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NC’s college-bound students face FAFSA delays

Credit: iStock

Shanteya Hudson, Producer

Thursday, March 28, 2024   

The revamp of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – or FAFSA – was supposed to streamline the process for college hopefuls this fall.

However, students and their families in North Carolina and beyond are still hitting snags.

The most recent one involves a processing mishap by a vendor that miscalculated students financial need, with up to 200,000 people potentially affected.

MorraLee Keller, senior director for strategic programming with the National Attainment Network, said additional delays are leaving students uncertain of college costs.

One hundred percent of the students have been affected by delays,” said Keller. “FAFSA’s are only just now beginning to be processed, and students who have submitted the very first week in January are maybe now only beginning to see that they may have a FAFSA submission summary available.”

To address these challenges, the Department of Education is providing new resources to help institutions and states rectify the calculation errors.

Federal officials say they have processed 1.5 million FAFSA applications and are ramping up some the application process. Four out of five college students rely on federal aid to pay for their degree.

Other issues have impacted mixed status families. Some have struggled to complete the FAFSA processes due to Federal Student Aid ID or Social Security number issues.

Keller pointed out that federal officials recently announced a fix for this too.

“So those now that do not have Social Security numbers and have had their FSA ID verified,” said Keller, “can now log into a FAFSA, fill out their parent section, the contributor section. “

She said parents should now be able to start a FAFSA application and have their dependent complete it.

Many schools have pushed back their annual May 1 commitment deadlines to give students time to get FAFSA information, according to Keller.

She said with institutions just beginning to process applications, students are waiting longer than normal to hear back.

“We think that means that most students will not begin to see financial aid offers,” said Keller, “until mid to late April.”

Despite the obstacles, Keller encouraged students to get their FSA ID and get the FAFSA completed as soon as possible.

She advised students and families to regularly check the federal student aid site for updates.

This story is republished from Public Service News (PSN) under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.