ED Provides Webinar Updates on 2024-25 ISIR Delivery and Transmission Support

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

During a live webinar on Monday, officials from the Department of Education (ED)  provided updates on the latest 2024-25 FAFSA delivery timeline, highlighted new resources, and answered common questions from the Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) delivery process.

To kick off the webinar, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona noted that this year would be “harder than ever” for financial aid professionals who are opening the doors of higher education to prospective students.

“Right now you've been dealing with the long hours, the shifting deadlines, the uncertainty of not being sure when and how you're going to be able to get what you need to deliver,” Cardona said of financial aid administrators. “We owe it to you to listen and to respond directly to the challenges you've raised and I've made it really clear to my team that I want student financial aid administrators to have a direct line to this department.”

Cardona stressed that conversations he has had with the financial aid community have helped prompt flexibility the department has provided. Moving forward ED committed to continue to listen to those in the field.

Cardona stressed that ISIR delivery would begin to ramp up “very quickly” over the next several days and weeks, and urged schools to fully take advantage of the resources that ED has provided. However, he expressed concern that not all institutions are prepared for the data delivery.

“We believe some schools are still not fully prepared to receive ISIRs,” Cardona said. “The overwhelming majority are, but it was really concerning to hear that for some schools their mailboxes are still not set up, or there are some issues that maybe could have been addressed much earlier.”

NASFAA President and CEO Justin Draeger said that schools are doing all they can to adjust to the department’s significantly delayed rollout of the 2024-25 FAFSA, which will force aid offices to essentially condense six months of work into a matter of weeks.

“Institutional partners are moving as quickly as possible, particularly given the fact that the department has made several recent updates to the software schools use to connect to and download ISIRs, the latest updates of which just landed in last few weeks,” Draeger said. “We trust that the Secretary didn’t mean to infer that any current delays are due to institutions. Financial aid offices understand how high the stakes are for students and families.”

An official from the department noted that by the week’s end, ED plans to deliver “hundreds of thousands” of ISIRs to institutions of higher education.

While Cardona said that the compressed timeline for the 2024-25 FAFSA has created challenges, he noted that every hour remaining in the enrollment process is now precious.

Richard Cordray, the chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid (FSA), told listeners that as of this morning approximately 6 million applicants have successfully submitted FAFSA forms.

Officials reminded participants that once the department reaches its peak for processing ISIRs, it will take about two weeks to clear the backlog of applications that have already been submitted.

In the coming days and weeks, ED will also provide more written information related to ISIR delivery, and will be developing a “topical hub” to improve the navigation of the Knowledge Center. Per ED, these updates will provide links to “pressing topics” and FAQs to address emerging issues, as well as “deeper dive” documents to provide clarity on complex issues.

The webinar also went through a step-by-step walkthrough for how to install EDconnect, a recording of which is available on the FSA training center.

Officials from the department also said they would continue to have webinars like Monday’s session on a regular basis.

 

Publication Date: 3/19/2024


Christopher H | 3/21/2024 8:55:15 AM

After all of this is over, I think we should spend some time discussing how our organization organized to support our students and families. The webinar was truly an eye opener of incredible proportions. With blame now clearly shifting to schools, to our colleagues who have been at the mercy of the Department for months, we have to determine what should have occurred in December when we all knew this was going off the rails.

Aesha E | 3/19/2024 11:11:28 AM

Robert, I believe the webinar is going to be released today (Tuesday, March 19) on the FSA Training Center. You'll click on the FAFSA Simplification Resources - Training section and that should take you to a page with a Recorded Trainings section. (If you don't see that immediately, click on the button at the bottom of the page about enrolling in the training and that will open the full content.)

Robert C | 3/19/2024 10:14:00 AM

I know the EdConnect install is recorded, but was the Webinar recorded as well?

Christopher J | 3/19/2024 8:52:08 AM

What are the various ways referred to in the webinar to contact ED with questions and feedback?

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