Summary: This letter provides information and schedules for institutions that wish to have their students receive the 1998-99 Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Renewal FAFSA).
Action Letter #1
SUMMARY: This letter provides information and schedules for institutions that wish to have their students receive the 1998-99 Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Renewal FAFSA).
The 1998-99 Renewal Application process pre-prints data from a student's 1997-98 FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA, and requires the student to provide only annual financial data and to update other information only if it has changed. For the 1998-99 application year, an institution that participates in Electronic Data Exchange (EDE)
may request electronic or paper Renewal FAFSAs for its students. If no institution requests an eligible Renewal applicant's record (either electronic or paper), the Department of Education will print and mail the Renewal Application directly to the student. This process allows the requesting institution to distribute Renewal Applications to its own students, or choose to have the Department handle the
distribution. Requests may be made using procedures identical to those used for the 1997-98 application year. Your school will have access to all eligible (see discussion below for the description of eligibility criteria) Renewal applicants who listed your school on their 1997-98 FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA.
Your institution has several options it may choose from for participation in the Renewal application process for 1998-99. These options allow you to select all of your eligible applicants or only selected groups of applicants (see Enclosure C for more information on selecting groups of applicants). Please note that these options and procedures for the 1998-99 Renewal Application process are identical to the 1997-98 options and procedures. The options are:
1. Electronic Renewal Applications. You may request that electronic Renewal FAFSAs for all, or selected groups of,eligible applicants who included your school on their 1997-98 application be sent to your school or destination point. When a school receives an electronic Renewal Application for a student, it MUST (1) print out the Renewal FAFSA using capabilities contained in the EDExpress software or using mainframe specifications provided in the EDE Technical Reference, (2) mail or otherwise distribute the Renewal FAFSA and instructions to the student, and (3) electronically input and transmit to the CPS the application information provided when the student completes and returns the Renewal Application to the school. The instructions can be obtained by printing them out in pdf format from the SFA BBS or the OPE Web page: (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OPE/Professionals) or by requesting a quantity of instruction books from Title IV WAN Customer Service (1-800-615-1189). As a reminder, any Renewal Application printed by a school can only be submitted to the CPS electronically using EDE.
2. CPS Prints/School Distributes. You may choose all, or selected groups of, eligible students and request that paper Renewal FAFSAs be printed for those students by the Department's Central Processing System (CPS). These applications will be packaged and mailed in bulk, along with instructions and return mail envelopes, to your institution for distribution to the students. Your school will also receive an electronic file containing Renewal Applications for the students selected; this electronic file may be used to enter and transmit completed 1998-99 applicant information back to the CPS. Schools that request paper Renewal Applications in bulk mailings are obligated to distribute these applications to the students. When a student completes a CPS-printed Renewal FAFSA, the student can mail the completed application to the FAFSA processor; use Renewal FAFSA on the Web, if eligible; or return the application to their school for entry via EDExpress, if the school participates in electronic Renewal Applications.
3. CPS Prints and Mails. You may choose not to submit any request for Renewal FAFSAs, and allow the CPS to print Renewal Applications for eligible students that were not selected by any school. The CPS will then mail the Renewal FAFSA directly to the student. In 1998-99, printing and direct mailing will begin with students living on the east coast, alternating with the 1997-98 process, where the mailing began with the west coast.
If your school uses options #1 or #2, or a combination of both options, but does not select all of its eligible Renewal applicants, the CPS will print and mail Renewal Applications to all non-selected applicants as described in option #3. Non-selected applicants are the eligible students whose Renewal Application record was not
requested by any school.
Even if you request Renewal Applications, either for electronic applications (Option #1) or for bulk mailing (Option #2) for students who included your school on their 1997-98 FAFSA, but who are not enrolled at your school, you still have the obligation to deliver the applications to these students. If your institution does not meet this obligation, your ability to participate in the Renewal Application
process may be suspended and you may be subject to Title IV non-compliance findings.
Selection, Sorting, ad Timeframes
For 1998-99, we have maintained the same RAD (Renewal Application Data) request options that were available in 1997-98. Also as in 1997-98, bulk mailings of paper Renewal Applications can be ordered in several sort orders and you may choose one of two time windows for receiving bulk mailings. For Type 1 requests (all Renewal application records for your destination point), Type 3 requests (all records for particular institutions), and Type 4 requests (all records for a destination point by grade level), you may indicate whether you wish to receive the RADD (Renewal Application Data received) files sorted in SSN, alpha (by last name), or ZIP code
order. Type 2 requests (individual SSN requests) are returned in the same order in which you submitted the requested student SSNs to the CPS (see Enclosure C). We are allowing a four-week period for making RAD requests, and as discussed later, these requests will be processed daily. The requesting institution will receive a message indicating the request was successful and a file of Renewal Applications was transmitted to the school (RADD file), or that the request was unsuccessful and an error report was transmitted to the school (EREP99OP).
Each complete student package that is sent to the applicant by the CPS, or sent in bulk to a school as a result of the school's request, will include the Renewal FAFSA, an instruction book that has a return postcard attached, a return envelope, and a flyer informing the student about Renewal FAFSA on the Web and the requirements for filing a Renewal Application via the Internet.
