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Better FAFSA for Mixed-Status Families: Top 10 Things to Know So You Can Prepare

The Department of Education redesigned the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of the implementation of the FAFSA Simplification and FUTURE Acts. Most residents, including citizens, legal permanent residents, T visa holders, and other specified non-citizens, are eligible for federal financial aid, even if their parents are undocumented.

However, changes to the FAFSA have posed significant challenges for mixed status families. People without Social Security Numbers (SSNs) need to go through a separate process to attain an FSA ID, and many have been unable to repeat the required steps due to technical errors with the redesigned form. While no permanent fix is yet available, the Department of Education has set up an alternative manual process (detailed here) that will allow students to meet priority state and institutional aid deadlines. 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.

Students who avail themselves of this option will need to resubmit their applications when the glitch in the form has been resolved. This document provides an overview of key changes and things students and families need to know to get ready to apply for federal financial aid when a permanent fix is in place later this spring. Additional information can be found in the webinar co-hosted by the Presidents’ Alliance, Immigrants Rising, and the National College Attainment Network.

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