Financial Aid Checklist

Financial Aid checklists can be displayed and managed in Slate so that applicants are able to see items that a financial aid office has received and items that still need to be submitted. Managing Financial Aid checklists in Slate is an all-or-nothing process, meaning that these checklist items should not be fulfilled by forms, materials, or tests.

The only way a Financial Aid checklist item should be added to a checklist, removed, waived, or fulfilled is through the source format "Checklist Import (Financial Aid)."  Review the guidance below for creating Financial Aid Checklist items, managing the export file from your financial aid system and use of the source format to import the data.

Financial Aid Tab

The Financial Aid checklist appears on the applicant status page in a separate checklist view:

Clicking the Financial Aid button will display a separate Financial Aid checklist for applicants.



For students to be able to view the Financial Aid Checklist, the status page or custom status portal must be configured to "Show Financial Aid Checklist."
Application Editor > /apply/ > Status Page > General Settings

  Best Practice

Get Organized on paper first!

It is a good practice to organize financial aid materials (including the associated codes currently used for these items) on paper before building any items in Slate. Additionally, consider limiting items to only those that are critical to display to applicants in Slate. (Additional items can always be added at a later time.)

 It can be helpful to start with a simple spreadsheet like this:

Checklist Code
CSS Profile CSS
Non Custodial Profile NCPS
Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA
Student W-2 S-W2
Parent(s) W-2 P-W2
Parent's Federal Income Tax Return P-1040
Financial Aid Checklist Item

Before you can import Financial Aid Checklist items, use the Database module to define them in Slate: 

  1. Select Database on the top navigation bar and select Checklists.
  2. Select Insert.
  3. Enter the following configurations:
    • Status - Mark the status as 'Active'
    • Scope - Set to Person/Application.
    • Group (optional) - Leave the group empty. These items will likely be assigned based on a special import done by a financial aid office.
    • Section - Important: The section should be configured as Financial Aid.
    • Subject - The subject is what will display to the applicant on the checklist.
    • URL - Leave blank for now.
    • KeyImportant: The key must match the code that you use for this item in your current financial aid system. The key should be unique and computer-friendly (alphanumeric, no spaces, only special character is an underscore).
    • Order - Define the order in which this item should appear in the checklist.
    • Material Fulfillment, Material Fulfillment Rank, Test Fulfillment, Form Fulfillment, Custom SQL Fulfillment (retired) - Leave all fulfillment fields blank. This item will be fulfilled by a special import done by a financial aid office.
    • XML Configuration - Please see the important note below on XML Configuration.
    • Type - Leave set to the default of 'Public'.
    • Optional - Leave set to the default of 'Required'.
    • Optional for Reading - Leave set to the default of 'Required for Reading'.
    • Export Key - Leave blank for now.


XML Configuration

For each Financial Aid Checklist item, the standard statuses should be included in the XML configuration.  If only standard checklist statuses are being used, the XML should be configured like this:


It is important to note that checklist icons are hard coded to the Slate standard statuses as follows:

  • Received produces a green check mark
  • Waived produces a gray check mark
  • Not Received and all other statuses produce a red X

If any custom statuses are to be included, these statuses should also be added to the XML.

To add custom statuses, add the following coding into the XML Configuration for each item that should have custom statuses:

     <t icon="Received">CUSTOM RECEIVED STATUS</t>
     <t icon="Waived">CUSTOM WAIVED STATUS</t>
     <t icon="Awaiting">CUSTOM AWAITING STATUS</t>

The associations are as follows:

Icon PKV Snippet
mceclip3__10_.png  Green check mark <t icon="Received"> ... </t>
mceclip4__8_.png Grey check mark <t icon="Waived"> ... </t>
mceclip2__10_.png Red X <t icon="Awaiting"> ... </t> 


When importing a custom status, a date must be included in the file or the status of the checklist item will default to "Awaiting."

