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FAFSA Delays, Technical Issues, And The Impact On Student Aid For 2024-25

FAFSA Delays, Technical Issues, And The Impact On Student Aid For 2024-25

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines a student's eligibility for federal financial aid and is often used by colleges and universities to determine institutional aid as well. However, navigating the FAFSA can be complex, and even simple mistakes can have significant consequences. The 2024-25 FAFSA process has been particularly challenging due to delays, technical issues and calculation errors, leaving many applicants in a state of uncertainty. 

The Rocky Rollout
The FAFSA form, essential for most higher education institutions' aid processes, is typically accessible to students beginning on October 1 for the subsequent school year. However, technical issues pushed the opening to December 2023, with many applicants receiving a "currently unavailable" message preventing them from applying until January 2024.  

The Ripple Effect
The delay in FAFSA data transmission is causing ripples across higher education institutions. Typically, colleges receive student data from FAFSA in late fall or early winter. With the current delays, institutions might not receive this information until March, leaving countless students and families in limbo. 

Technical Troubles
In addition to the delay, the new form contains a host of technical issues that have either been resolved or are still open. Status of the issues, updates and resources related to the 2024-25 FAFSA can be found here

Inflation Miscalculation
As mandated by the legislation, the new FAFSA reform required an inflation adjustment to the income protection allowance based on the consumer price index of the previous three years. However, according to The Washington Post, the Department of Education did not implement the changes to the new form. 

The Department of Education will implement the necessary changes for the 2025-2026 academic year. However, the FAFSA form calculation errors will remain for the 2024-2025 school year, potentially costing families thousands in financial aid awards. 

Getting Help
Almost every higher education institution accepts requests for financial aid reconsideration. However, the criteria for a valid appeal differ from one institution to another. The usual process for an appeal includes drafting a letter, submitting documents that prove your financial situation, and having a discussion with a financial aid counselor.

Hurlow Wealth Management Group clients who need help navigating the college financial aid process or planning for college can reach out to Heidi King at College Inside Track. She provides an hour's worth of free personalized college advice. Click here to view Heidi's availability to schedule or email her at hking@collegeinsidetrack.com.

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