UPDATE: On August 14, 2023, the US Department of Education (ED) announced it will delay the implementation of the new E-App system, stating it needs additional time. The existing E-App system will therefore remain active. ED will provide additional information about the system upgrade at a later date.


The US Department of Education (ED) announced last week that it will implement updates to its Electronic Application (E-App) system – the website on which institutions apply for and certify their eligibility for federal student aid funds – beginning in September 2023. This is part of ED’s broader Federal Student Aid Partner Connect initiative to modernize a number of systems used by institutions and students.

The E-App upgrade implementation will likely significantly impact ED’s processing of institutional applications for the near future. Although the changes will not be effective until September, ED will shut down and cease use of the current E-App system on August 25 to allow a transition to the new application system. It is not clear when the new application system will be online and available to schools.

Institutions with a recertification application due to ED after August 25 – particularly those with applications due September 30 – should plan to submit that application in the current E-App system in advance of the August 25 shutdown to ensure timely receipt and processing. Institutions that undergo any changes during the shutdown will be required to report them to ED via email and should plan for additional time to work through this process.

We also strongly encourage institutions to log in to ED’s E-App system via eligcert.ed.gov before August 25 and save copies of their current program participation agreement (PPA), eligibility and certification approval report (ECAR) and E-App, as well as any related updates or correspondence with ED. This is a very important step for institutions with any pending changes reported in the current E-App system.

With this update, ED also is issuing a new version of the E-App, but a draft version is not yet available. It is not clear whether the update will include additional substantive data requests or questions that go beyond the current version.

We would be glad to discuss this transition and its impact on your institution.

Nancy Anderson focuses on regulatory issues affecting higher education institutions, including compliance with federal, state and accrediting agency requirements.

Rebecca Flake focuses on federal student financial aid matters. She has been in the financial aid industry for 20+ years in the capacities of a financial aid advisor, financial aid director and compliance auditor.

Posted by Cooley