information that generated
the transaction. As described above, the receipt date for the first
application will be a fixed date; the transaction receipt date, however,
will change each time a new transaction is generated. For example,
a student sends in a Renewal Application that is received by the
FAFSA processor on March 13, 1997. This first transaction SAR
and ISIR would have an Application Receipt Date of March 13, 1997
and also a Transaction Receipt Date of March 13, 1997. The student
then sends in a subsequent original FAFSA on March 23, which
produces an 02 transaction. The 02 SAR and ISIR would keep the
Application Receipt Date of March 13, 1997 but the Transaction
Receipt Date would be March 23, 1997. If the student then mails in
a SAR with corrections and it is received on April 17, the 03
transaction would show an Application Receipt Date of
March 13, 1997 and a Transaction Receipt Date of April 17, 1997.

Subsequent Application Flag

This flag was added in 1996-97 to indicate that a transaction resulted
when a second, or subsequent, application was processed. Except for
address and school choices, the data on the SAR or ISIR generated
by a subsequent application will be the same data the student
submitted on the first application. If a different address and different
school choices are provided, the new information will appear on the
new transaction.

Blank Not a subsequent application
Y Second or later application

Early Analysis Flag

Using FAFSA Express only, a student may indicate that he or she is
applying for early admission for the 1998-99 school year. The
software sets a flag on the student's record that appears in the
FAA Information area. The early analysis indicator will appear on
the SAR and the ISIR, but not on the SAR Information
Acknowledgement. Please note that the early analysis flag does not
invalidate the SAR--it simply notifies the school that a student
checked the early analysis box on a FAFSA Express application. If
the student actually enrolls for the 1997-98 school year, the early
analysis record may be used for that school year.

Blank Not an early analysis student
Y Student indicated early analysis on a FAFSA Express

Auto Zero EFC Flag

An applicant who meets certain tax filing and income criteria will
qualify automatically for an expected family contribution figure of
"0." When these criteria are met, the CPS assigns a "0" EFC and
does not perform a calculation; intermediate values do not appear.

Blank Does not meet criteria
Y Student meets automatic zero EFC criteria

SNT Flag

This flag gives information about the Simplified Needs Test
calculation that excludes asset information. It is performed if an
applicant meets certain criteria for tax filing status and income

Blank SNT was not performed
Y SNT was met
N SNT was not met

Pell Eligible Flag

We added this flag to FAA Information to alert schools to an
applicant's Pell Grant eligibility status. A "Y" in this location
confirms that a student's EFC and undergraduate status makes him
or her eligible for a Pell Grant, and that the record has been included
in the payment system database.

Blank Not eligible for a Pell Grant
Y Eligible for a Pell Grant

Match Flags

These alpha or numeric codes show the results of matching the
applicant record with a data base containing information that can
affect eligibility. A detailed discussion about the flags or codes
that will appear in the FAA Information section for the SSN Match
Flag, Selective Service Registration Flag, Selective Service Match
Flag, INS Match Flag, SSA Citizenship Code, NSLDS Match Flag,
and NSLDS Results Flag can be found be found in Appendix B.
Additional information on the NSLDS match can be found in
Appendix C.

The INS Verification Number also appears under the "Match Flags"
heading of FAA Information. The number that will appear in this
position is a 13-digit confirmation number that the INS returns when
a match was conducted. The FAA must use this number when
secondary confirmation is necessary.

The NSLDS Results Flag has appeared in the ISIR layout in previous
years, and beginning in 1997-98 it will also be printed on the SAR,
SAR Information Acknowledgement, and the ISIR. See the
Introduction and Appendices B and C for explanation of the results

*NSLDS Transaction Number (New for 1997-98)

This code appears at the end of the match flag section, although it is
not a true match flag. We provide the number of the last transaction
on which the student's NSLDS data changed as a signal to the
financial aid administrator to review NSLDS information on a
particular transaction. See the Introduction and Appendix C for
additional information on the NSLDS transaction number.

ISIR FAA Information

FAA Information on the ISIR is formatted a bit differently from the
SAR. In the section titled Office Information, the following
information appears:

Formula Type
Processed Date
Application Source
Transaction Type
Institution Number
Reject Override Codes
Assumption Override Codes

The student's PIN will appear in this section only for a transaction
type of "0" or "5," when the school receiving the ISIR also entered
the student's application or renewal application data. The PIN will
not appear on an ISIR in other situations. The Formula Type is not
printed on the SAR but does appear on the SAR Information
Acknowledgement since the SAR Information Acknowledgement is
the paper output from an electronic transaction. Other codes in this
section correspond to SAR data, e.g., application source corresponds
to "Agency Source" on the SAR.

"Transaction Type" identifies the source of the transaction.

0 Electronic original application
1 Paper application
2 Electronic correction
3 Electronic duplicate Request
4 Paper correction
5 Electronic renewal application

The "Formula Type" code tells an FAA which formula was used to
calculate the EFC.

