Home Financial Advice Bungled FAFSA Launch Causes Massive Drop In Quantity Of Functions

Bungled FAFSA Launch Causes Massive Drop In Quantity Of Functions


The bungled launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA has precipitated a big drop within the variety of functions for federal pupil support. Whereas the variety of functions has elevated since FAFSA processing began, the deficit remains to be not being closed.

This will likely result in a pointy decline in faculty enrollment in fall 2024. The drop is extreme sufficient that it might trigger some faculties to shut.

Restricted Knowledge on Variety of Submitted Functions

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

As of March 15, 2024, a complete of 5.8 million FAFSAs have been submitted, down 30% from the identical time final yr, when about 8.4 million FAFSAs had been submitted.

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

This U.S. Division of Schooling has in contrast the 2024-25 FAFSA rollout to the 2016-17 FAFSA, the final yr 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.

If this development continues, by the tip of August 2024, the variety of FAFSAs submitted will probably 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 most likely resulting from pent-up demand. The variety of FAFSAs submitted per day in February is much like the typical each day complete in earlier years, or about 52,000 per day. The quantity submitted per day within the second half of February, nonetheless, has slowed to about 47,000 per day, which is lower than the identical time final yr or in February 2016.

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

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

This graph exhibits the entire 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 probably be submitted in March by means of the tip of August, if present tendencies proceed. 

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

What’s Vital To Watch

What’s price watching is whether or not there’s a massive enhance now that theoretically the FAFSA outcomes are beginning to circulation (extra precisely, trickle) to the universities. There’ll most likely be an uptick, however most likely not sufficient to totally erase the deficit.

The truth is, anecdotally, there have mother or father teams which have been urging dad and mom to attend till FAFSA processing begins to even submit (which was doubtless not nice recommendation). Now that processing has begun, will probably be fascinating to see if the hole begins to shut.

Penalties of the FAFSA Fiasco

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

  • The delayed begin to the 2024-25 FAFSA implies that candidates had been capable of begin submitting the FAFSA three months late.
  • Some candidates and contributors have been unable to get hold of the FSA IDs wanted to file the FAFSA or have encountered different issues that stop them from submitting the FAFSA.
  • A number of the workarounds supplied by the U.S. Division of Schooling don’t work.
  • Insufficient testing of the brand new FAFSA has precipitated a big variety of implementation issues, particularly with the FSA ID.
  • The decision middle of the Federal Pupil Assist Data Heart (FSAIC) has been overwhelmed, stopping some callers from reaching a consultant even after ready on maintain for hours. Name disconnects are frequent. 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 Pupil Assist Index (SAI) or noticed an inaccurate SAI.

  • The delayed resolution to regulate the monetary support components 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 Pupil Assist Index (SAI), relying on whether or not they or their contributors accomplished their part of the FAFSA first. This implies they received’t have the ability to get their SAI till they obtain the FAFSA Submission Abstract.
  • Some college students noticed their SAI earlier than the inflation changes had been made.

Delayed processing of submitted FAFSAs precipitated different issues, corresponding to:

  • Delayed supply of Institutional Pupil Data Data (ISIR) to high schools, resulting in delays within the receipt of the FAFSA Submission Abstract by candidates. The U.S. Division of Schooling 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 faculties to obtain all of their ISIRs.
  • Candidates are unable to make corrections to the FAFSA or so as to add and delete faculties from the FAFSA till they obtain the FAFSA Submission Abstract.
  • As a result of delayed receipt of ISIRs, there will probably be a delay in faculties sending monetary support provides 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 probably the most optimistic state of affairs.
  • Schools are delaying the Resolution Day deadline for college students to just accept provides 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 faculty 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 more likely 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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