Financial Aid Checklist Import File

Export a tab-delimited file from the desired financial aid system with the following headers:

Header Description
AppID  The nine-digit Application Ref ID which is automatically generated by Slate when an application is submitted. This ID will be used to match onto the appropriate application record. To ensure that this Source Format will work for you, we recommend exporting the Application Ref ID field in any routine data export from Slate to your external system which will keep track of your financial aid items (i.e. SIS).
Code  This is the "Key" specified in the Database < Checklist record. For example, a checklist item with Key "ISIR" has ISIR in the Code column.
Status  Exact name of the status that you wish to display for the checklist item. For example: Received, Waived, Not Received.
Date The date when the checklist item was fulfilled (if the checklist item has been fulfilled). The date format must be yyyy-MM-dd (i.e., December 18, 2018 would be: 2018-12-18). If no date is included the status will default to "Awaiting."

Each checklist item needs to be on a separate line in the source file.  For example, an applicant with four financial aid checklist items should be included in the file four times, as depicted below. 

AppID Code Status Date  
123456789 W2 Received 2018-12-01 These items are associated with one applicant (AppID = 123456789). There is a separate item for each financial aid checklist item.
123456789 ISIR Received 2018-12-10
123456789 TAX Not Received  
123456789 SCH_D Received 2018-10-10
987654321 W2 Received 2018-09-01 These items are associated with another applicant (AppID = 987654321). There is a separate item for each financial aid checklist item.
987654321 ISIR Received 2018-09-23
987654321 TAX Waived 2018-11-07



Include Every Item Every Time!

A Financial Aid Checklist file should be cumulative and include every checklist item every time it is loaded into Slate.

In addition to adding financial aid checklist items, this import will update the status of the checklist items using the values in the Status and Date columns. 

The import will also delete financial aid checklist items on the applicant record that are not included in subsequent imports.

Each checklist item should only be assigned once to each student. Otherwise duplicate codes will appear on the checklist with the status and date of the item having the latest date.

Likewise, avoid repeating the same checklist item with an unchanged status but with new dates each time the source file is produced.  This will result in duplicate or multiple checklist items added to the record even though the status has not changed.

Upload the Financial Aid Checklist via Source Format
Checklist Import (Financial Aid) Source Format

There is a standard Source Format available in the Source Format Library called 'Checklist Import (Financial Aid)' that will allow the addition, removal, and update of fulfillment data for the financial aid checklist items for applications in an active period.

To add this Source Format from the Source Format Library:

  1. Select Database on the top navigation bar and select Source Format Library.
  2. Add the source format called 'Checklist Import (Financial Aid)'.

Note: Due to the unique nature of this source format, no remapping is necessary, and the Remap Active setting should be set to Inactive.

Upload the Financial Aid Checklist File

Once the Financial Aid department has generated the tab-delimited file with all checklist information for pertinent applicants, upload the file to Slate using the Upload Dataset module. 

Important: Be sure to select the Checklist Import (Financial Aid) source format for the file upload.

 After clicking the Upload button, Slate will update financial aid checklist items for applicant records based on the AppID number included in the file.

  Best Practices

Here are some additional guidelines to ensure that the Source Format behaves as expected:

  • Each checklist item should only be assigned once to each student. Duplicate codes will appear on the checklist with the status and date of the item with the latest date.
  • Dates should always be subsequent. If a status is uploaded with a date previous to the date of the current checklist item, the later date will be displayed. For example, if a FAFSA was marked as "Received" on 1/16/2019, and then the date was changed outside of Slate to 1/15/2019, the next time the checklist item is imported, the date would appear as 1/16/2019.
  • It is not possible to have a custom status of "Not Received."  In the coding of the Source Format, "Not Received" and "Awaiting" are essentially used interchangeably.  It is possible to have a custom status such as "Outstanding" although remember that all custom statuses require a date associated with the custom status, otherwise, the status will default to the standard status of "Awaiting."
  • Checklist keys should be unique each year, if possible.  For example, FAFSA2019 for the current Period, and FAFSA2020 for the next Period. If the keys cannot be unique each year, we recommend making any updates to the Subjects of the Checklist items during Cycle Prep each year.
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