In an electronic announcement published yesterday, the Department of Education (ED)’s Office of Federal Student Aid announced that the Central Processing System (CPS) will be reprocessing a second batch of FAFSAs around September 9th because of applicant error in entering income data. As first reported by NASFAA on July 3, when the lengths for income fields on the FAFSA were extended from 7 to 9 characters, applicants were able to mistakenly add cents into the fields. The additional two digits were calculated as dollars, leading to significant Expected Family Contribution (EFC) miscalculations.
The July reprocessing focused on possible errors that may have resulted in an applicant appearing to be Pell Grant eligible when they are not. The upcoming reprocessing is targeted at possible errors that may have resulted in higher Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) and, in some instances, the reduction or elimination of Pell Grant eligibility when, in fact, the student might be Pell Grant eligible. ED estimates that this second round will result in fewer students than in July – less than 160,000.
ED strongly encourages, but does not require, institutions to review the reprocessed records sent to them in the September batch. This flexibility will allow institutions to consider their own student populations and behaviors and make the best decisions. Since this applicant error may prevent a student from receiving federal aid for which they’re eligible, NASFAA encourages institutions to review the reprocessed records. Understanding that this is an extremely busy time of year for financial aid offices and resources may be limited, NASFAA suggests prioritizing resolution of reprocessed records of first-year students, since they are less likely to have noticed a possible error and brought it to the school’s attention.
Publication Date: 9/5/2014