FSA Announces New FAFSA Specifications Guide

By Jill Desjean, Senior Policy Analyst

Last month, Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced its new FAFSA Specifications Guide for the 2024-25 aid year and published a draft introduction along with its first draft volume of the guide.

In a new approach to releasing FAFSA processing cycle information, FSA will produce a single, multi-volume guide to replace current stand-alone documents including the Summary of Changes for the Application Processing System, Institutional Student Information Records (ISIR) Guide, and Student Aid Report (SAR) Comment Codes and Text, among others.

Each volume will include a Change History Table, which will include a cumulative list of revisions as updates are released.

The draft introduction includes a description and planned release dates of each of the nine volumes that will be released for the 2024-25 processing cycle, as well as a cross-reference table directing users to volumes that contain information previously released in separate documents.

The Pell Eligibility and SAI Guide, which replaces the EFC Formula Guide and was released as a draft in November, will continue to be a stand-alone document.

The first draft volume — Volume 4: Record Layouts and Processing Codes — contains information from the former Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) Technical Reference and the former ISIR Guide. The Department of Education stresses that the volume is a very early draft, and that all data elements in the draft ISIR layout remain tentative while FSA continues to determine additional FAFSA simplification requirements.

An update to Volume 4, plus draft releases of Volume 5 (Edits and Rejects) and Volume 6 (ISIR Guide) are expected this spring, with other draft volumes planned for summer and fall.

Stay tuned to  Today’s News for updates on the 2024-25 FAFSA as they become available.


Publication Date: 1/5/2023

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