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Summary: Issue Alert: NSLDS Postscreening Data on 2008-2009 ISIR Records May Incorrectly Indicate Student is About to Exceed Aggregate Loan Limits

Publication Date: July 23, 2008

Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Issue Alert: NSLDS Postscreening Data on 2008-2009 ISIR Records May Incorrectly Indicate Student is About to Exceed Aggregate Loan Limits

Posted on 07-23-2008

Federal Student Aid has discovered an issue with data provided by the Central Processing System (CPS) to the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS) for use in the postscreening process for 2008-2009 Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs). This system issue resulted in the incorrect identification of independent students as dependent students in NSLDS, and as a result, during the NSLDS postscreening process, some students were erroneously flagged as exceeding aggregate loan limits on postscreening Student Aid Report (SAR)/ISIR transactions generated by the CPS.

We have determined that approximately 18,000 postscreening records have been impacted by this issue since January 1, 2008. Impacted postscreening ISIR transactions were sent using message class IGSG09OP and contain the following identifiers:

  • SAR C Flag (ISIR field # 175)
  • NSLDS Postscreening Reason Code 10 (ISIR field #282)
  • SAR Comment Code 260 ("Based upon data provided by the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), your grade level, and your dependency status, we have determined that you may have received student loans in excess of loan limits established for the federal loan programs. You should review the information on Page 4.")

Note: This issue is limited to the exchange of data between the CPS and NSLDS only and does not impact the CPS calculation of the dependency status on the SAR or ISIR. From the beginning of the 2008-2009 application processing year, the CPS has assigned the correct dependency status to student aid applicants, and the correct model determination and need analysis formula were used to determine applicants' expected family contribution (EFC).

Resolution of Issue

We resolved the CPS issue that resulted in providing the incorrect dependency status values to NSLDS on July 16, 2008. We are currently evaluating the steps necessary to correct the dependency status data in NSLDS and plan to send out new postscreening SAR/ISIR transactions the week of July 28, 2008. These new transactions will contain the NSLDS Postscreening Reason Code of 99 (Other).

Implementation of ECASLA Loan Limits at NSLDS

The issue described in this message is responsible for most of the recent increase in postscreening SAR/ISIR transactions being sent to students and schools. However, the increase in postscreening output is also related to the new loan limits mandated by the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 (ECASLA), Pub. L. 110-227. Schools are authorized as of July 1, 2008 to award loans according to ECASLA loan limits; however, the aggregate loan limit warning edits in NSLDS are still set at pre-ECASLA levels.

During the postscreening process, NSLDS looks to see if applicants have exceeded aggregate loan limits. If so, NSLDS notifies the CPS to send out SAR/ISIR transactions to students and schools with a SAR "C" flag and the corresponding SAR comment. However, because NSLDS currently uses pre-ECASLA aggregate loan limits, some of these system-generated transactions may be in error and students may be eligible for loan awards that NSLDS has flagged as potentially exceeding aggregate loan limits.

NSLDS is planning to implement the increased aggregate loan limit warning edits by mid-August 2008. This will help reduce the number of postscreening SAR/ISIR transactions.

Note: It is important that financial aid administrators continue to carefully investigate each postscreening ISIR sent by the CPS. Postscreening SAR/ISIR records may be generated with the same indicators provided earlier in this message for entirely legitimate reasons related to a particular student's financial aid history.

If You Have Questions

We regret any inconvenience this issue may have caused you.

If you have any questions regarding this message, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at CPSSAIG@ed.gov.

Last Modified: 07/22/2008