Navigating the Challenges and Delays of the New FAFSA

The new 2024-25 FAFSA is open, but some families have experienced difficulty navigating the application process. In this webinar for students and families, we review known issues, technical bugs, and workarounds (when available) of the new FAFSA. We also discuss the impact of the delayed FAFSA launch on financial aid deadlines and the release of financial aid offers, as well as the process of updating and correcting FAFSA data.

Download the webinar slides to follow along.


Please note that this transcript was auto-generated. We apologize for any minor errors in spelling or grammar.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: All right. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Julie Shields Rutina, and I'm the Director of College Planning, Education, and Training at MIFA, and I want to welcome you to our webinar, which is Navigating the Challenges and Delays of the New FAFSA. I'm going to go over a couple of logistics, and then I'm going to turn it over to our College relations team.

So Sean Morrissey and Stephanie Wells are directors of college relations at MIFA. Sean is going to present and Stephanie is behind the scenes monitoring the Chat the question, the question and answers, I should say, and we'll talk about that. But I just want to say that we know that the whole financial aid application process and the issues with the FAFSA have been very frustrating, you know, really anxiety producing.

It's been, it's been quite the year and we've all been in financial aid and working with families for many, many years. And this, this takes the cake as being one of the most complicated, stressful years. And so we just want to say to you that We know, we know that this has been hard, but we want to continue to share so that you'll get through this process and you'll be able to go to college and have some financial aid offers that you can consider and move forward.

So we will get there and there's help. All the way along the way and MIFA is here and will continue to have events like this and continue to support you going forward. So with that, a couple of the logistics about this afternoon are that, um, again, you'll hear the presentation. And then if you have a question, you can type it in the Q and a but but the presentation is going to cover a lot.

It has a lot of detail. So, you know, if you listen, and then as you get near the end, if there are questions, it's Put them in the Q and a and we will have plenty of time to answer your questions. If you need closed captioning, you can press the live transcript button to see the words that we're speaking.

And we are recording this. So tomorrow we'll be sending the recording and the slides as you don't have to take copious notes. And we really encourage you to share this with any other friends. People that you think might find it useful as well. And so with that, I'm going to turn it over to you, Sean.

Shawn Morrissey: Thank you, Julie. Yes, so we'll be going over all of the information that we've learned recently about the challenges and delays of the new FAFSA. So we're going to be going over some tips that we've learned, um, talk about some of the common problems that people have been experiencing, some recent FSA, which is, um, federal student aid.

They've given some new updates and resources for families. We'll go over those. Also, we're going to talk a lot about what we're hearing from colleges and universities so that you can use that information when you're helping, um, to plan the process of getting your. information from schools about financial aid offers and planning to enroll in college.

We'll give you some other resources and we'll have some time at the end for questions. So first of all, I just wanted to go back to BAFSA simplification and Why, um, they did fast simplification because, you know, it has been a long time since there have been. There has been a major overhaul like this to the financial aid process.

But the reasons that this did come along was to bring a simpler application. And, um, even though so far. The rollout has been a little bit rocky, and for some families there have been a lot of issues. There are families that are able to get through the process in under 10 minutes, um, filling out the FAFSA.

So that is the goal of where this whole process will go eventually in the future. We hope all families will have the experience of being able to get through the The application, the FAFSA application in a much quicker fashion. Once all of the problems are fixed and gone through by federal student aid.

Also, one of the things that FAFSA simplification is bringing is a more straightforward Pell eligibility criteria. So instead of having, um, Pell tied directly to just one number, which used to be the, um, EFC, the expected family contribution. They've done away with the expected family contribution and replaced that now with what's called a student aid index.

But families don't, um, have Pell eligibility just from the student aid index. It also is tied to The percentage of the federal poverty level, um, across the United States. So there are a couple of other ways that families can be eligible for Pell Grant, which is the biggest federal grant available to students for financial aid.

Um, and so that makes more families eligible for Pell Grant and also makes it easier. To determine if a family is eligible for Pell based on their income and family size alone, rather than all of the criteria that goes into what used to be the EFC and is now the SAI. And there have been some changes to the formula behind the scenes.

