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Bungled FAFSA Launch Causes Large Drop In Quantity Of Functions


The bungled launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA has brought about a big drop within the variety of functions for federal scholar support.

This may occasionally result in a pointy decline in school enrollment in fall 2024. The drop is extreme sufficient that it could trigger some schools to shut.

Restricted Information on Variety of Submitted Functions

The U.S. Division of Training has not revealed any statistics in regards to the variety of submitted functions, aside from rounded numbers included in 5 press releases as proven on this desk.

As of February 28, 2024, a complete of 4.7 million FAFSAs have been submitted, down 38% from the identical time final 12 months, when about 7.6 million FAFSAs had been submitted.

Based mostly on present developments, the variety of FAFSAs submitted by the tip of August 2024, will likely be about 2.8 million decrease than the identical time final 12 months, representing a lower of 19%.

This U.S. Division of Training has in contrast the 2024-25 FAFSA rollout to the 2016-17 FAFSA, the final 12 months with a January 1 begin date. Beginning in 2017-18, the FAFSA has had an October 1 begin date.

Whereas the three.1 million 2024-25 FAFSAs submitted by January 30, 2024 exceed the variety of 2016-17 FAFSAs submitted by January 30, 2016, the variety of 2024-25 FAFSAs submitted in February slowed significantly.

By February 28, 2024, a complete of 4.7 million FAFSAs had been submitted, in contrast with 5.5 million by the tip of February 2016. By the tip of August 2024, the variety of FAFSAs submitted will likely be 3.7 million decrease than the quantity submitted by the tip of August 2016.

The variety of FAFSAs submitted dropped to 55,000 per day in February 2024, down from 103,000 per day in January 2024. The upper determine in January was in all probability attributable to pent-up demand. The variety of FAFSAs submitted per day in February is much like the common each day complete in earlier years, or about 52,000 per day. The quantity submitted per day within the second half of February, nevertheless, has slowed to about 47,000 per day, which is lower than the identical time final 12 months or in February 2016.

The lower within the general variety of FAFSAs submitted means that the variety of Federal Pell Grant recipients will likely be about the identical as final 12 months, regardless of the brand new Federal Pell Grant formulation making it simpler for college students to qualify for the grant.

It’s attainable that candidates are ready till the FAFSA is absolutely practical to submit the shape. Low-income college students and first-generation school college students do are inclined to submit the FAFSA later than middle- and high-income college students. 

This graph exhibits the full variety of FAFSAs submitted in complete every month in 2024-25 and 2023-24. The blue line exhibits a projection of the variety of FAFSAs that will likely be submitted in March by means of the tip of August, if present developments proceed. 

Until there’s a spike within the variety of FAFSAs submitted after the FAFSA turns into absolutely practical, the variety of 2024-25 FAFSAs won’t ever catch as much as the variety of FAFSAs submitted in 2023-24. 

Penalties of the FAFSA Fiasco

The issues with the 2024-25 FAFSA and the “smooth launch” interval have prevented many college students from submitting the FAFSA.

  • The delayed begin to the 2024-25 FAFSA signifies that candidates have been capable of begin submitting the FAFSA three months late.
  • Some candidates and contributors have been unable to receive the FSA IDs wanted to file the FAFSA or have encountered different issues that forestall them from submitting the FAFSA.
  • Among the workarounds provided by the U.S. Division of Training don’t work.
  • Insufficient testing of the brand new FAFSA has brought about a big variety of implementation issues, particularly with the FSA ID.
  • The decision heart of the Federal Scholar Assist Data Heart (FSAIC) has been overwhelmed, stopping some callers from reaching a consultant even after ready on maintain for hours. Name disconnects are widespread. Some callers attain voice mail messages that inform them to name again later. Candidates and contributors haven’t obtained responses to e mail messages despatched by means of the safe on-line messaging type. 

Many college students have been unable to see their Scholar Assist Index (SAI) or noticed an inaccurate SAI.

  • The delayed choice to regulate the monetary support formulation for the 18.3% inflation from April 2020 to April 2023 contributed to the delays in implementing the 2024-25 FAFSA.
  • Some college students are unable to see the Affirmation Web page with the Scholar Assist Index (SAI), relying on whether or not they or their contributors accomplished their part of the FAFSA first. This implies they gained’t be capable of get their SAI till they obtain the FAFSA Submission Abstract.
  • Some college students noticed their SAI earlier than the inflation changes have been made.

Delayed processing of submitted FAFSAs brought about different issues, resembling:

  • Delayed supply of Institutional Scholar Data Data (ISIR) to high schools, resulting in delays within the receipt of the FAFSA Submission Abstract by candidates. The U.S. Division of Training says that the ISIRs will begin being despatched to high schools within the first half of March, which can imply that the primary ISIRs aren’t despatched to high schools till the Ides of March (March 15) and it’ll take a number of weeks for schools to obtain all of their ISIRs.
  • Candidates are unable to make corrections to the FAFSA or so as to add and delete schools from the FAFSA till they obtain the FAFSA Submission Abstract.
  • Because of the delayed receipt of ISIRs, there will likely be a delay in schools sending monetary support gives to admitted college students. Usually, monetary support award notifications are despatched to college students in early March. Now, the award notifications won’t be despatched to college students till April in essentially the most optimistic situation.
  • Faculties are delaying the Resolution Day deadline for college students to just accept gives of admission to Might 15 or June 1.

Some college students usually tend to be affected by the FAFSA issues than others.

  • Low-income college students, first-generation school college students, rural college students and underrepresented minority college students usually tend to be affected by the FAFSA issues.
  • College students in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Florida and Alaska are least prone to have submitted the FAFSA.
  • Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, California and Tennessee have skilled the best declines within the variety of FAFSAs submitted. 
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