After recognizing a mistake in how family income is applied to financial aid packages for incoming 2024-25 FAFSA applications, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) said they will fix the error, which adjusts for inflation and affects the Student Aid Index calculation.
This is good news for the many families who will receive higher federal aid awards as a result, including Pell Grants and work-study, as well as state and institution aid awards. Overall, an additional $1.8 billion in federal student aid will become available and “ensure that all students can access the maximum financial aid they are eligible for,” according to a release from ED.
Unfortunately, fixing the error will take time, and continue to delay award data being sent to schools who are already behind schedule in receiving the necessary information to complete accurate financial aid offers for students. The president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Justin Draeger said in a recent statement that fixing the calculation error is “the right thing to do,” but also noted that it “should have been done from the beginning,” when the issue was first reported on last year.
The substantially redesigned 2024-25 FAFSA form, intended to make more aid available to more students and improve the user experience with a streamlined application process, has faced numerous delays. Families who often begin the application process in October were unable to access the FAFSA form until after the first of January.
“On the very day that schools were expecting FAFSA applicant information, they were instead notified by the U.S. Department of Education that they shouldn’t expect to receive that data until March, at the earliest,” said Draeger.