Um, one of them is The number of students in college is no longer considered in the formula. So in the past, the formula used to take into consideration how many students were in college at the same time from the family and the, um, calculation would then use that number in order to change what the expected family contribution was.

With the student aid index, that no longer takes the number of students in college into the calculation. So that is no longer a factor in there. They still do ask the question of how many students are in college. On the FAFSA and some colleges are using that for institutional funding, but for federal funding, that is no longer considered in the formula.

But even with taking out the number of students in college from the formula, um, more students are eligible for Pell grants under all of The um, all of the the across the country. Um, all the different schools have been running models to see how many students are eligible for pal and many more students are eligible for pal.

Even with that, no longer in the formula. Even some families who had more than one student in college are still eligible for pal grant. Now that that is no longer in the formula. If you have a family where they were Yes. Three or more students in college. Sometimes those are the situations where Pell Grant eligibility may be a lot less.

If you have many children in college in the past and were able to be eligible for Pell Grant under that formula Now that may no longer be the case So the student aid index is now replacing the expected family contribution And it's used similarly in the formula for financial aid where you take the total cost of attendance at a school Subtract the student aid index And any financial aid that you may be qualified for and that becomes what your need will be

Now we're going to talk about some of the common errors that, um, families have been experiencing when they fill out the FAFSA and some of them are errors and some of them are things that, um, families have just been confused about when they're filling out the FAFSA. One of them is the date of legal residence.

Um, if you were born in the state. You would enter the month and year that you were born in the state that you are now residing in. If you weren't born into the state, you use the month in the date that you did move to the state that you are now living in. So, um, for most students that were born in the state, they didn't understand that if they were born in the state, they can just enter their date of birth there, that, that would be their state of legal residency.

But one of the questions that's really causing some problems for students is once they go through all the questions to determine if they are a dependent or independent student, meaning do they have to provide parental information or not? On the form dependent students do need to provide parental information on the FAFSA Independent students do not need to provide Parental information on the FAFSA and once they're determined to be a dependent student They're presented with the question on if they want to apply for a direct unsubsidized loan only and students are misreading this and thinking that in order to apply for Direct unsubsidized loan that they should select.

Yes for this question, but students should only select. Yes to this question. If they cannot provide parental information because the parent is, um. not allowing them to share their information on the form. So most students should answer no to this question. Students can still apply for direct loans when they say no to this question.

All of this question is asking is if you cannot Provide parental information because the parents are unwilling to provide their information. You would select yes to this, um, FSA is going to change the wording of this question very soon so that it is a little less misleading for students and hopefully, um, students will understand.

Will correctly Say no to this question in most cases unless the parent is unwilling to give their information If a student did already apply for financial aid, um filled out the FAFSA and answered this question Incorrectly, so it did skip parental information once um The FAFSA is processed which they will begin processing in early march.

I'll talk about that in just a minute They'll be able to go in and correct that And say no to that question and then be able to invite the parent to provide their information and complete the FAFSA that way. But as of now, um, students if they're going in should select no to that question unless the parents are unwilling to give their information.

There's also problems for, um, contributors who do not have a social security number. Right now FSA is working on the issue and they said that they will have a fix to this by early March. So that contributors without an SSN will be able to complete the process properly. They do realize that there are some situations where a student may need to have a date of submission on their FAFSA for a scholarship, a deadline, um, with a state agency or deadline with a school that they need to have a FAFSA submitted before a cert, before early March.

If that is the case, they have, um, provided A workaround for students only in that case. They're not recommending this for most students for most students It's better to just wait until the fix comes out in early march But there is a nine step process that students can take in order to Submit a FAFSA and it will reject the FAFSA for the student because the parent won't be able to put their information on there, but they can manually go in and enter some information and this I'll just quickly show you, um, the step by step.

In order to do that, there is a link here in the slides that will be said to you with the nine steps to go through that if you are in that situation and do need, um, to submit a FAFSA before. It becomes available in early March. Otherwise, once that fix comes through in early March, then those without a social security number will be able to get their own FSA ID and go through the process, um, and submit that electronically inside the FAFSA themselves.

