Summary: 1996-97 FAFSA Processing - Announcement #14
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA
Announcement #14 - March 20, 1996
1996-97 FAFSA Processing
Dear Financial Aid Administrator,
This is the fourteenth message in our continuing updates on 1996-97 FAFSA processing.
Since I last wrote to you, we have made significant progress, and we are confident that we
will meet our processing goals of March 31 for all applications filed through the end of
February, and April 15 for all applications filed through the end of March.
As of March 20, we have processed more than 1.1 million records, which have resulted in
more than 3 million ISIRs.
Our recovery plan is based on stabilizing the optical imaging processing as well as
developing an alternate process. This secondary process provides a necessary back-up to
the primary process and also allows us to make more progress in resolving the delayed
I am pleased to report that last week we doubled the output from the optical imaging
process and successfully implemented a key-data/key-verify process at two additional
major sites. Our rapid expansion of this secondary process will lead to incremental
increases in production each week until our processing goals are met.
We now have a number of additional processing sites that are dedicated to processing
FAFSAs. Many of these sites have been added since we began processing in early
In order to efficiently apply the resources of these additional sites and add their
production capability to that which existed, we have had to move records from one site to
another. When deciding which records to move, we considered a variety of factors: date
of receipt, status of processing, production capacity of each site, geographical distance
between sites, and cost. By redistributing these records, we have assured that all
applications will be processed in the shortest time possible. However, we will not be able
to adhere strictly to our first-in, first-out processing approach.
As of this date all January records received at ACT have been processed; INET has about
30,000 records remaining from January that will be processed this week. February and
March records are dispersed among the three main processors, ACT, INET and NCS, and
are in the following stages of production.
o ACT has completed all its applications through the first half of February. It will work
on its remaining February records and then its March records in chronological order by
date of receipt. ACT is also processing all correction records received by ACT and
INET. The history correction process went into production March 15 and FAFSA
Express signature pages were processed first.
o INET will complete its processing of the 30,000 records remaining from January this
week and has begun processing records received during the first week of February. INET
next will process applications that it received the second week of February, followed by
those records received the fourth week. Then, INET will process records it receives in
the third and fourth weeks of March.
o NCS is processing records that originally were received by INET. These include records
that INET received during the third week of February as well as during the first two
weeks of March. These were the best records to transport to NCS as they had not yet
entered one of the production stages.
This means that some records will be processed out of strict order. However, this
approach creates the least disruption to the current process and provides the best
assurance that all records will be processed by the deadlines of March 31 and April 15.
I also want to inform you that later this week we will make some enhancements to our
status reports. To date we have informed you of the number of aggregate records and
ISIRs processed by the CPS. These numbers are not easily matched with dates of receipt.
For this reason, we also want to share additional numbers with you. On Friday of this
week, we will provide you with the number of records transmitted by the MDEs to the
CPS. These numbers provide you a better indication of the aging of the delayed
applications as well as an earlier indication of the CPS output.
We hope that this more comprehensive reporting of the status of our private contractors'
progress will assist you in managing your workload and developing school-based
strategies. If you have any other suggestions on how our reporting can assist you, please
do not hesitate to contact our Customer Support team at (800) 433-7327.
In closing, all of us in the U.S. Department of Education recognize the hardships to
students and schools resulting from the processing delays. We thank you for your
continued patience and understanding and remain open to any suggestions you have on
how we can better assist students and schools during this critical time.
Elizabeth M. Hicks
Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Student Financial Assistance Programs