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FAFSA delays pose challenges for Georgia college-bound students

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By: Shanteya Hudson, Producer

Monday, March 25, 2024   

Students across Georgia seeking college opportunities are encountering delays as they navigate the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process.

Normally available in October, this year’s FAFSA rollout in January has posed significant challenges for all students, especially those from mixed-status families.

MorraLee Keller, senior director for strategic programming at the National College Attainment Network, outlined the hurdles faced by students and families.

“One of the first hurdles was at the FSA ID account level,” Keller explained. “The second hurdle was when the FAFSA opened at the beginning of January. It was unable to accept anyone who did not have a Social Security number. They could not enter the FAFSA, like if a dependent student invited them as parents.”

The Department of Education announced it has rolled out a fix for these issues and parents can now enter information manually as opposed to it being pulled from the IRS.

Federal officials also announced some students could expect more delays after finding a new error sent incorrect financial need information, known as Institutional Student Information Records or ISIRs, to colleges. It resulted in colleges receiving inaccurate data.

Keller cited the effect on colleges from other ongoing delays and said adjustments are expected in deadlines but financial aid offers are not likely to reach students until mid- to late April. Despite the troubles, she encouraged students not to give up.

“I just want to reiterate the point of we just don’t want people to give up on the process,” Keller emphasized. “There’s a fix now. They’re going to continue to improve the fixes on the FAFSA, and we want people to get their FAFSAs completed so that they can have a path to any type of postsecondary opportunity that they want next year.”

For the most recent ISIR issue officials with the U.S. Department of Education said it has resolved the issue for all ISIR’s delivered on and after last Thursday. For others, they have provided resources to colleges and universities. Keller added more information and updates can be found on the Department’s website for federal student aid.

This story is republished from Georgia Recorder under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.