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(General) Subject: Change to Unusual Enrollment History Selection

Posted Date:January 20, 2016

Author: Jeff Baker, Director, Policy Liaison and Implementation, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Change to Unusual Enrollment History Selection

This Electronic Announcement provides information about a change that began on January 1, 2016 in the criteria used to select FAFSA applicants for Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) monitoring. The UEH Flag indicates whether the FAFSA applicant has an unusual enrollment history with regard to the receipt of Title IV student aid. The specific unusual enrollment pattern is one where the student may have attended an institution long enough to receive a Title IV credit balance, leaves without completing the enrollment period, enrolls at another institution, and repeats the pattern of remaining enrolled just long enough to collect another Title IV credit balance.

When we began UEH monitoring with the 2013-2014 FAFSA cycle, we only considered students’ receipt of Federal Pell Grants. Beginning with the 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle we added Direct Loans to UEH monitoring. After that change some institutions noted that they were seeing an increase in the number of applicants selected for UEH monitoring, many of whom were graduate students. An internal analysis supported these institutional observations. Of course, it is not unusual for a student who had attended two or even three institutions as an undergraduate to then attend one or more institutions as a graduate student.

In response to the concerns raised by the financial aid community, we have adjusted the criteria we use to flag a FAFSA for UEH. Beginning January 1, 2016, we began monitoring FAFSA applicants’ enrollment history separately for their undergraduate and graduate receipt of Title IV aid. This will prevent a student from being selected for UEH monitoring simply because of enrollment at other institutions prior to becoming a graduate student. To minimize the graduate student issue for the remainder of the 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle, this change will be applied to both the new 2016-2017 FAFSA cycle and to the on-going 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle.

While, as noted we believe it is important to have the changed UEH selection criteria apply to the on-going 2015-2016 FAFSA cycle, we remind institutions that any change in a student’s UEH status results in “NSLDS Postscreening” where we create and send to institutions new ISIRs showing the changed NSLDS data. Therefore, some institutions will receive system-generated 2015-2016 ISIRs for students as a result of this postscreening where the UEH value changed from ‘2’ or ‘3’ to ‘blank’.

Institutions may choose whether or not to review these ISIRs. In some instances a review might result in the elimination of the need for the institution to resolve a UEH status from an earlier ISIR transaction.

To make it as easy as possible for institutions to manage these ISIRs, they will:

  • Be produced on one specific date – January 22, 2016 – and no other ISIRs produced as a result of NSLDS postscreening will be produced on that date.

  • Be sent in SAIG Message Class 'IGSG16OP'

  • Have a Transaction Data Source value of '5N'

  • Have a Postscreening Reason Code value of '24'

We thank those institutions that provided the information we needed to make the changes noted above and we thank all of our institutions for their continued cooperation in helping to ensure the integrity of the Title IV student assistance programs.

Last Modified: 01/19/2016