March 28, 2024

FAFSA Set-Back Update: Calculation Error—What Does it Mean for You?

The journey towards higher education just got a bit more complicated for thousands of students across the United States.

Last week, the Department of Education (DOE) revealed a significant calculation error in vendors’ systems, impacting several hundred thousand financial aid forms. The miscalculation resulted in many students receiving financial aid estimates that went well over their need. The timing couldn't be worse. Amidst a series of delays and technical glitches plaguing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process this year, this latest mishap only adds to the frustration for students and institutions alike.

This most recent error led to the transmission of inaccurate financial aid data on Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) from the DOE to colleges. This specific issue affects ISIRs sent to schools before March 21, 2024. The DOE has confirmed that the problem has been rectified for ISIRs sent on or after March 21.

In addition to miscalculations and incorrect ISIR information, some users may have encountered difficulties while printing specific student ISIR records. This arises from delivering ISIR files containing values and fields not presented in the published ISIR layout the Department of Education originally provided. The DOE announced last week that their intention is to update the layout to incorporate “N/A” field values, expected to occur sometime in April. Given these unexpected modifications and the uncertainty surrounding the publication timeline for the new layout, Anthology has elected to implement additional accommodations to support the new, unpublished data. These accommodations will be included in our Regulatory 24.2.0 release to Anthology® Student, slated for availability on April 5, 2024. Clients are still able to continue to import ISIR files they receive; however, the ability to view/print those records containing “N/A” values may cause an error until this release. While we recognize these are trying times for the vendors and the Department of Education, together we can take solace in knowing that the future for students in all our schools will be easier and accessible.

In case you missed it, here are other known issues with the FAFSA Form, as provided by the Department of Education:

Many students and families rely on timely financial aid notifications to make informed decisions about their academic futures. As we navigate these challenging delays together, it's essential to remember the individuals at the heart of these issues: the students. Every delay has real-world consequences. Anthology remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting you and your learning community throughout this journey. Together, we are working to make the future of education better for all. Let us know if you need help or a consultation and connect with us today!

Headshot of Colby Horne

Colby Horne

Product Marketing Manager

Colby Horne is a product marketing manager at Anthology, focused on the student information and enterprise solutions. Colby has over a decade of experience working with and for higher education institutions in various roles including integrated marketing, client success, alumni, development, and more.