New for 1998-99
To assist institutions that request the CPS to print and bulk-mail 1998-99 Renewal FAFSAs to the institution's address, we will process RAD requests daily for a period of four weeks. After submitting a RAD request, an institution will receive a message from the CPS that either a RADD file or an error file has been transmitted
to the institution. The RADD file message indicates that the institution's RAD request was accepted, and that a file containing the relevant student records was transmitted to the institution's electronic mailbox. Transmission of an error file (EREP99OP) indicates that a RAD request needs to be corrected and resubmitted. With this daily processing, an institution will be able to resolve any errors and resubmit requests throughout the entire four-week period, rather than waiting until the end of the process. See Enclosure A for a schedule of milestone dates in the Renewal Application process.
We have also added several new enclosures to this letter: Enclosure C provides the Type 2 Request file layout along with the procedures for requesting a RAD file. Enclosure D lists common errors that institutions make when submitting Type 2 RAD requests, and offers some hints to help you avoid these errors. Enclosure E contains a chart to assist in interpreting the RAD error file (EREP99OP).
This year, the CPS will not conduct a match with the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) prior to creating a student's 1998-99 Renewal Application. Instead, any student whose most recent 1997-98 transaction indicates a status of default or
overpayment (NSLDS match flag 2, 3, or 4) will be excluded from the Renewal Applicant database and will not be eligible to receive a 1998-99 Renewal Application. If the default or overpayment has been resolved, these students may apply using an original FAFSA. When students submit their 1998-99 application data, the applications will be matched with the NSLDS, and the current status will appear on 1998-99 SARs and ISIRs produced for that student.
In previous years, we distributed a separate version of the EDExpress software prior to system start-up to allow institutions to import Renewal application data and print out electronic Renewal applications for their students. Very few institutions used this early Renewal Application software, so we are discontinuing the separate
release for 1998-99. Title IV WAN will distribute the complete 1998-99 EDExpress for Windows software in late December 1997. This release will enable you to import and print out information from the RADD files previously received, as well as to enter and submit 1998-99 Renewal Applications after January 1, 1998.
Enclosure A contains the schedule of important dates for the Renewal Application process.
Enclosure B provides information about connecting to the Title IV Wide Area Network (TIV- WAN) if your school is not already connected, and for using the TIV-WAN.
Enclosure C gives step-by-step information on procedures for submitting institutional RAD requests, and the file layout for Type 2 requests.
Enclosure D has helpful hints for Type 2 requests.
Enclosure E contains a chart that interprets the EREP99OP (RAD Errors) file.
Enclosure F answers some frequently-asked questions about the Renewal Application process.
Renewal Application Request Deadlines
Institutions may begin requesting Renewal Applications using EDE on October 6, 1997, and may continue to transmit requests through noon, central time, November 7, 1997. Renewal Application records not selected by any school for either electronic downloading or bulk mailing during this period will be printed and mailed by the CPS
directly to students beginning November 18, 1997 and ending on January 2, 1998.
An institution may continue to request electronic Renewal Applications after November 7, 1997. The paper print options are no longer available to schools after this cutoff date, but you will receive an electronic file of the student records you request and may use this file to enter and submit 1998-99 Renewal Application data to the CPS. The CPS will continue to print and mail Renewal FAFSAs to the students who were not selected by any school prior to the November 7 cutoff date.
Delivery of Bulk-mailed Renewal Applications
Schools may request bulk mailings of paper Renewal Applications to be mailed out to them either between November 8 and November 17, 1997 or on a later schedule between January 12 and January 25, 1998. You must specify one of these delivery schedules at the time you transmit your request for bulk student records. See the schedule in Enclosure A.
Renewal Appliation Eligibility Criteria
The eligibility criteria for including students in the Renewal Application database are the same as those used in previous years, except for the elimination of a preliminary screening through NSLDS. We do not include in the database Renewal Applications for students whose 1997-98 record was, and remains, rejected, and
those for whom the only valid transaction was the result of professional judgement or dependency override. We do not include students whose most recent 1997-98 transaction has an NSLDS match flag that indicates default or overpayment. In addition, we will not automatically print Renewal Applications for students who
indicated on their 1997-98 applications that (1) their grade level in college was 5th year/undergraduate or graduate, and (2) that they expected to complete their program by August 1997. However, the Renewal Application records for these students exist in the data base and are included in the electronic files transmitted to schools if they requested the students. The institution can print an electronic
Renewal Application for such a student.
Creation of the Renewal Application File.
We plan to create the Renewal applicant database twice, once on October 10, 1997, and again in late February or early March 1998. The second database will add students whose 1997-98 applications were processed after September 29, 1997, or whose status changed from rejected to non-rejected after that date. For these students, the CPS will not print paper applications, either individually or via a
bulk mailing request, but their Renewal records will be added to the database and can be drawn down and printed by an institution using the EDE process.
If you have questions about the Renewal Application process, please call CPS Customer Service at 1-800-330-5947. Enclosure B gives information on the customer service numbers to use for specific types of inquiries relating to this process.
Elizabeth M. Hicks
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs