Summary: 1996-97 FAFSA Processing - Announcement #6
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA
Announcement #6, March 8, 1996
1996-97 FEDERAL STUDENT AID APPLICATION PROCESSING
The Department has processed approximately 500,000 FAFSAs to date.
Issue: Determining Award Eligibility for Students
In keeping with our commitment to keep you informed about the status of application
processing for the 1996-97 award year, we are providing this daily announcement. This
announcement is number six in the series.
Because of the delay that the U.S. Department of Education has been experiencing with
processing paper Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) and Renewal
FAFSAs, the Department has encouraged institutions and states that use an application's
processing date to prioritize students' eligibility for aid to reconsider how to make these
decisions this year. In the Department's March 4 announcement, the Department
encouraged institutions and agencies to adopt a "first come-first served" method for
determining students eligibility for aid. In other words, we have suggested that
institutions and agencies use the date they receive the SAR or ISIR or use the date the
application was received (i.e., application receipt date) by the Multiple Data Entry
We have also suggested that institutions encourage their students to use electronic means
of applying for student aid. While FAFSA Express and EDExpress are still the fastest
and cheapest way for students to complete FAFSA processing, we want institutions to be
aware that this method is not recommended for students who have already sent in a paper
application but have yet to receive their processing results. Students who complete an
electronic FAFSA before their original paper application gets processed may face some
difficulty if their institution or agency uses application receipt date to determine their
eligibility for student aid.
The problem they may run into is that the Central Processing System (CPS) does not
update the application receipt date for subsequent transactions. When a second, or
subsequent, original application 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 been actually received by the Multiple Data Entry (MDE) processor
first, students who send in an electronic FAFSA instead of waiting for their paper
application to be processed would have their electronic application record actually
processed by the CPS first. Then, when their paper application (which actually had the
earlier application receipt date) was processed by the CPS, the student's application
receipt date from the processing of their electronic FAFSA would remain on the record.
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
Institutions should make their students aware that this may be the consequence of filing
an electronic application in lieu of waiting for their paper applications to be processed.
Institutions should also note that ACT applications that were 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.