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1996-97 FAFSA Processing - Announcement #18

PublicationDate: 3/26/96
Summary: 1996-97 FAFSA Processing - Announcement #18
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA

Announcement # 18 -- March 26, 1996

This is announcement number 18 in a series for financial aid
administrators. For information on individual applications, parents
and students should contact 319-337-5665.

1996-97 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Processing Status Report

A. Refiling FAFSAs

The Department has received several requests for guidance about
whether students should send in another 1996-97 FAFSA if they
have not yet received their Student Aid Reports (SARs) or the
institution has not been able to draw down an Institutional Student
Information Report (ISIR). To date, the Department has advised that
students should not complete another FAFSA.

The benefits to filing a subsequent application are clear (i.e., parents
and students will feel more secure that an application is being
processed for them), but there are several reasons why we have not
yet advised students to complete another FAFSA.

1. If students send in another paper FAFSA, they probably will not
have this subsequent FAFSA processed any earlier. In fact, it will
only serve to create a larger number of applications waiting to be

2. If students send in an electronic FAFSA before their paper
application is processed, they may face some difficulty if their
institution or state agency uses application receipt date to determine
their eligibility for student aid. If students' subsequent paper
FAFSAs are processed before the original paper FAFSAs, this will
also create problems with the receipt date.

As we mentioned in an earlier announcement, the problem is that the
Central Processing System (CPS) is unable to update the application
receipt date for subsequent transactions. When a second, or
subsequent, FAFSA is received by the CPS, the data from the last
non-adjusted transaction on file for the student is duplicated (with the
exception of the student's address and institution choices). In other
words, even though the student's paper application may have actually
been received at the Multiple Data Entry (MDE) processor first,
students who send in an electronic FAFSA instead of waiting for
their paper application to be processed will actually have their
electronic application record processed by the CPS first.

In this circumstance, when the paper application (which actually had
the earlier application receipt date) gets processed by the CPS, the
student's application receipt date from the processing of their
electronic FAFSA will remain on the record. For example:

February 12 - Student sends paper FAFSA to MDE

February 16 - MDE receives paper FAFSA
(application receipt date = 2/16/96)

March 4 - Student sends electronic application to CPS
(application receipt date = 3/4/96)

March 6 - CPS processes electronic application
(application receipt date = 3/4/96,
process date = 3/6/96)

March 8 - CPS processes paper application
(process date = 3/8/96, application receipt date will
not be updated and will remain 3/4/96)

Institutions should note that ACT applications received between
January 2 and January 5 will contain an application receipt date of
January 5. Applications received by ACT after that date are dated
with the actual date received. I-NET applications received from
January 2 through 29 will contain an application receipt date of
January 29. All other applications will be dated with the actual
receipt date, including those applications that are now being keyed
by NCS.

Of the applications received by the end of January, 96 percent have
been processed by the CPS. Therefore, institutions may feel more
comfortable advising students who mailed in their applications in
January to refile their applications at this time, if they have not
received an ISIR or a SAR. However, the Department urges
institutions to make students aware of the consequences of filing an
electronic application in lieu of waiting for their paper applications to
be processed.

Institutions should note that we are suggesting, when students call
the Federal Student Aid Information Center (800-4-FED-AID or
319-337-5665), that they contact their schools to inquire whether it
would be helpful for the institution to receive a photocopy of the
student's FAFSA. The Department has made this decision to give
institutions the opportunity to make early award decisions based on
this information.

We appreciate your continued diligence and patience.

Last Modified: 08/16/1999