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The Department of Education recently announced that 30% of FAFSAs submitted so far this year will need to be reprocessed due to errors. This has caused delays in financial aid award letters being sent out to families, many of whom are facing looming enrollment deadlines for college. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona assured college presidents that FAFSA records would now be arriving at schools within one to three days, but families with errors on their forms are still facing uncertainty.

Errors on FAFSAs have stemmed from various issues, including miscalculations within the FAFSA processing system and data errors related to importing tax data from the IRS. These errors have led to incorrect Student Aid Index (SAI) calculations, potentially impacting families’ eligibility for financial aid. The Department of Education plans to reprocess FAFSAs with system errors starting April 15, with hopes to resolve IRS import errors by May 1, though delays are possible.

Many families are left in financial limbo due to these FAFSA errors, with college enrollment deadlines fast approaching. While some colleges have postponed Decision Day to allow families more time, the typical deadline extensions are only until May 15 or May 31. Families are advised to check with their colleges to determine the actual deadline for this year, as well as any differing deadlines for new versus existing students. It is recommended that families wait to receive their financial aid award letters before committing to a college, as the investment in education is significant.

For families impacted by FAFSA reprocessing delays, reaching out to their colleges for extensions on enrollment decisions may be an option. The Department of Education has indicated that some reprocessed applications may receive additional financial aid, offering a glimmer of hope for families caught in this situation. Despite the challenges, families are encouraged to stay informed about the progress of FAFSA reprocessing and to communicate with their colleges regarding their financial aid status. Making informed decisions about college enrollment amidst the uncertainties caused by FAFSA errors is crucial for families navigating the financial aid process.

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