There are also a few other known issues that are listed on, um, A linked page from FSA and they will give some known issues there. And if there are workarounds on those and when they are fixed and let families know. And so you can choose that link there as well. If you, um. Want to see some of those other issues.

We are talking about a lot of them today in this, um, presentation. There is one known issue that does have to do with contributors without an SSN that was just corrected. And that is if one parent does have a social security number. And filed a joint return with a spouse without a social security number.

They have now fixed it so that you can add in the spouse's ITIN, their um, ID, tax ID number on the FAFSA in order to complete the FAFSA. So that one has been fixed. But all the other problems for those without a social security number are still being worked through.

So one of the, um, other points that some families are having some problems with is determining who the contributors are on The FAFSA and so a contributor means anyone that has to give their information on the FAFSA and We do have a resource here on MIFA that i'll show you With who needs an FSA ID that you can go through Um, and it will look at if you're a dependent student whose biological adoptive parents are married or living in the same household It will bring you through the questions and let you know who needs an FSA ID.

So if your parents filed their taxes jointly and are married, only one parent needs an FSA ID. If your parents filed separately, both will need an FSA ID. And if either parent didn't file taxes, both parents need an FSA ID. And if you are a dependent student and your biological or adoptive parents are divorced or separated, um, you'll have to determine if one parent provided more financial support in the past year.

Whichever parent provided the more financial support in the past year, um, is the one that information will have to be on the FAFSA. And then you have to determine if that parent is remarried. If they are remarried, And file jointly both of those both that parent and the step parent would need an fsa id If they're not remarried, um only the parent Would need an fsa id that provided more than 50 of the support if that parent is um remarried and filed jointly, only that parent needs an FSA ID.

If they're married and filed separately, both the parent and stepparent needs an FSA ID. And, um, if the parent, either the, if the parent is remarried and either one, the parent or the stepparent did not file tax returns, then both of them will need an FSA ID. And if you're an independent student, um, if you're not married, only the student needs an FSA ID.

And if the student is married and filed joint taxes, only the student needs an FSA ID if the student is married and filed. separately, then both the student and spouse needs an FSA ID. And if either, if the student is married and did not file taxes, or the spouse did not file taxes, both of them would need an FSA ID.

And in all cases for dependent students, The student also needs an FSA ID in addition to the parents.

So we have, um, heard from some students who are having problems when they are trying to invite the contributor to the FAFSA, and it's telling them that the information that they're entering doesn't match, um, What the information is on the FSA ID of the contributor, and so it's really important to match the exact spelling, including capitalization, um, for the name as it appears on the FSA ID and for the FSA ID, which is matching to the Social Security Administration.

In most cases, for those with a Social Security number, it has to match exactly what's on that Social Security card. So please make sure you're entering that card. Full name, date of birth correctly, um, for that match to go through. Also check to see that if you're doing some type of cut and pasting from another place into that, that there isn't any kind of space at the beginning of that before the answer.

If you're typing, sometimes an extra space gets put in there. We have seen cases. Where it looks like everything matches, but there's a space before the name in there So then the match isn't going through for a family. So check all of those things put your cursor into that box to make sure that The name is right at the beginning of the box when you are entering the information to see if you're getting some kind of air that it isn't matching.

And also, um, we did hear from FSA that there are some students that are erroneously. Using this box that says my parent doesn't have an SSN when in fact they just don't know what the parent's SSN is. So the student is sitting there, um, the parent may not be in the room and they want to invite the parent to fill out their section.

And they're checking that box because they don't know their parents SSN and that's causing some issues. So please make sure that The student isn't checking that box unless it is really a case where the parent does not have an SSN

And we've heard that the best process for families is to have the students start the FAFSA with their FSA ID And sign it before the any contributor starts their portion, we have seen families where, um, the student will start and then simultaneously, the parent will go into their, their invitation and start filling theirs out before the student has finished their part, and then for whatever reason, the parent may finish their part first and hit submit, and it will submit the FAFSA.

even though it's not supposed to do it until everyone's section is complete. There have been cases where it has been erroneously submitting that for both parties before both parties have a chance to sign it and then that is causing an error and that cannot be corrected until the FAFSA processes, which isn't going to happen until early March.

