Summary: 1996-97 FAFSA Processing - Announcement #21
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA
Announcement #21 - March 28, 1996
1996-97 FAFSA Processing
This letter is the twenty-first message in our continuing updates on 1996-97 processing.
Since I wrote you last week, we have transmitted more than 1.8 million FAFSAs/Renewal
FAFSAs. In order to meet the March 31 deadline we must process approximately
440,000 applications over the next 4 days. There are 19 processing days until April 15
with approximately 1.7 million remaining applications, including the 440,000 mentioned
Since we have developed the capacity to process over 100,000 applications a day, we are
confident that we will meet our March 31 and April 15 processing commitments to
students, postsecondary institutions, and states.
During the past few weeks we have monitored and responded to all concerns expressed
by the higher education community. I would like to address two recent issues: (1)
rumors of lost applications; and (2) the rate of the Central Processing System (CPS)
output this year versus last year.
To our knowledge there are no lost applications. However, there are approximately 8,500
January applications still being processed. The Public Inquiry Contractor (PIC) is telling
an applicant to refile if he or she filed in January and his or her application is still being
processed. This response is the standard message that we have used in prior years. If you
have any information indicating that applications were lost, please call our Customer
Support immediately at (800) 433-7327 so we can investigate these claims.
I would also like to address the issue of the number of applications processed this year
versus the same time last year. Our strategy calls for increased output from one week to
the next. Until we return to the normal processing cycle of 14 days on April 15, the
number of records received by a school this year will be less than last year.
As we make progress on the aging of the applications, there will be a steady increase in
record output from the CPS. Keep in mind that after the MDEs transmit the application
data to the CPS, it takes two to three days for an Institutional Student Information Record
(ISIR) to be sent to the school and up to seven days to mail a Student Aid Report (SAR).
We hope that these explanations are helpful to you. We acknowledge the seriousness of
the problems you and your applicants are experiencing. We have received reports that
some schools are encouraging applicants to submit photocopies of their applications to
the schools, and are performing hand calculations in advance of receiving the official
expected family contribution. We realize that these and other extraordinary efforts are
beyond the call of duty and will ensure that no student is unduly harmed by these
processing delays. We thank you for these efforts, for your patience, and for your
suggestions on continuous improvement.