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‘Another Unforced Error’ in the FAFSA Fiasco

‘Another Unforced Error’ in the FAFSA Fiasco

Inside Higher Ed

Liam Knox
March 25, 2024
The notoriously rocky rollout of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA)keeps getting rockier.
On Friday, the Education Department acknowledged that a calculation error by the office of Federal Student Aid led to inaccurate aid estimates on hundreds of thousands of Institutional Student Information Records, or ISIRs, processed in the past few months.
“The FAFSA Processing System (FPS) was not including all data fields needed to correctly calculate the Student Aid Index for dependent students who reported assets,” the department wrote in an announcement. “This issue resulted in inaccurate ISIRs for dependent students with assets delivered to [institutions] prior to March 21, 2024.”
The announcement—buried five paragraphs into an ostensibly positive update about the department’s progress on student aid form delivery—reported that of the 1.5 million FAFSAs currently processed, about 200,000, were affected by the miscalculation, resulting in lower aid estimates for those students. All those forms will need to be reprocessed and re-sent to institutions, almost certainly delaying aid offers even further.
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