ED Releases Additional Batch of Test ISIRs and Testing Tools

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

The Department of Education (ED) announced via electronic announcement on Friday that the first batch of test Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) are now available for institutions and software providers.

The department committed to the February 16 delivery date for test ISIRs last Friday, following Secretary Miguel Cardona’s preview of the data’s availability at NASFAA's Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo.

The batch of test ISIRs, per the announcement, are available for institutions and software providers via ED’s GitHub repository. In the announcement, ED also noted that the batch includes only eight test ISIRs and that additional test ISIRs will be added as they become available, however, ED did not give any information on when that would be. It is NASFAA’s understanding that ED is working to release a larger batch of system-generated test ISIRs in the coming weeks.

This announcement is part of an already rocky FAFSA rollout, where institutions are expected to begin receiving ISIRs in the “first half of March.” As Karen McCarthy, NASFAA’s vice president of public policy and federal relations, noted in Friday’s “Off the Cuff” episode, the department initially committed to 300-400 test ISIRs for institutions and software providers, and then recommitted to 100 test ISIRs in smaller batches. 

In Friday’s announcement, ED outlined the eight different scenarios included in the batch of test ISIRs. The department also clarified that this batch of test ISIRs contains test data and should be considered as drafts, and updates will be made if there are issues. Institutions and software vendors will be able to upload their own test ISIRs to a community repository by submitting a “pull request.”

ED also announced that it has begun to publish open-source tools to help institutions, third-party servicers, and software vendors with ISIR testing. That includes an ISIR viewer, which ED stated can “intake a file of ISIRs with .dat or .txt extension, conduct light field-level validation, export the data as an Excel spreadsheet, and display both the ISIR data and validation results in a simple browser-based user interface.”

These open-source tools will have limited ongoing support, according to ED. Additional tools and updates to existing tools will be published as they become available. The tools are also available via ED’s GitHub repository.


Publication Date: 2/16/2024

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