The bungled launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA has brought on a major drop within the variety of functions for federal scholar assist.

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

Restricted Knowledge on Variety of Submitted Purposes

The U.S. Division of Training has not printed any statistics regarding the variety of submitted functions, apart 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 tendencies, the variety of FAFSAs submitted by the top of August 2024, might 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 top of February 2016. By the top of August 2024, the variety of FAFSAs submitted might be 3.7 million decrease than the quantity submitted by the top 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 on account of pent-up demand. The variety of FAFSAs submitted per day in February is just like the typical day by day whole 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 total variety of FAFSAs submitted means that the variety of Federal Pell Grant recipients might 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 potential that candidates are ready till the FAFSA is absolutely useful to submit the shape. Low-income college students and first-generation school college students do are likely to submit the FAFSA later than middle- and high-income college students. 

This graph exhibits the whole variety of FAFSAs submitted in whole every month in 2024-25 and 2023-24. The blue line exhibits a projection of the variety of FAFSAs that might be submitted in March by means of the top of August, if present tendencies proceed. 

Until there’s a spike within the variety of FAFSAs submitted after the FAFSA turns into absolutely useful, 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 “gentle launch” interval have prevented many college students from submitting the FAFSA.

  • The delayed begin to the 2024-25 FAFSA signifies that candidates had been in a position to begin submitting the FAFSA three months late.
  • Some candidates and contributors have been unable to acquire the FSA IDs wanted to file the FAFSA or have encountered different issues that forestall them from submitting the FAFSA.
  • Among the workarounds supplied by the U.S. Division of Training don’t work.
  • Insufficient testing of the brand new FAFSA has brought on a major variety of implementation issues, particularly with the FSA ID.
  • The decision heart of the Federal Pupil Help Data Middle (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 electronic mail messages despatched by means of the safe on-line messaging type. 

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

  • The delayed choice to regulate the monetary assist 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 Pupil Help Index (SAI), relying on whether or not they or their contributors accomplished their part of the FAFSA first. This implies they received’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 had been made.

Delayed processing of submitted FAFSAs brought on different issues, comparable 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 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 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.
  • Because of the delayed receipt of ISIRs, there might be a delay in faculties sending monetary assist provides to admitted college students. Usually, monetary assist 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 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 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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