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Education Department plans to ramp up transmission of FAFSA data to colleges

Education Department plans to ramp up transmission of FAFSA data to colleges

Higher Ed Dive

Laura Spitalniak
March 14, 2024
Dive Brief:
  • The U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday that it began transmitting Free Application for Federal Student Aid data to colleges over the weekend.
  • The department said it has started sending larger batches of FAFSA applicant data, with plans to ramp up these transmissions in the coming weeks. Once the agency begins sending data “at full scale,” it said, the backlog of FAFSA applications that have already been submitted will take two weeks to process.
  • It also announced it had fixed a number of glitches preventing applicants from submitting the form, including students without Social Security numbers and those born in 2000. However, the department also flagged new issues with the form.
Dive Insight:
In a typical year, the FAFSA would go public in October, with colleges receiving applicant information shortly thereafter. But the Education Department made the form available about three months later than usual to give the agency more time to simplify it.
That hasn’t been the only delay. The department initially said it would transmit this cycle’s data to colleges in late January, before pushing the date back to the first half of March.
Because colleges often use FAFSA applicant data to package financial aid offers, many colleges have bumped back their deadlines for enrollment and financial aid to accommodate the shortened timeline.
Although the department said it fixed errors preventing students from submitting their forms, new issues have cropped up.
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