1 Full needs test: dependent
2 Full needs test: independent w/o dependents
3 Full needs test: independent with dependents
4 SNT: dependent
5 SNT: independent w/o dependents
6 SNT: independent with dependents

[[The graphics "ISIR FAA Information" and "SAR Information
Acknowledgment" on page 20 are currently unavailable for viewing
on the SFA BBS. Please reference your paper document or
download the pdf files for additional information.]]

The Institution Number verifies the identity of the originating
institution. Reject and Assumption Override Codes appear because
the EDExpress software allows an FAA to override certain rejects
that are designated as "verifiable" rejects. It also allows an FAA to
override certain assumptions that the CPS would make about a
student's data when the information appears to be inconsistent. The
Office Information section on the ISIR shows which Reject Override
Codes and which Assumption Override Codes were set on the

The ISIR also has FAA Information at the end of the information
summary. The codes appearing on the ISIR are identical to codes
that appear in the SAR FAA Information section except for
"Correction # Applied To," which reports the transaction number
against which an electronic correction was applied.

SAR Information Acknowledgement FAA Information

Because this type of SAR is a paper report to the student, but also an
eligibility document like the correctable SAR and the ISIR, it
contains information for both student and FAA. The intent of this
document is to allow a student to review processing results when the
information was input electronically by the school. The information
section is headed "Processing Results" rather than "FAA

We have included here all the important match flags showing results
of eligibility matches, as well as other information that an FAA
would need to use the SAR Information Acknowledgement as an
eligibility document.

The comment text printed on the page is a basic set of comments
directed to the student, but the comment codes listed at the bottom of
the section include all SAR/ISIR comments that were generated for
this record.

Primary and Secondary EFCs/Alternate EFCs

Both SAR and ISIR FAA Information sections contain the headings
"Months," "Primary EFC," and "Secondary EFC."

If both a Primary and a Secondary EFC appear, it means the student
qualified for the Simplified Needs Test (SNT) but also provided
information about assets. Two calculations were performed,
producing the Primary EFC (asset information was not included in
the calculation) and the Secondary EFC (asset information was
included in a full-data calculation).

[[The graphics "SAR" and "ISIR" on page 21 are currently
unavailable for viewing on the SFA BBS. Please reference your
paper document or download the pdf files for additional

If only a Primary EFC appears, it means either 1) the student did not
meet the Simplified Needs Test criteria and only the full-data
calculation was done, or 2) the student met the SNT criteria but
provided no asset information, or provided incomplete or
inconsistent asset information and only one calculation could be

The figures printed for each of the twelve months represent alternate
EFCs that an FAA must use to award aid--other than Federal Pell
Grants--for an academic year that is less than or greater than nine
months. For a dependent student, the alternate EFCs are calculated
by the CPS according to a formula prescribed in the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as amended. For the independent student,
the law does not provide a formula but the CPS calculates a simple
proration of the EFC by month.

Intermediate Compute Values

These abbreviations represent the intermediate steps used in
calculating the EFC. They show the separate components of the
need analysis formula, such as the "employment expense allowance"
or "parents' contribution from assets." These components are defined
in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The values can be
useful to FAAs in doing recalculations or in making professional
judgment adjustments to data.

Alternate EFCs and intermediate values do not appear on the SAR
Information Acknowledgement, only on the two-part SAR and the

The intermediate values are identified as follows:

TI Total Income
ATI Allowances Against Total Income
STX State and Other Tax Allowance
EA Employment Allowance

IPA Income Protection Allowance
AI Available Income
CAI Contribution from Available Income (Independent Student)
DNW Discretionary Net Worth

APA Education Savings and Asset Protection Allowance
PCA Parents' Contribution from Assets
AAI Adjusted Available Income
TPC Total Parents' Contribution

TSC Total Student's Contribution
PC Parents' Contribution
SIC Dependent Student's Income Contribution
SCA Dependent Student's Contribution from Assets

Detailed information on the need analysis formula and methodology
for calculating the EFC is available in an ED publication titled

Comment Codes

The last line in FAA Information shows the codes for comments
generated on the record, which are important to the FAA. Standard
comments to the student, where the text is printed on the SAR, are
not included here. FAAs can review the comment codes and not
have to read through every comment provided to the student to find
information requiring FAA action. Up to 20 comment codes may be
printed, and students receiving more than 20 comments will be
rejected (Reject 20).

The EDExpress software allows comment text to be printed out, if
desired, for an ISIR. The SAR Information Acknowledgement, as
mentioned previously, prints the full set of SAR comment CODES
pertaining to that student's electronic record in the "comment code"
section under Processing Results. The comment text printed out on
the page, however, will be taken from the set of seven basic
comments written for the student's information. All comment codes
and text used in 1997-98 are provided in Appendix D. The seven
SAR Information Acknowledgement comments appear on the first
page of Appendix D.

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Last Modified: 08/05/1998