Um, so it's easier if the student completes their section. In signs, but does not submit before the parent starts their section. And also, um, it's important that the contributors in the student complete their FSA ID process 3 to 5 days prior to doing the FAFSA and checked that there. FSA ID has been verified before starting the FAFSA and what verified means is that the Social Security Administration has validated the information on there and then that will allow you to use, um, the IRS.

What's called the FADDX, which is, um, the process that pulls the information from the IRS right into the FAFSA. If the FAFSA has not been verified, then you'll have to manually enter in all of your tax information. And the process takes a lot longer that way. So if you just wait a couple of days, um, the FAFSA is a lot easier once that FSA ID has been verified.

And then make sure all the contributors have signed before any party hits the submit button, so that you do not get that error message that someone hasn't signed, because right now, because they have delayed the processing of the FAFSAs until early March, um, and so no corrections can be made until early March.

If the FAFSA gets sent in without signatures, you have to wait until that is processed in order, um, to make the corrections. You can always check the FAFSA status at studentaid. gov by signing in with the student's FSA ID and checking the dashboard, and that will tell you, um, status that FAFSA is in. If the status shows as in review, um, or in process, that is where, um, Mostly every student who has submitted a FAFSA at this point is showing in that status because they have not processed any FAFSAs yet and will not be processing those until at least early March.

So all of those will show in review or in process, um, once you have submitted those. There is a new, um, resource at studentaid. gov. That's studentaid. gov slash FAFSA tips. That gives some pro tips to fill out the 24 25 FAFSA. And it's going to show you tips about completing your FSA ID, what documents you need, and what contributor information you need in advance of the form, understanding tricky definitions or questions on the form.

Once you're in the FAFSA form, There are little question marks next to each question, and if you click on those, it will give you more information, exactly what they're looking for in each of those questions. So if you are confused at any point in the FAFSA and want to know more information about that question, you can just click on one of those question marks, and it will give you more information about that.

But there are There is even more information on this FAFSA tips about some of the trickier questions on the form. And there are also, um, the newest guidance for reviewing, submitting, and correcting the form, um, as they do make corrections to the process.

So the most recent information is that. Excuse me. Colleges, state agencies, and scholarship organizations will begin receiving FAFSA data starting in the first half of March. Um, the information that will be sent to the schools and agencies will be based on the SAI tables being updated for inflation. So one of the reasons Excuse me, that all of this information is being delayed, being sent to schools, state agencies and scholarship organizations.

It's because they are making some changes to the calculation tables behind the scenes for inflation, and these changes are beneficial to families. For most families, it will mean a lower. SAI, um, in more financial aid eligibility with these new table updates. So that is one of the reasons why the information is being delayed, being sent to schools until at least March.

We have learned that FAFSA submitted online will be processed first. Followed by paper FAFSAs, so they're going to process all of the information they received via online FAFSA forms first, and they will process those in a first in, first out basis, so those that were received when the FAFSA first opened.

In late December, early January, those will go first and they will do those in order. Students will receive an email informing them that their FAFSA has been fully processed and sent to their schools that they listed on the FAFSA. Once students receive that email, then they can go in and also take a look at their FAFSA summary.

So their, their FAFSA summary will be available to them. And once they're, they can look at the, um, FAFSA summary, FAFSA submission summary, FSS, then they will be able to make corrections as well to their FAFSA. So anything that you've been waiting, um, to make corrections for, if you wanted to add additional schools, if you made any kind of.

mistake when you were filling out the FAFSA or if a signature was missing on the FAFSA, you have to wait to receive this email that your FAFSA has been processed and that your FSS, which is your FAFSA submission summary, is available in order to start making those corrections. And you'll be able to do that once you receive that.

And they're beginning that in the first half of March, um, when they're able to process. All of the FAFSAs were not completely sure at, but they're trying to do those as quickly as possible. Um, and I did say that the, any FAFSAs that were submitted by the paper process are going to be processed after the ones that were received online.

