Is Your Institution Ready for the Next Application Cycle?

Krystyna Dias .

Just when you thought you had a game plan to address each of the complex issues related to the ISIR delay, another electronic announcement rolls out. Then, when there’s news about a trickle of ISIRs being released, you become optimistic. A sign of relief, right?

This year has led to multiple struggles for students, parents, colleges and financial aid administrators. A much-needed overhaul of the FAFSA has led to multiple errors and delays in the completion of the application process. This has resulted in a reduction of FAFSAs filed by students and parents, primarily first generation and low-income, as they are reluctant to file due to the complexity of the process. There are ongoing challenges for applicants entering an Alien Registration Number, creating an FSA ID without a social security number, or applicants born in the year 2000, just to name a few. While these issues have reportedly been resolved, many applicants may warrant an ISIR correction that can’t be made until the FAFSA is submitted and processed.

Given the pressure to release financial aid offers as soon as the ISIR is available, below are tips to help you prepare in other areas that support the awarding process:

  • The Dept. of Education has released a comment code identifying students who have unusual circumstances. Verify that all 2024-2025 SAR Comment Codes are available in your software system and that the system will issue an appropriate flag when the ISIR is imported.  
  • Have a policy in place for managing students who have unusual circumstances and the documentation required to analyze them.
  • Reminder: an institution must publicly disclose on their website the opportunity for a professional judgment review (special or unusual circumstance).
  • Review recent updates and authorize access for staff members to have access to the FTI mailbox.
  • Develop a process and workflow with your team about how to review the Federal Pell Grant LEU flags.
  • Provide training to your team on the newly released Home | FSA Partner Connect ( Don’t forget to mention that FAA Access to CPS Online will no longer be available for the 2024-2025 application cycle. The positive side of this newly released portal is that the functionality mirrors FAA Access, with an updated look.
  • Have your forms updated, including customized award letter packets, brochures and forms.
  • Communication is key. Create an electronic newsletter for students with key messaging from the Dept. of Education as it’s released.

While we’ve been preparing as much as we can, it’s important to also strengthen our support network with colleagues. We should continue to ask about what worked for them and the challenges they may have experienced. We are all in this together! Check out our interim staffing solutions at or email to speak with one of our regulatory experts.


Additional Details of 2024-25 ISIR Delivery, Updates for Non-SSN Contributors, and Launch of the FAFSA Partner Portal (Updated March 13, 2024) | Knowledge Center