Long-awaited FAFSA fix means students from immigrant families can finally finish aid applications

Throughout that point, college students have been left to navigate a complicated array of choices, together with whether or not they need to simply sit tight and anticipate a repair, or attempt a partial workaround that might put them at a higher risk of making a mistake on their utility or would require them to come back and fill out more paperwork later.

And there are nonetheless excellent points. As federal officers put the brand new repair in place, they uncovered two more issues affecting the identical group of scholars that also must be resolved.

Meaning dad and mom with out Social Safety numbers must enter their monetary info manually, as an alternative of getting it pulled immediately from the IRS. And in some circumstances — when a father or mother enters a reputation or handle that doesn’t precisely match what their little one put down, for instance — dad and mom are nonetheless getting error messages that block them from filling out the shape. Federal officers mentioned final week they might work to repair the difficulty “within the coming days.”

Federal officers estimated that round 2% of monetary assist candidates have been affected by the unique Social Safety quantity glitch, which might equate to a whole lot of hundreds of scholars in a typical yr.

The difficulty caught the eye of dozens of Democratic Home members, who sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Training Miguel Cardona urging the division to repair the issue rapidly. In a press release issued last week, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman of California mentioned the glitch was a “fully unacceptable error” that had brought about “worry, stress, and missed alternatives for a lot of youngsters throughout my district and the nation.”

“I hope to see the Division take the steps obligatory to make sure points like this by no means come up once more,” Huffman mentioned.

The rollout of the brand new FAFSA has been riddled with problems and delays. Training division officers have blamed insufficient funding and significant technical challenges in updating previous programs. Republicans have accused the administration of being distracted by dealing with student loan forgiveness. Exterior observers have mentioned all these factors and more played a role, in accordance with information experiences.

FAFSA purposes are down 33% in contrast with this time final yr, in accordance with federal information tracked by the National College Attainment Network.

Within the meantime, many faculties have pushed back deadlines as they anticipate scholar monetary info that can assist them assemble assist packages. And households are ready.

Now, school counselors and advisers say they’re working to verify college students know what to do in the event that they continue to encounter glitches. They’re additionally making an attempt to maintain college students’ spirits up and getting them prepared to match their monetary assist and acceptance packages once they are available in.

“An important factor we will do is to share details about methods to go about coming into info manually, methods to make it possible for as they’re finishing these steps that it requires quite a lot of precision,” Seider mentioned. “We actually need to make it possible for college students and households are being proactive, and never experiencing this as their shortcoming, however reasonably saying ‘Hey, this method has been just a little complicated, we want some assist with it.’”

Kalyn Belsha is a senior nationwide schooling reporter primarily based in Chicago. Contact her at [email protected].

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit information web site overlaying educational change in public colleges.




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