But if a student did send in the paper FAFSA, um, but they do have an FSA ID and are able to get into their studentaid. gov account with that FSA ID, they can make corrections online to, um, the FAFSA that they submitted on paper. So you can make, um, corrections. using that FAFSA submission summary online, or if you did submit that on paper, they will send you a paper FAFSA submission summary as well.

You can use that to make corrections, but that will process, um, not as quickly as any, um, changes that are made online. So if you are able to make the corrections online, that's always The best choice to make first, or you can contact federal student aid by calling them and make corrections that way as well.

Um, we did talk to a lot of schools that they will be receiving the FAFSAs as quickly as possible starting in early March, but they did caution families to please at least give them. Two or more weeks before you start calling them to ask where your financial aid offers may be Because it will take them time to go through all of the FAFSAs that they are receiving And get out those financial aid offers to students They really are working hard to get that information to students as quickly as possible, um, but they did ask that families please give them a little time to process those because the more calls that they receive asking about when they might receive an offer, um, the longer that may keep them from actually processing the offers and getting those out to students.

So please just give them a little bit of time to get through those offers. They're going to work through as soon as possible. Of course, if you have Um extenuating circumstances or things like that to talk to them about They would welcome you to give them a call at any time But if you're just calling to check on if you are going to receive the financial aid offer Please give them a little time for that We are also hearing from some schools that they are extending their financial aid and enrollment deadlines because of the delays to the process, um, for them to be getting the FAFSAs in early March.

It's a lot later than they usually receive that. So for families to be able to make a decision by May 1st, it might delay, um, the information getting, um, out to families on time. So some schools are saying that they are extending their deadlines. Others have already extended their deadlines. Um, there are some Massachusetts state colleges, state universities that have extended their deadlines to June 1st at this point.

Um, others are still looking and may extend their deadlines. But, um, most schools are saying they're going to be flexible with students because they know. A lot of the deadlines in FAFSA submissions have not been going smoothly for students, and it's beyond your control as to submitting the FAFSA on time.

Um, so they know that how those delays are beyond family control, so they're going to be flexible and work with students as best they can to get the information to you, so that you can make the decisions on going to school, and there are that will be extending those deadlines as well. So check with the schools and see what they're doing, uh, with their deadlines, look at their website, um, and they should be communicating with you as well.

If they do decide to change their deadlines, if you are having major problems filling out the FAFSA and you just can't. Get that submitted because you're receiving errors and you're not able to get through To fsa because we know it's very difficult to get through on their helpline because they're very busy If you're able to take screenshots of any errors you've encountered to share those with schools Or with scholarship agencies who are requiring things from a certain deadline.

Those might be helpful to help document that you are doing your best to fill that out, but you're just running into issues at this point. We did do a very informal poll of some Massachusetts schools. Last week, and this is the information that they did share with us. And again, this is very informal. Um, but from the, the 44 schools that we did poll, um, did hear from about 11 percent said they have decided not to extend their deadline.

36 percent said they're not changing the public published deadline, but will be flexible with families that need an extension. 20 percent have not yet extended their deadline, but are considering it, and 32 percent are, um, have already extended their financial aid deadline. And then, um, for the enrollment deposit deadline, 23 percent have decided not to extend their deadline.

11 percent are not changing the published deadline, but will be flexible with families. Um, 32 percent said they are considering extending it, but they haven't extended it yet. And 34 percent have extended their enrollment deposit deadline. So there is a lot more flexibility this year with deadlines and schools.

Will be willing to work with students. We know that some scholarship organizations, um, may not be as familiar with the delays and problems happening with the FAFSA as financial aid offices are. So, um, in a lot of cases. It may be important to take those screenshots and let them know about any errors that you experience right now.

Any FAFSA that's being submitted does not have an SAI, um, coming back with the email saying that the FAFSA has been submitted early in the process. SAIs were included. With that submission email. That's no longer the case. And for some scholarships, that was a requirement that they were asking for from families so you can let scholarship organizations know that that's no longer being published for any families and school counselors might be able to provide a letter also explaining the delays to the FAFSA process and that the SAI may not be available until early March when those, um, FSS, the FAFSA submission summaries, start getting sent to students.

