Summary: FAFSA processing for 1997/98
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA
October 18, 1996
This is the first of a series of messages that I will send you over the next four months
to keep you informed about the FAFSA processing for 1997/98.
I am pleased to report that on October 15, the Department began distributing the 1997-98
Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the earliest-ever distribution of the
FAFSA, and we hope it helps you make the student aid process as easy as possible for
your students. As we have said in earlier messages and letters, we are distributing the
FAFSA to high schools first. The high school distribution will take approximately one
week to complete, and we will then begin mailing forms to postsecondary schools and
our other customers.
This year, we have introduced an automated application ordering system, and we
recently sent you a letter describing in detail how to use the system. If you have not ordered
FAFSAs yet, you can place your order by dialing 1-800-284-2788 (have your Title IV
Institution Code Number available when you call). The instructions will walk you through
the process, and you can call that number back at any time to confirm your order.
We expect to have all postsecondary school orders mailed by mid-November. Please
remember that the FAFSA is sent by fourth class mail, and that it is not unusual for
delivery to take up to four weeks.
Although this announcement primarily concerns the paper FAFSA, I would like to note
that the 1997-98 FAFSA Express software will be available in late December or early
January and can be downloaded from the Department's world wide web site
(www.ed.gov.). We have made this version more user-friendly, and as a direct result of
input from the financial aid community, we have added a "save-to-diskette' function. If
you can provide your students access to computers with modems, FAFSA Express will
cut the turnaround time for a student's application from weeks to days.
Your patience and support were invaluable to us during the delays we experienced in
processing FAFSAs last March and April. In the time since then, we have implemented
an ongoing effort to increase the amount of feedback we receive from students and from
the financial aid community and to make significant improvements in the student aid
delivery system. Many of the improvements we have made in the 1997-98 delivery
system, in fact, are the direct result of the thoughtful and valuable input we received
Thank you for your partnership in ensuring student access to financial aid and
Elizabeth M. Hicks
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs