ISSUES

The Impact of the New FAFSA on Mixed Status Immigrant Families


The Impact of the New FAFSA on Mixed Status Immigrant Families

The Department of Education released an updated version of the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) in December 2023. Since the launch of the new FAFSA, contributors without social security numbers (SSNs) have been unable to set up required FSA IDs and have encountered error messages when seeking to fill out the form. This leaves a large population of students at risk of missing priority aid deadlines and precludes them from accessing critical financial information they need in order to make timely enrollment decisions.

In January, the Presidents’ Alliance co-hosted a webinar with Immigrants Rising and the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) on the impact of the new FAFSA on mixed status immigrant families. The webinar highlighted existing challenges facing families in which parents do not have a social security number (SSN) and provided updates on the new FAFSA process as communicated by the Department of Education.

While no permanent fix is yet available, the Department of Education has set up an alternative manual process that will allow students to meet priority state and institutional aid deadlines. It is important to note that this is not a permanent solution, and students who avail themselves of this option will need to resubmit their applications when the glitch in the form has been resolved. ED also cautions that students should only utilize this option if they have a pressing submission deadline that requires them to have a FAFSA on file within the first half of March. Official guidance from the Department of Education can be found here and in the links below. 

Watch the webinar:

Speakers included:
  • Nancy Jodaitis, Director of Higher Education, Immigrants Rising
  • Mora Lee Keller, Senior Director, Strategic Programming, National College Attainment Network (NCAN)
  • Corinne Kentor, Policy and Communications Associate, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration
  • Astou Thiane, Director of Policy and Advocacy, ImmSchools
Watch the webinar above and see below for additional resources on the new FAFSA.