Um, so just try to be in communication with the scholarship organizations and let them know. Sean, do you mind if I stop you right, if you go back one? No, sure. Real quick, I have a good question that I think is

Julie Shields-Rutyna: timely. Um, actually, if you want to go back one slide. It's about the college's deadlines.

Shawn Morrissey: Yes. We don't have the names of the schools that answered the poll, um, but for the schools who said they have not decided to extend their deadline, I believe that those are mostly schools who also collect the profile, so they

Julie Shields-Rutyna: already have a lot of the information they need to give a financial aid offer,

Shawn Morrissey: so there's not really as much of a need to, um, extend the deadline at those schools.

But regardless, If you have any questions about the school's deadlines, definitely get in touch with them. Overwhelmingly, we've heard from colleges, you know, that they're sensitive to this, and they know, they know the delays that are happening across

Julie Shields-Rutyna: the board.

Shawn Morrissey: Yes, that's a good point, Stephanie, that there are schools that Um, do require the CSS profile form in addition to the fafsa and they may, may be able to get out awards to families earlier than the schools that only have the FAFSA and won't have that information available.

But we have also heard from some schools that do use the CSS profile and are planning to get. award offers out to families in a timely manner and earlier than if they were using the FAFSA only, that still may extend their deadlines because they want families to have information from all their schools before they make a deposit, um, and decide on where they're going.

So there are still schools that will extend their deadline that are CSS profile schools as well. There are a lot of, um, resources out there. Some of the MIFA resources available. We do have FAFSA Day events. If you go to FAFSAday. org, um, at these events, you can meet with financial aid experts who can help you fill out the FAFSA.

So if you're having a particular problem and want to work through that when you're filling out the FAFSA, you can come to one of those FAFSA Day events and meet one on one with usually a financial aid counselor and they can help you through that process. There are also a lot of FAFSA blog posts. If you go to MIFA.

org slash blog, you can select the financial aid category. There are a lot of FAFSA blog posts about the new process and help to get through those. There's also a lot of FAFSA family webinars. We did have, um, step by step through FAFSA and there are recordings of those at MIFA. org slash videos. Um, we have.

a few of those webinars available to families. I did quickly show you the who needs an FSA ID graphic, but there is, um, that available on our website as well. And that's also available in Spanish and Chinese, in addition to English as well. And there is a step to complete your FAFSA PDF, um, at MIFA. org slash college.

Dash financial dash aid and there's a little snippet of what that looks like. Um on this slide here and it's a great checklist that you go through to make sure that you've done all of the steps with your FAFSA as well and that's available for download. We also have some upcoming webinars. about understanding financial aid offers and paying the college bill.

So once those financial aid offers do start coming in from colleges, um, we'll talk about what that process looks like. There's one in on March 12th, March 21st, and April 9th. And we'll also be talking about, um, what it looks like to try to compare offers from schools that you may not have heard from yet to see if you can some tactics that you might be able to get some information about what that might look like for aid from those schools as well.

And, um, you can connect with us on social media. Here are all of our different links and now we've got some time for our questions.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: Yeah, Sean. There's one question, and I think it's a good one because it's one of those things that's different from the past and going forward. So can let me, I'm going to ask it just as it was asked.

So there's a parent who is, uh, not a legal resident and doesn't file taxes, but the student was born here. And so the question is, is it still suggested that this contributor use all zeros to fill out their section?

Shawn Morrissey: No. So, um, In that case, when the parent doesn't have a social security number, you can no longer fill out the section with all zeros.

There is now a process to obtain an FSA ID for someone without a social security number. Unfortunately, that process isn't completely working right now, but that will be available starting, um, at the first half of March. Um, but you can begin the process of creating an FSA ID without. Social security numbers.

Some families have been able to get through that process, but know that if you do end up, um, running into any errors with that process, it's most likely that not that you're doing something wrong. There's just some glitches with that process right now. Um. And those will be worked out hopefully by early March to complete the process.

But you no longer can just put all zeros in, um, when you don't have a social security number. You do have to create an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA. Thank you.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: And then just a few questions, but this, this one sort of addresses it. You know, this one student is just saying that she's not allowed to Sign section of of the FAFSA won't allow her to sign and continue, which I know we've seen.

So I don't know if you just want to talk about that. So she can know what to expect coming up.

Shawn Morrissey: Yeah. So we've heard that there are situations where either the student or parent. isn't able to enter their signature in there. Um, and either it's been submitted already, and so you can't do the signature until the FAFSA is processed beginning in early March.

And once you receive the email saying your FAFSA has been processed, you can go back in and provide the signature. Um, there are cases where It's just not allowing the signature and not allowing the students to submit. Sometimes the parent is able to submit in that case, and then you would get, um, a rejected FAFSA at this point, but you would be able to have that FAFSA submitted so that you have that date of submission, um, before a certain deadline.

And then you can go back in and when you get that email saying that the FAFSA has been processed in early March and go back in and do the signature at that point.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: And a few people are just, in general, a little bit worried about the process of correction. So maybe you could just talk about what's going on behind the scenes there.

They're just Thinking, okay, this is going to be interesting. I've signed, I've submitted it. It's going to get sent to the college, but now I have to go in and correct it. How do I know they're going to see the corrected one? How's that all going to work?

Shawn Morrissey: Yes. So the correction process will be start to become available to families once their FAFSA is processed.

And then those Corrections will be sent to schools once, um, the family submits that. Unfortunately, they haven't shared information yet about how quickly they'll be able to send those corrections to the schools. So there, there may be a delay while they're still working through some of those backlogs of FAFSAs.

before the corrections are submitted. So it may be a good idea if you are submitting a correction also just to send a quick email to the school letting them know that you've submitted a correction. But schools will receive those corrections as soon as they're processed. Um, and you'll receive an email as well saying that the FAFSA corrections have been processed.

But schools are aware. That there may be a delay with corrections as well. And if they receive, um, any rejected fastest, they know that they're expected to receive a lot of those that do need corrections. And that would be looking for those corrections as well. Um, so schools are aware of what's going on with that as well, and we'll be looking out.

And helping families through that process as well and schools are also able to send corrections on some items for for families as well. So if you're having some issues, you can contact your school and see if they can help you with that process as well.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: Thank you. So this is I like the next three. Why do people say that middle class families should still apply for the FAFSA?

What are the potential benefits?

Shawn Morrissey: Yes. Well, there are a lot of potential benefits and I've been hearing with the new formula for federal aid that there are so many more students that are qualifying. For the Pell Grant than ever before that it's going well into the middle class that are receiving Pell Grants with this new formula that have it in the past, but beyond Pell Grant, there are other financial aid benefits available through.

the federal government and through institutional aid and through state aid that may be available to families. So it's best to apply for that. And also, um, there are federal loan programs also available to students as well by applying through the FAFSA. And I

Julie Shields-Rutyna: think probably Sean, is this your experience too?

I've talked to so many people over the year who actually, over the years, who are actually surprised at how much aid they do receive. I mean, somehow it feels like never enough, right? But you know, people can sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Shawn Morrissey: So, oh, definitely, definitely.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: So can the parent correct the FAFSA or is it only the student that can correct

Shawn Morrissey: it?

So the parent can correct anything in their contributor section that they may have done. The student would have to go in and make corrections to the student section. with that. So you would have to sign in with the student's, um, FSA ID to make any corrections to the student section.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: Thank you. That's, that's important.

Yeah. And my parents financial section is completely different. My dad is getting asked questions about income tax paid IRA deductions. Yep. I guess those are the things. Is this okay? Or did we do something

Shawn Morrissey: wrong? There are some cases where the IRS. FADDX, which is the data exchange that brings the information in from the IRS for different reasons is not available for some families.

And in those cases, you're asked to manually enter in information about your tax return. So it's not that you did something wrong, but there's some, some instances where that doesn't work. For example, if, um, a family that was, Married in, um, 2022 with the, for the taxes that are being filed, but have since divorced, um, they wouldn't be able to use the FADDX because they filed jointly, but now there's only one parent on there.

There's no way for them to separate that for families that may have been a victim of some kind of tax fraud. The IRS isn't going to be sending their information by the FADDX, so you have to enter that in manually. So there are several cases. Those are just a couple of them, but there are some cases where the FADDX.

doesn't work. Also, if you sign in with an FSA ID before the FSA ID has been verified, um, then the FADDX will not be available and you'll have to enter that in manually as well. And

Julie Shields-Rutyna: then even this brings up an issue that someone else mentioned, you know, people who are applying right now for enrollment in the fall of 2024, um, are using 2022 tax returns.

What if things are very different now? What should a family do?

Shawn Morrissey: If things are very different now, you should contact the financial aid office at the call. schools that you're applying to and let them know that the income is quite different now than when you filed, um, in 2022. And they may require some additional information from you and they'll let you know what their process is for doing that appeal.

Um, but they will look at the information. For the current year and take a look at that rather than the information from 2022. If it is different, and

Julie Shields-Rutyna: it might just be worth saying a few more words about the FSA ID. Because of course, sometimes people are calling it the student aid account student aid.

gov account or FSA ID. So maybe just say a few words about that again.

Shawn Morrissey: Yeah. So I've seen most recently that. I don't know if it's FSA is doing it, but they've been changing it for interchangeably using FSA ID in StudentAid. gov account, um, and they, they're the same thing. So in order to log into your StudentAid.

gov account, which you use to fill out your FAFSA, which you use to look at any federal, um, student loans you might have, um, you can access all that information on StudentAid. gov. And in order to do that. You need to fill out what's called an FSA ID, um, but it's also called your studentaid. gov. account in certain places.

So they are the same thing. Um, and basically what it is, it's just a name and password that you use when you sign into studentaid. gov.

Julie Shields-Rutyna: Thank you. We answered a lot of these questions. Is there anything that we didn't answer or that you want to follow up on? We'll give you another minute or so. It's still before five, but these were some great questions.

And because it's you know, I think because it's taking so long for this whole process this year, of course, you have all these questions, you know, if we're moving quickly, you'd have you'd have the answers in hand, so I

don't see any further questions, anything else that you want to bring up stuff from some of the questions you answered. No, I think we can

Shawn Morrissey: just kind of show them what's next. So what do we have for. What's next after the FAFSAs are processed? We have some good webinars and resources

Julie Shields-Rutyna: coming up. Great.

Shawn Morrissey: Yeah, so those here's our upcoming webinars on understanding financial aid officers offers and paying the college bill. And we normally start these in February, but we're delaying them a little bit this year because of the delay in the FAFSA. So, we wanted to put some of the later dates out there too,

Julie Shields-Rutyna: in case you don't get

Shawn Morrissey: your financial aid offers

Julie Shields-Rutyna: in, you know, early or mid March.

And I'll just then also say, please know Again, we're still moving on this process. Please call us. Please email us. Yeah, you can put up that last email, the college planning email. We want to help you through this. Anything that comes up, just give us a call and attend these future webinars so that you get everything in order before next year.

And then I guess we do have a couple more questions before we end then. Um, So someone's asking, how can I get a sense of what we may may receive? So I don't know if you want to talk about that, Sean.

Shawn Morrissey: So if you're curious as to what you might receive in financial aid, um, there are some tools on most colleges website.

It's called a net price calculator, and you can go in and use those at a lot of schools, um, have some pretty good tools there that will give you an estimate of what you may receive in financial aid at that school. And it will vary from school to school. So you will want to go in and look at each one of their net price calculators And those usually reside within the financial aid websites at each of the schools You can take a look at those and that might be a good guide for you to help that help you out And help you see what you might be eligible for and aid before you receive those offers Also, um, if you're curious as to what your SAI might be, MIFA does have a calculator that will help calculate your SAI for you as well.

If you're waiting for that number, um, to take a look for some scholarships or things like that. There's a calculator available for you. Thank you,

Julie Shields-Rutyna: Sean. And thank you, everyone. And, um, best of luck going forward. Please do stay in touch and, uh, we want to, we want to be involved and help you in whatever ways we can.

So thank you so much.

Oh, and so, yes, you know, someone asked about a one on one meeting. Feel free. Please email that, um, collegeplanningatmifa. org. Thanks. Bye bye.

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