U.S. Department of Education Finishes Processing FAFSA Forms Affected by Issues, Aims to Increase Application Submissions

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has announced the completion of the reprocessing of 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) forms affected by known issues with IRS data, allowing all institutions to create financial aid packages.

Additionally, the Department has unveiled modifications to permit applicants and contributors lacking a Social Security number (SSN) to promptly access and submit the online form.

These initiatives align with a nationwide outreach campaign aimed at boosting completion rates. The Department remains dedicated to supplying schools, organizations, students, and families with the necessary support and resources to utilize the updated FAFSA form and pursue their higher education aspirations. To date, the Department has processed over 8.3 million FAFSA forms and is urging institutions to expedite the offering of aid packages.

“After significant advancements in recent weeks, we are now expeditiously and accurately processing FAFSA forms, with numerous schools disseminating financial aid offers,” stated U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “It is time for schools to prepare and dispatch aid offers, and for all prospective new and returning students planning to attend college this fall to visit StudentAid.gov and complete a Better FAFSA. The Department’s primary objective is to make higher education more accessible to a broader range of students, and we believe that the enhanced FAFSA can unlock these opportunities.”

Reprocessing and Corrections for Students

The Department has finalized the reprocessing of FAFSA forms affected by issues related to the FUTURE Act Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX) and has transmitted more than 8.3 million Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) from FAFSA forms to schools, states, and designated scholarship organizations. Moreover, nearly one million corrections have been successfully processed, resolving the most common submission issues.

Whether resulting from a new submission or a correction, applicants’ ISIRs are now being sent to schools and states within one to three days of submission.

The Department has distributed the reprocessed ISIRs of almost all impacted records to institutions and states. Completing the reprocessing of FAFSA forms affected by issues with both the FA-DDX and FAFSA Processing System will empower all institutions to formulate aid offers, even those institutions that opted to wait for all reprocessed records before proceeding. The Department is also corresponding with applicants and their contributors who still need to rectify the form or have initiated but not completed their submission.

Individuals Lacking a Social Security Number

Individuals lacking a Social Security number (SSN) can now instantly access the online FAFSA form and submit it after creating a StudentAid.gov account. The Department is temporarily permitting individuals without an SSN to enter and complete the FAFSA form. Students and contributors must manually input their tax details. Students without an SSN must validate their eligible noncitizen status through their school before receiving any federal funds. These adjustments simplify the process for students whose contributors do not possess an SSN to finalize their FAFSA form.

This temporary authorization for individuals lacking an SSN to enter and complete the FAFSA form will remain valid until the data retrieval issues from the IRS are resolved for those without an SSN. The Department is actively working towards a resolution and will provide an update promptly. The Department will maintain a prompt pace to conclude the manual validation process for individuals lacking an SSN. Ensuring that all students and families, irrespective of their background, can equitably access the FAFSA form is a commitment upheld by the Department.

Refer to the guidance provided to schools, states, and other financial aid partners for further details.

Enhanced Regional and Local Outreach

This week, the Department will commence a series of regional and local media engagements in media markets nationwide to raise awareness and enhance FAFSA completion rates. States with significant gaps in high school senior FAFSA submissions are the focal points of this initiative. The initial regional press conference, which includes Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas, is scheduled for today.

Today’s outreach is part of the Department’s national endeavor to engage new and returning students to complete the 2024–25 FAFSA form. The Department is urging states and schools to continue reaching out to these students, as well as admitted students who have yet to submit a FAFSA form. Additionally, a considerable number of students have initiated but not finalized their FAFSA form. The Department is maintaining weekly communication with these students and their contributors to motivate them to complete their applications.

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